As the 2011 college football season nears, fans are getting excited for what this season may bring for their beloved team.
Their are two kinds of fans: realistic and optimistic.
Fans of Alabama, Oregon and a few select others can be both realistic and optimistic. That is, they can expect national titles or, at the very least, BCS bowl games.
Nebraska was once that way, and this could be the year Nebraska fans could fall under the category of both this year.
Sure, there are doubters. Fans who say Nebraska will be mediocre are neither realistic nor right. They are not the embodiment of the pride Husker Nation proudly displays.
No, the true fans are the ones who expect perfection, but realize a few losses can be expected. This is what the latter expects.
The first of Nebraska's victims is the small FCS program of Chattanooga.
Going 6-5 last season,—and let's face it, not being able to put a fight against a far superior team in Nebraska—it will seem as if the Mocs never even showed up.
Martinez will show Husker Nation his ankle is healthy, and he is back. Frosh Jamal Turner will be doing back-flips because of all the touchdowns he will have. And the defense will return to their 2009 form.
Lavonte David will be flying around the field, but only if the Mocs can keep Crick and E Mart out of the backfield.
At the end of the day, the Mocs will take their money for getting beat, hang their heads and get back on their bus.
Final Score: 63-0
Next to enter the House that Tom Built will be the Bulldogs of Fresno State.
While they could put a little more of a fight than Chattanooga, it won't be enough.
Beck will break out a little more of his offense, and Martinez will be running all over them. Burkhead will be plowing over defenders on way to his third touchdown of the game, and Kinnie will have a career performance.
This will be over by halftime, and the only points the Huskers will score afterwards will be pick-sixes from Dennard and Ciante. The Huskers will send the Bulldogs home with their tails between their legs.
Final Score: 55-7
Revenge will be on Husker fans' minds when the Huskies come to Lincoln.
They say ask and you shall receive.
Well, the fans asked, and the Huskers won't disappoint.
Martinez will have a repeat performance of the regular-season UW game last year, and Kyler Reed will show the Huskies that Nebraska doesn't need their tight end.
Keith Price will complete a lot a passes; they will just be to the defense. Crick will wind up with one and run it back for a touchdown.
By the end of the game, the Huskies will be proven to be all bark and no bite.
Final Score: 56-14
One must wonder how an ocean can show up so far inland and at such a high elevation.
That's what's going to happen when the Huskers head out to Laramie.
The Sea of Red will in full force in War Memorial Stadium, and so will the Huskers.
Nebraska will break out the wildcat again, but this time with Burkhead and Starling. Starling will have three touchdowns in the game: one rushing, receiving and passing, becoming the fourth Husker to do such a feat. Martinez will continue his running ways, and Turner and Kinnie will pitch the ball back and forth on the way to the end zone.
The defense will again be stout and whip the Cowboys into submission. By the time the final whistle blows, Waylon Jennings' "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys" will become reality.
Final Score: 72-3
Nebraska goes to Camp Randall under the lights to face the Badgers. Now led by QB Russell Wilson, the Badgers assume they can beat the Huskers.
Assumptions are for chumps.
The Huskers go into Camp Randall and take it to the Badgers. Beck pulls out all the stops: trick plays, reverses, everything.
Jamal Turner shows off his arm in a deep pass to, who other than, Taylor Martinez. Burkhead shows off his arm by throwing to Mr. Starling. Of course, Burkhead also shows off his legs, juking and stiff-arming everybody on his way to the end zone. Reed proves that tight ends are capable of much more than blocking, and No. 48, Tyler Legate, scores on the trap play Husker Nation saw in the spring game.
Crick tears up the backfield and E Mart knocks Wilson out, but doesn't get suspended this time. Mauro Bondi eases Husker fans' fears about the drop-off after Henery.
After the game, Nebraska will be jumping around.
Final Score: 45-24
The Huskers make their trip home after beating the Badgers to welcome the Buckeyes to Memorial Stadium.
And you can bet the fans will be riled up.
The defense will be the stars of this game. Crick will be in the backfield more than when he took down Baylor. Dennard will stop any receiver who comes his way, and Lavonte will rack up 20-plus tackles.
In other words, the Buckeyes offense is going to get tattooed.
On offense, Martinez will show he can play good in a big game at home. He and Turner will be an all-day duo, and Burkhead will pound it out.
The Buckeye players, hanging their heads, will dot the "I" in "victory" for the Huskers.
Final Score: 48-20
The Huskers go back on the road after taking the Buckeyes at home.
And what awaits them on the road?
Just the worst team in the Big Ten.
Minnesota will be shut down in every aspect of the game. Crick and co. will have five-plus sacks, and Dennard and the secondary will have at least three picks.
Taylor will run backwards and still beat the Gophers to the end zone. Burkhead and Bubba will continue with the wildcat, putting up numerous touchdowns.
Final Score: 66-7
Nebraska welcomes the Spartans to Lincoln after destroying Minnesota.
Michigan State has never beaten the Huskers, and that won't change this year.
Last season, the Spartans struggled when they faced an exceptional defense. Crick, David and Dennard are the headliners in a superior defense. Crick will throw Cousins around, and Cousins will throw Dennard some picks. David will be flying around as usual.
At this point, Martinez needs some rest, so Bubba Starling takes snaps at QB and doesn't disappoint. Starling shows off his legs and arm, scoring four touchdowns in an unanticipated rout of the Spartans.
Final Score: 45-17
The Wildcats will be more troublesome than most believe.
Nebraska will have some trouble stopping Dan Persa from completing passes, until Ciante Evans gets his second pick of the day and runs it back for a touchdown, destroying Persa's confidence. It will also be hard for Persa to complete passes when he's running for his life from Crick, Steinkuhler and company.
On offense, Jamal Turner will show he can also play quarterback by hooking up with Martinez and Kinnie on deep passes. Burkhead will ahead for a couple TDs, and Reed will catch another.
At the end of this, the Wildcats will be tamed.
Final Score: 52-21
The Huskers go on the road to Beaver Stadium to play the Nittany Lions of Penn State. While Happy Valley is a tough place to play, the Big Red can easily handle it.
Nebraska has an offensive day as Martinez, Burkhead, Turner, Kinnie and Reed each score a touchdown. Starling and Martinez experiment with the wildcat, and it is a success.
Crick sacks whomever Penn State puts at QB, and David takes care of the backs and receivers. Dennard shuts down the passing attack, stalling the Penn State offense.
Final Score: 42-14
The Big House. Home of the Wolverines.
Michigan's last few years have taken away the intimidation once belonging to it. Led by dual-threat quarterback Denard Robinson though, Michigan looks to be heading in the right direction.
Nebraska will go in and own the Big House. Crick will be chasing around Robinson so much that he keeps tripping over his untied shoelaces. The Michigan receivers will prove no match for Nebraska's awesome secondary, and the Wolverines' run game will still be undeveloped.
Martinez will show he is faster than Robinson, scoring three touchdowns. Jamal Turner will do some aerial acrobatics on way to his second touchdown, and workhorse Burkhead will plow ahead for another.
The Wolverines will look like roadkill after this one is over.
Final Score: 56-28
Nebraska welcomes its new rival to Lincoln to play for the Heroes Trophy the Hawkeyes bring with them.
It comes with Iowa, but stays with Nebraska.
The Huskers bring out all the stops. Crick is adding even more numbers to his resume, and Dennard has the whole backfield on lockdown. In the middle, David is hustling around more than ever.
Martinez connects with Reed and Kinnie on deep passes, and Burkhead heaves one to Turner for a score.
The black and yellow Hawkeyes leave Lincoln black and blue.
Final Score: 45-17
Nebraska heads to Indianapolis to play in the first Big Ten Championship.
Their opponent: the Badgers from Wisconsin.
Wisconsin comes in playing with revenge. Crick is looking to scoop up more awards than Suh and plays his heart out. David and Dennard want whatever Crick can't get for awards and show the voters why they should win.
Martinez gives the Heisman voters something to think about, and Turner is looking to be a finalist for Receiver of the Year.
The Badgers keep it closer, but still lose.
Final Score: 42-28
The BCS National Championship.
Finally, after 10 years, Nebraska is back in the big game.
And who better to face off against than rival Oklahoma? The Game of the Century II (or III if you want to count Ohio State-Michigan).
The Sooners come out ready to take on Heisman-winning QB Taylor Martinez and his elite receiving corps. Martinez plays a perfect game and exorcises all his demons from last year's Big 12 Championship.
Burkhead puts up 100 yards on the ground to cap a 2,000-yard season. Starling later admits it's a good thing he chose to come to Nebraska.
Crick sacks Landry Jones a couple times, and David sets a school record in tackles this season...again. Dennard picks off Jones a couple times, and that's the game.
Bo hoists up his own crystal ball and has won his first National Championship, bringing the SEC's reign to an end.
Final Score: 35-31