"Q: Hey Stewart, I couldn't help but notice that much of the Big Ten struggled in their season openers. Am I being too much of an unrealistic home-teamer to think that Nebraska looked like the best team?
Mandel Answer: "If you were to forecast the rest of the season based solely on the first weekend, then yes, absolutely, the Huskers are headed to Pasadena. ... Wait, what's that? They're headed to Pasadena this weekend?
I'm very intrigued by Saturday's Nebraska-UCLA game in large part due to their opening performances. Against Southern Miss, Taylor Martinez (26-of-34, 354 yards, five TDs, no INTs) looked better than we've ever seen him as a passer. The Huskers appear to have a better receiving corps than in recent seasons. And the defense completely negated Southern Miss's passing offense. But I'm not sure the Eagles are anywhere near at the same level as they were under Larry Fedora. That's why we'll learn a lot more about Nebraska on this weekend -- as we will UCLA. Brett Hundley and the Bruins' offense looked far more dynamic against Rice than they ever did under Neuheisel -- but it was Rice. Let's see how they fare against the Blackshirts. If Nebraska dominates this one, too, then I'll start taking the Huskers' Big Ten title chances more seriously."
Perhaps not really worth mentioning (as it adds little to the discussion), but it's good to keep track of when UCLA is mentioned in the national media.