This is an old issue but interesting... http://tiny.cc/rfz8f ...
In the Fiesta Bowl, Nebraska started four partial or non-qualifiers (cornerback Michael Booker, defensive tackle Christian Peter, cornerback Tyrone Williams and defensive end Jared Tomich), and two others, wideout Reggie Baul and outside linebacker Jamel Williams, played almost as much as the starters. According to Nebraska officials there were at least 12 partial or non-qualifiers in the program last fall. "Among elite schools Nebraska is a true haven for partial and non-qualifiers," said the coach of another elite school.
They may be instant contenders but this is not a level playing field (time will tell.)
In the Huskers defense they do lead the nation in Academic All-Americans...they take marginal athletes and make them work. I'd expect Pelini to go back to this norm...
EDIT: Thanks for the get back below...Partial Qualification is no longer an option for Div I players...Partial Qualification was possible up until August 1, 2005. For a two year period the old and new standards overlapped from August 1, 2003 to August 1, 2005 where a student could be admitted under either standard. Each conference had there own policies wrt Partial Qualification. The Big Ten had none.