For college football fans, this is a tough time of the year.
The preseason magazines have all been purchased and devoured, fall practice is well over a month away, and the release of EA Sports' NCAA 12 is still off in the distance. So how does a college football fan stay sane?
Dream. This is the time for college football fans to dream about the glories to come in the upcoming year.
So let's take a look at what particular sugarplums may be dancing in the heads of the Children of the Corn as they await the start of the 2011 season.
Last year, Taylor Martinez was Nebraska’s barometer. When Martinez was good, he broke records with his arm and his legs, and Nebraska was a contender for national honors.
When he was bad, Nebraska’s offense was invisible, and Nebraska’s defense couldn’t carry the team by itself to the promised land.
For Nebraska to have a dream season in 2011, Martinez will have to be Taylor Terrific throughout the 2011 campaign.
In 2010, Rex Burkhead was the rock of consistency for NU's schizophrenic offense.
He performed well in a backup capacity to Roy Helu, and at times looked like the best quarterback on the team in NU's version of the Wildcat.
But in 2011, Burkhead will be "The Guy" at running back. And the better Burkhead plays, the less defenses will be able to cheat in defending Taylor Martinez, opening opportunities for both to shine.
This photo is of Kyler Reed. Reed was Nebraska's home run, stretch-the-field threat in 2010.
Reed is a tight end. No disrespect to Reed, but that tells you a lot of what you need to know about Nebraska's offensive problems.
Next year, Nebraska is hoping to have more speed on the field. Freshman phenom Jamal Turner has already got some attention with his standout performance at the Spring Game.
He will be joined by players like Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Curensky Gillelyn, and Kenny Bell. Nebraska's dreams of glory in 2011 may very well include images of these kids running by defenders. Very fast.
Nebraska fans are used to a guy named Green carrying the ball. A few years ago, some guy named Ahman (shown above) did pretty well in Lincoln, and went on to do OK in the NFL.
A new Green era begins in 2011 when Aaron (no relation) Green arrives. Green is Nebraska's first 5-star running back recruit since Marlon Lucky.
If he lives up to the potential many see in him, he could provide the spark in Nebraska's offense that will help the Children of the Corn realize their dream season.
At the end of 2010, Nebraska fans were blaming then-offensive coordinator Shawn Watson for everything from global warming to the cancellation of Cool Whip in a spray bottle.
And who isn't upset about that? I mean, it's Cool Whip! In a spray bottle! Culinary perfection! Damn you, Shawn Watson!
But I digress. Watson moved on to greener pastures, and Tim Beck took over at Nebraska's new OC. Beck has promised a simpler, more intuitive offense that better suits the skills of his players.
If he gets it right (and that's a big "if" for a rookie OC), Nebraska's dreams of glory could become reality in 2011.
Lavonte David was a revelation last year. Pressed into starting duty due to injuries, David responded by being the only Nebraska linebacker with over 100 tackles in 2010.
With Nebraska's transition to the B1G Conference next year, NU will likely be relying more on three-linebacker sets. That will place more of an emphasis on David to repeat—and improve on—his success in 2010.
If he is able to do so, the Blackshirts will be able to help prop up an offense with question marks, and help NU get to where the fans want them to go in 2011.
An argument could be made that Alfonzo Dennard, not Prince Amukamura, was Nebraska's most productive cornerback in 2010.
But Amukamura has traded in his red N for the white NY of the Giants, meaning Dennard will now be the focal point of opposing offenses.
If Dennard is able to be successful even with the additional spotlight placed on him, he will be a big factor in Nebraska's 2011 success.
Nebraska fans can be forgiven for looking at Cowboys Stadium as a house of horrors. In Nebraska's two trips to JerryWorld, they suffered a soul-crushing last-second defeat to Texas, and a blown 17-point lead to Oklahoma.
This year, a division title for NU means a trip to the friendly confines of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, where the Children of the Corn can rest assured that Big XII referees will not be working the game.
So, Nebraska has the chance to wipe the slate clean in a new stadium, starting new memories and finishing their journey to a BCS bowl in Peyton's Place.
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