The big bad team with the big N on the helmet is due in Stillwater on Saturday.
The Big Red.
And for some time, this date had been tagged with some amount of dread by the Oklahoma State faithful.
But seriously, with no disrespect to Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne and the wishes and wants of the Cornhusker Nation, how big and bad is Nebraska?
We're talking this Nebraska, not the Nebraska of Johnny Rodgers and Grant Wistrom and Tommie Frazier and Eric Crouch.
Amid the rush by the national media to declare the Cornhuskers back among the elite, there's one key element missing from said status: requisite credentials.
The Huskers became a darling again a year ago; by what, beating nobody special and losing four games? Losing to Iowa State — at home. Getting popped by Texas Tech, again, for the fourth straight time, which should attach some amount of dread for Nebraska this week, seeing as the Cowboys have taken the Red Raiders' offense to advanced levels.
Yes, Nebraska made the Big 12 title game, and even played Texas tough there.
But that was a Husker squad void of offense, or a quarterback, and in reality, conference rules stipulate that somebody from the North must advance. Think Nebraska could have navigated their way from the South?
The Huskers' calling card wins from 2009: Missouri, Oklahoma and Arizona -- all five-loss teams.
And yet, following that four-loss season and the loss of Ndamukong Suh to the NFL and carrying quarterback concerns right up to the 2010 opening kickoff, Nebraska was afforded top-10 status.
A soft opening to 2010 only escalated the hyperventilation over the Huskers, who rose as high as No. 4 a week ago.
Then on the big stage, at home, with plenty of motivations driving them, including revenge, the Huskers were handled by a Texas team trying to find itself.
Nebraska's kid quarterback, Taylor Martinez, was exposed for the one-dimensional threat he is. "T-Magic," as Martinez is known, is an exciting optioneer. But as he found out Saturday, good defenses make you hit some third-down throws.
Now Martinez's leadership skills are being questioned. The redshirt freshman was benched in the third quarter Saturday, looked detached on the sideline the rest of the way, then declined to talk to the media after the game.
So the Huskers face some adversity unfelt against the likes of Western Kentucky, Idaho or South Dakota State, or even the average squads we've seen Washington and Kansas State proven to be.
"We're not a finished product," Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said after the Texas loss. "People around here want to make us out to be the '85 Bears.
"We're not there yet."
They're not back among college football's upper crust, either.
Pelini has done solid work in restoring pride and passion to the Huskers, following the mistake that was Bill Callahan's hiring.
We all respect history and tradition, sometimes too much.
Nebraska is better.
Good enough to be dreaded by the Cowboys?
Good enough to be beaten.
Substance, Please Nebraska's return to prominence has been ushered mostly by the media, not concrete results. Last year, beyond three nonconference wins over Florida Atlantic, Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette, the Huskers went 7-4. They lost potential statement games against Virginia Tech, Texas Tech and Texas and also to Iowa State, in Lincoln. That team's best wins: Missouri, Oklahoma and Arizona, a trio of five-loss squads. In a latest attempt to confirm themselves of contender stock, they stumbled on the big stage, losing at home to previously scuffling Texas. Otherwise, they've beaten Western Kentucky, Idaho, Washington, South Dakota State and Kansas State â€“ none of whom can be found in the Top 25.