College Football: 5 Teams That Will Beat Nebraska in 2012
There are rumblings and grumblings coming out of Omaha and Lincoln these days. Some of the Husker faithful are starting to lose faith in Bo Pelini's ability to return the program to the next level.
The impact of four consecutive four-loss seasons has the switchboards lighting up on local sports-talk radio shows, where there is a clear divide between Pelini's supporters and detractors.
Over the last two seasons, bowl games have accounted for the fourth loss on Nebraska's schedule.
How is Big Red Nation going to handle it when Nebraska not only loses five games, but does so in the regular season?
Here are five teams that will beat Nebraska in 2012.
Wisconsin makes the trip to Lincoln in late September ready to spoil "fancy uniform night" for the Huskers the same way Texas foiled Nebraska's marketing campaign in 2010.
Montee Ball, the Big Ten's top running back, returns to rack up big yards behind another solid offensive line anchored by Rimington Award watch list member Travis Frederick.
We'll see if playing under the lights in black unis at Memorial Stadium will be enough to avenge the drubbing that took place in Madison last year.
Ohio State was in full control of last year's matchup in Lincoln, right up until Lavonte David pulled the ball away from freshman quarterback Braxton Miller, who, like most other athletic quarterbacks, was giving Pelini's defense fits.
Miller was knocked out of the game and the rest was history.
In 2012, David is gone, Miller is back and Urban Meyer is the Buckeyes' head coach.
Did I mention they'll play this one at the Horseshoe?
No coach in the Big Ten does more with less than Pat Fitzgerald.
Last year, what he did was beat the Huskers in their own house.
This year, his Northwestern Wildcats will play host to a Nebraska squad who may very well be coming off back-to-back soul-crushing losses.
Not to pile on, but Cain Colter, the same speedy quarterback who torched the Huskers for two touchdowns on the ground and one through the air in 2011, figures to start for the Wildcats.
This one is almost a no-brainer.
Michigan hardly lost anything. Nebraska lost its top three defenders and gained nothing.
Brady Hoke has proven to be able to recruit and develop players. Bo Pelini has shown little evidence he can do either.
Michigan has the best dual-threat quarterback in the country. Nebraska struggles against dual-threat quarterbacks.
Michigan beat Nebraska by four touchdowns in 2011. I'm not sure home-field advantage will be a factor in 2012.
Looking at Iowa's 2012 schedule, it is quite apparent that the Hawkeyes won't have to run through the same type of gauntlet as the Huskers.
Given that, there is a good chance they'll be favored in every game they play right up until the week before Thanksgiving against Michigan.
As a result, Nebraska may be the only thing between Iowa and a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game, while the Huskers may be in season-salvage mode.
Add to that the fact that the Hawkeyes have lost only four games over the past three seasons in Iowa City, and that spells big trouble for the Big Red.