Nebraska is my pick as Big 12 North champion, based on an expected improvement from the defense and the recently splendid play of the offense. But, to fully beat this phrase into the ground, work remains to be done. This begins on defense, where the Huskers struggled against the Big 12’s best a season ago. Given the changes on offense, Nebraska may need its defense to carry the team early, so an improvement must be made. Speaking of the offense, Nebraska must locate capable skill players on the outside to complement its new quarterback. The offensive line looks solid, and I believe the effective ground game will take a lot of pressure off of junior quarterback Zac Lee as he gains experience on the F.B.S. level. The schedule shapes up for a good level of success, though the Huskers must take on its three prime North division rivals on the road. Another date with Oklahoma may be a tough game to pull out. Nevertheless, I feel secure in putting Nebraska in the Top 25, and am not very far from predicting a 10-win finish for the Big Red; in that case, Nebraska would lose to only Virginia Tech and Oklahoma. I can’t got that far in 2009, seeing that I believe N.U. will lose one of its three road games against its division, but that’s all: 9-3, 6-2 in the Big 12, and back atop the North.