Nebraska finished in a tie for 1st place in the Big 12 North Division and also tied for 1st conference-wide, with a final record of 11–2 (7–1).
The events which took place at the end of the season put a strain on the system of college rankings and polls. The Cornhuskers lost their final regular season game to Colorado 36–62, leaving both tied for 1st place in the Big 12 North Division. As Colorado won the head-to-head contest, Colorado then participated in the Big 12 Championship and defeated Texas 39–37. Despite Colorado's accomplishments, Nebraska's strength-of-schedule component in the Bowl Championship Series selection system resulted in the Cornhuskers being selected to play in the 2002 Rose Bowl for the BCS National Championship Game against Miami, despite the fact that Nebraska had not played in its own conference championship game and technically had not even won its own division.
Nebraska then fell to Miami 14–37 in the Rose Bowl, but the controversy of these events led to more modifications to the BCS formula, which followed a pattern of seasonal tweaks dating back nearly to when the BCS system was implemented.