Nebraska kicks off its 2016 season at home against Fresno State, and the Huskers are looking to get off to a fast start after a forgettable 2015 season. Nebraska finished 6-7 in Mike Riley's first year in Lincoln, and they needed a waiver to get to a bowl game just to earn that sixth win.
As bumpy as Year 1 was for Riley, the second season presents the opportunity for a quick turnaround. Nebraska wasn't as bad as the record would indicate, and the Big Ten West lacks a clear frontrunner that blocks the Huskers' path. It's far from a sure thing, but it's not difficult to envision a scenario where Nebraska wins the division this year.
On paper, Fresno State presents almost an ideal opponent to start the season for Nebraska. The Bulldogs went 3-9 last year, and replaced both coordinators this offseason. They dealt with bad luck of their own, but were also blown out a number of times, too.
How to watch, stream and listen
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Online streaming: BTN2Go
Spread: Nebraska started the week as a 28.5-point favorite.
Three big things to know
1. Does Nebraska's luck turn around?
The Huskers lost six -- six! -- games last season decided by one score, and an astonishing four games by a field goal or less. They finished 113th in the country in turnover margin at -0.92 per game. Any way you slice it, Nebraska had rotten luck from start to finish last year. This kind of bad luck doesn't generally stretch between seasons, so this could be the start of the Huskers turning their luck around.
2. Can Tommy Armstrong improve?
Nebraska's quarterback will always be more of a threat with his legs than his arm, but if he can just make modest improvements over his 2015 numbers, it would do wonders for the Husker offense. His completion percentage has slowly crept up every year he's been in Lincoln, but he only completed 55 percent of his passes last year.
3. What are we going to get from Fresno State?
The Bulldogs were inexperienced and inconsistent last year, leading to a 3-9 record. They have better returning experience for 2016, but there's new holes to fill and two new coordinators to break in. What will we get from the Bulldogs this year? We're about to get an idea.