Heading into their first season in the Big Ten, the Nebraska Cornhuskers were expected to dominate. After all, they had dominated the Big 12 North, beaten Oklahoma and literally been within :01 of pulling the biggest upset in the history of the Big 12 Championship Game. They had a stellar defensive mind in their head coach, Bo Pelini, and their offense was one of the most explosive in the country in 2010. Add to that the firings of Rich Rodriguez from Michigan and Jim Tressel's exit from the firestorm that was Ohio State, and Nebraska was, suffice to say, the favorite to win the conference by a wide margin.
Then October 1, 2011 happened. In front of a national audience and ESPN College GameDay, Nebraska was toasted for 486 yards and 48 points in a 48-17 loss at Wisconsin. Welcome to the B1G, Huskers.
After bouncing back in a big way the next week in a school record come-from-behind 34-27 win against Ohio State in Lincoln and a dominating 24-3 victory over Michigan State to possibly get themselves back into the BCS race, the Huskers were upset 28-25 at home by Northwestern.
They beat a very rattled Penn State squad 17-14 in the Nittany Lions' first game without Joe Paterno since before Vietnam, and all seemed to be right in the world. They simply needed to beat Michigan at the Big House and hope for a Michigan State loss for their chance at revenge in the B1G Championship Game.
That didn't happen. Michigan pounded the Huskers 45-17, and it was another season without a BCS bowl for Nebraska.
After limiting Iowa to just 88 yards rushing in a 20-7 victory to start what many see as a budding rivalry, the Huskers seemed to be ready to stick it to South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl. Then they lost their composure and were blown out 30-13. Defensive coordinator Carl Pelini left for Florida Atlantic soon thereafter, and Nebraska was left in a funk they hadn't felt since Bill Callahan was coach.
That's not a good feeling for Husker fans. They want to be in the thick of things. They want to visit cities like Pasadena, New Orleans, Miami, or Tempe in January. Orlando is nice, but there is a hunger among the followers of the Big Red that cannot be ignored.
How do the Cornhuskers get back to January and back to a BCS bowl? Here are 10 bold predictions for the 2012 season.