The college football season kicks off this weekend, and much of the national talk and focus this season will be on Nebraska. The 10th-ranked Huskers are moving from the Big 12 conference to the Big Ten, where it will compete with the likes of Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State.
Wednesday morning head coach Bo Pelini appeared on Jim Rome's radio show. Rome pointed out that Nebraska has not won a conference title since 1999, and since this is a new conference, will he give his team a pass on winning the conference in its first year?
Pelini said no. "Conference title or bust -- that is our mindset. Just because it's the first year in the conference, that doesn't change our mindset. We have a chance to be a good football team."
Rome: "National championship good?"
Pelini: "Hard to say. We are not deep in some areas. Injuries play a part of that. It is up to our football team and its work ethic. We can compete with anyone on our schedule. I'm not saying we will wipe the field with everyone, but we have a good team."
Rome asked Pelini what the difference is between the two conferences. Pelini said the offenses in the Big Ten are conventional. "In the Big 12 you were preparing defensively for each team. It's not like that in the Big Ten. There is a big similarity between teams. They have professional-style offenses. It is a very physical conference."
Pelini said sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinez will be even better this year than in his freshman year, when he was mentioned as an early Heisman Trophy candidate before injuries and inconsistencies took its toll.
"He's more confident. He's a different guy. Not saying he wasn't a good football player last season, but he had a lot to learn. He's a lot more comfortable now, he's become a leader out there. He's a lot more sure of himself. I think he'll have a great season for us."
Rome asked about Pelini's long-standing practice of bringing Navy SEALS into camp to motivate his players.
"I think the Navy SEALS are the ultimate team," he said. "They are the ultimate team players. They understand accountability. One thing you hear about the Navy SEALS is that it is team, team, team, team first. That is lacking in today's society.
"We try to use as many ways as we can to instill that it's about the team; it's not about one guy. The Navy SEALS allow us to do that."
Nebraska opens its season against Tennessee-Chattanooga on Saturday.