In the simplest terms, the Sept. 30 Big 12 opener against Kansas provides Nebraska a chance to avenge its most embarrassing defeat of the 2005 season.
The 40-15 loss the Jayhawks administered in Lawrence included the most points ever scored by KU in the series, which Nebraska had thoroughly dominated with 36 consecutive victories since 1968.
So the 3-1 Huskers have every reason to talk about payback.
But really, the matchup means even more in the big picture. For Nebraska to truly regain its stature, beating teams such as Kansas is essential. The slip against another perennial doormat, Kansas State, was a bit easier to accept when the Wildcats leaped into national prominence. But the Jayhawks have yet made no such move and aren't likely to this season after losing to Toledo of the Mid-American Conference.
An overwhelming victory could at least be construed as an early statement that the Huskers are for real and capable of dominating the Big 12 North. Not only have they failed to do that in recent seasons, they haven't reached the conference championship game since 1999.
It didn't take long for Nebraska to right itself. Since the defeat at Kansas, it has won six of its last seven, with the lone loss coming at Southern California.
Still, there's always room for slippage. In case they need a reminder, they should ask for the team picture Kansas coach Mark Mangino had taken in front of the scoreboard following last year's game.