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Taylor Martinez's passing skills will be the key to Nebraska's success this season.
2011 Record: 9-4 (5-3 Big Ten Conference)
2012 Projection: 10-2 (6-2)
The Nebraska Cornhuskers may have lost two offensive linemen due to personal reasons, do not have a quarterback that can win a game if he is forced to beat the opposing team throwing the football, lost several key players on defense to the NFL, but will still be able to win double-digit games in 2012 because of week to week match-ups.
As mentioned above, Ryan Klachko transferred to Illinois and Tyler Moore left the program as well. The reasoning seems to have something to do with offensive line coach Barney Cotton according to a report from Omaha.com, but that is an argument for another day.
Taylor Martinez was impressive running the football last season, however, against ranked opponents his limitations as a passer were exposed. In Nebraska's three losses to opponents inside the top 25, Martinez completion percentage was just below 50-percent and the junior quarterback only threw for 414 yards, two touchdowns along with four interceptions.
Senior running back Rex Burkhead will carry the load on offense for the Cornhuskers as he did a year ago with 1,357 yards and 15 touchdowns on 284 carries.
Defensively, the Cornuskers lost linebacker Lavonte David, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard and defensive tackle Jared Crick who were the leaders of their defense a year ago. It should be noted that Crick only managed to play in five games last season due to injury.
The defensive line will be a question mark all season long for Nebraska and the front seven as a whole may struggle after the departure of two starting linebackers.
Senior linebacker Will Compton will assume the leadership role for Nebraska's defense in his second season as a starter and the Cornhuskers' secondary will be anchored by senior safety Daimion Stafford.
On paper, this is the fifth best team in the Big Ten, however the Cornhuskers should still win 10 games.
Nebraska gets two of their four toughest games, Michigan and Wisconsin, at home and while both of those teams may have more talent overall they do not match up well against the Cornhuskers.
Michigan and Wisconsin both have weak defensive lines heading into the 2012 season, which will cancel out Nebraska's weakness on the offensive line and allow Burkhead and Martinez to run wild against both of those teams. Plus, ask Ohio State and Michigan State how difficult it is to leave Memorial Stadium with a win.
Week 1 Match-up: Southern Miss, 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC.
Prediction: Nebraska by 10.