After a lackluster loss to Northwestern last Saturday, Nebraska's bowl scenario, which had become a bit "rosier" following a quality 24-3 win over Michigan State, clouded over in an instant.
Two weeks ago, the Huskers held a head-to-head tie-breaker over the Spartans in the Legends Division; an advantage which gave Nebraska a legitimate shot at the Big Ten championship along with the possibility (however remote) of a Rose Bowl berth.
One week later, Nebraska's erratic nature reared its ugly head.
As a result, the Huskers will, most assuredly, need to win their three remaining games and receive some help in the form of another Michigan State loss.
Compounding the problem is the fact that Nebraska must now travel to "Not-So-Happy Valley" and face an embattled Penn State team and its violently crazed fans, after both have rallied around Joe Paterno in the wake of his dismissal.
It is unknown whether the horrific scandal will provide more of a distraction to the Nittany Lions or to the Huskers. With the game being played as against such an explosive backdrop, the safety of the Nebraska players, coaches and fans could be a legitimate concern.
Meanwhile, of the four teams vying for the Legends Division crown, the Spartans appear to have the easiest road to Indianapolis. After traveling to Iowa this weekend, Michigan State will host Indiana and finish the season on the road against Northwestern.
Here then are the possible bowl scenarios for the Cornhuskers and the likelihood of each one:
As mentioned in the introductory slide, the Huskers need to be perfect for the remainder of the season and benefit from another Michigan State loss to have a realistic hope of going to the Rose Bowl.
While we would all love to see the Huskers run the table, the prospect of that happening seems highly doubtful given the team's inconsistency.
Right now, a 2-1 finish seems to be Nebraska's best case scenario.
Even if the Huskers win their last three games, Michigan State must lose. The greatest probability of that would most likely occur this weekend when the Spartans travel to Iowa City to do battle with the Hawkeyes.
Besides, even if everything happens in Nebraska's favor, they would still need to defeat the Leaders Division winner.
While Penn State currently occupies that spot, they still have to play back-to-back road games against Ohio State and Wisconsin.
Wisconsin plays Illinois and Minnesota on the road, before hosting the Nittany Lions.
So, if Nebraska actually made it that far, they would probably face a rematch against Wisconsin and suffer another defeat, effectively ending any Nebraska Rose Bowl run.
Expect the Badgers to win their division and then the conference before facing either Oregon or Stanford in Pasadena.
While the chances of this scenario playing out are slightly better, don't expect it to happen, as the first two prerequisites for Nebraska to make it to the Rose Bowl would still apply.
In other words, Nebraska would need to make it to the Big Ten championship and lose.
Michigan State is the most likely candidate for this scenario and would likely face Arkansas.
Since this bowl is usually awarded to the third best team in the Big Ten, Nebraska's performance against Penn State and Michigan will help determine which team punches their ticket to Tampa.
The Outback Bowl doesn't have to follow the win-loss records, provided the team they select doesn't have two fewer wins or two more losses than another eligible Big Ten team.
While it is a more attainable goal for the Huskers, they would need to beat both the Nittany Lions and the Wolverines then rely on at least a second Penn State loss.
While it is quite possible for Nebraska to beat Penn State, it's doubtful that the Huskers will walk out of the "Big House" with a win as well.
Considering the turmoil surrounding Penn State right now, their wheels could shoot off in all directions, especially since they face consecutive road tests against Ohio State and Wisconsin after the Nebraska game.
Michigan, meanwhile, has a road game against Illinois and their home finale vs. Ohio State bookending their faceoff against the Huskers.
If Penn State doesn't have a meltdown, they'll could wind up in the Outback; however the odds are good that they will implode or get passed over due to the ongoing scandal.
Let's shake things up a bit and project an Outback bid for the Wolverines.
So, if Michigan manages to go to the Outback Bowl, then Penn State will be in the Gator Bowl, right?
Not so fast, my friend.
The Gator Bowl follows the same selection rules as the Outback Bowl.
While Penn State has the superior conference record and they could indeed adopt a successful "Win One for JoePa" mentality, they could also self-destruct, starting with a loss to Nebraska this Saturday.
After that, the Nittany Lions must travel to Columbus and Madison.
With the ongoing scandal in full swing, Penn State might not win another game this season.
So, if Nebraska won two of their last three games (one of them coming at the expense of Penn State) and the Nittany Lions lost again, the Gator Bowl could pick a 9-3 (5-3) Nebraska team over a 9-3 (6-2) Penn State team that's wrapped up in a scandal.
Look for Nebraska to receive a Gator Bowl invite and most likely play Florida.
If, instead of Nebraska, the Gator Bowl chooses Penn State and Nebraska wins two more games, this is likely where they would end up.
Unlike the Capital One, Outback and Gator Bowls, all the subsequent bowl games in this slideshow do not have win-loss restrictions (two fewer wins/two more losses), though they cannot select a 6-6 team if a team with a 7-5 record or greater is not chosen by another bowl game with a Big Ten affiliation.
This bowl would be mildly intriguing as the Huskers would face one of their old Big 12 rivals, perhaps a team like Kansas State.
If Nebraska lost two of their last three games, thus finishing 8-4 (4-4), this would be the best of the "bad" bowls to which Nebraska might get invited.
Like the Insight Bowl, it would have a Big 12 tie-in, like Texas Tech.
However, if Nebraska fell this far, Husker Nation would grow extremely restless.
If the Huskers cannot manage to win any more games this season and finish 7-5 (3-5), these are the two remaining bowls that would offer invitations.
If relegated to either of these bowl games, Nebraska would face the No. 2 teams in C-USA and the MAC, respectively.
Even though this is Nebraska's first season in the Big Ten, if this scenario were to occur, Husker fans would be apoplectic with rage and the "Fire Bo!" campaign would spring into action and gather a healthy head of steam.
Let's hope this isn't the case.
As for this slideshow presentation, the Huskers are more than welcome to win their last three games and disprove their projected status.