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Perhaps the most shocking and least-likely team included on this list is Nebraska.
Why would the Cornhuskers be at risk of not making a bowl game this season?
It boils down to numbers, really.
Last season, Nebraska was ranked 113th in the nation in pass-offense. That's right up there with such great programs like Akron, Western Kentucky, Wake Forest, Eastern Michigan, North Texas and Utah State.
In fact, half of those teams were actually better at putting the ball in the air than Nebraska.
So why does this spell trouble for the Huskers in 2011?
The move to the Big Ten is probably going to be a benefit to the Nebraska football program in the long run, but the short-term offers some unique challenges.
First, there's the style of play in the Big Ten versus the Big 12 style Nebraska is used to. The Big Ten is a conference that has traditionally relied on the power running game, which also means there are some very good run-defenses in the conference. Last season, two of the top six rush-defenses nationally were from the Big Ten.
While that doesn't mean Nebraska won't have any success on the ground in 2011, it probably means the Cornhuskers will need to fare better than 113th in the FBS to be effective in their new conference home.
The biggest problem with having an effective passing game is Taylor Martinez. Last season, he didn't even rank in the top 100 passers in the nation—a list that includes a number of second-string quarterbacks.
Sure, it was his freshman season, but Martinez will need to not only provide much more consistent play passing the ball (1,631 yards, 10 touchdowns, seven interceptions, 138.8 rating) if he hopes to avoid being picked apart by hungry Big Ten secondaries, but he'll also need to get the ball into the receivers' hands more often if he hopes to put up anywhere near the same numbers on the ground (965 yards, 12 touchdowns) as he did last season.
If Denard Robinson is the best running quarterback in the conference, you might be able to call Martinez Robinson-Lite. Robinson has his faults to be certain, but he is more productive throwing the ball (2,570 yards, 18 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 149.6 rating) than Martinez, and there's no quarterback in the nation better at running the ball (1,702 yards, 14 touchdowns).
If Martinez can evolve to the next stage in his development, Nebraska fans could be treated to an impressive inaugural outing in the Big Ten. If not, his teammates will have an awful lot of slack to pick up if Nebraska hopes to have any semblance of success in their new conference this season.
Nebraska isn't likely to miss a bowl game this year—but with Martinez as their quarterback, until we see more from him, absolutely anything is possible.