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Corn Nation Football Roundtable: Predicting Nebraska’s Record, the Colorado Game, Surprise Players and More

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JUL 27 Big Ten Conference Media Days Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Might as well start with the number of wins. The over/under win total is currently 6.5 wins. Where are you placing your bet and why?

Andy: (Long drink of spiked Kool-Aid) I’m going over and I’m starting with a win up in Minneapolis. That victory kicks off a 4-0 start and a 3-5 finish against the rest of the schedule is doable. Also, I feel pretty confident about wins against Northwestern and Iowa.

(Yes, Iowa - I know some people are penciling them in for a West title, but they’re a bit of a mess. Not as bad as those naked hazing creeps at Northwestern, but still a bit of a Brian Ferentz and racial discrimination mess. Kirk is going ride his special boy into an early retirement.)

So by my twisted logic, the ‘Skers now just need to dig one win out of the remaining six. See? Doable.

Todd: 8-4. I’m and optimist. I will be very happy with six wins as long as this team plays hard, disciplined football.

Patrick: Under - There are too many unknowns with a new coaches and players. There’s potential, but we have said that before. Nebraska’s schedule I believe is also tougher than people give it credit for. I have “faith” that we can hit the over, but that’s all it is. Show me and I will believe.

Mike: Take the over. They’ll go 3-0 in the non-conference schedule, and I suspect they’ll be undefeated and ranked when Michigan comes to Lincoln for the Big 11 am Kickoff. They won’t win that week, but will navigate the rest of the schedule well. Give me an 8-4 record, and I’ll even entertain optimist talk of even more. This program has underperformed so much the last eight years, it’s time to exceed expectations. (That being said, old habits are hard to break, so 3-9 remains in the mix as well.)

Jon: Under. I am only expecting 6-6 and for Nebraska to get to a bowl game. I am not ready to love again. Perhaps early play will convince me otherwise, but my heart has been broken too many times to go beyond that.

Brian: Over. I don’t want to drink the Rhule-aide just yet, but after further analysis of this schedule I remain optimistic for a 7 win season. With Rhule in charge I see hard fought wins the beginning of the season due to working the kinks out and adjusting the game plan for the upcoming games. Michigan will the first loss of the season, but after that loss I see wins over Illinois and Northwestern for a total of 6 wins. After that the Maryland, Wisconsin and Iowa games should at least give us one more victory, ending the season in 7 wins.

Jill: Under. Have you seen Rhule's first year record with teams he's rebuilt? I'm also cynical and more cynical. I want him to succeed and think he can. But not this year. Sorry

Jarek: I like the over here, but barely. I genuinely think Matt Rhule has better talent than what he has started with in previous iterations. I think Nebraska finishes 7-5 and maybe with some luck 8-4. Now, if Nebraska wins at Minnesota, while limiting overall mistakes, I would not rule out a dream scenario of 9-3 and challenging for the B1G West.

Akelo: Under. Rhule is historically awful in his first season. Our offense has question marks at every position. I'm expecting 5-7. Rather than focus on making a bowl, my goal for the 2023 season is seeing proof of concept that the 3-3-5 is viable in the Big Ten & that we get the offense we were promised, a smash-mouth running game in conjunction with a vertical passing attack.

Tyler- I like the Over here. I am truly convinced of a serious turn around to 7 or 8 wins. I believe players like Phalen Sanford when I hear them say this team is "sick and tired of being sick and tired." Many of these guys that stuck it out have jumped through hoop after hoop, coordinator to coordinator, Head Coach to Head Coach ( you get the idea). They want to win. They needed a leader that could lead them through the times when things are close and you need to put up or shut up and make the play. I believe Coach Rhule is that.

You have a defensive scheme under Coach White that seems to fire up creativity and let that aggression and frustration out in a controlled way. Thinking about it gives me goosebumps all over.

Not to mention a offense that seems determined to stick to its guns and "run the damn ball" to solidify it's identity and dominance as a school that wrote the book on physicality in the trenches and wearing out your opponent by continually smashing the ball down their throat.

Rhule's interviews have even hinted at a speedier rebuild than his previous two collegiate stops. With that said, I'm convinced this group of players will be fun to watch week in and week out and lay the foundation for this program going forward.

Brianna: Always chugging the Kool-aid over here, so I’m going with a solid 8-4. That might seem ridiculous to some, but I don’t care. It’s what I want to happen, so I’m going with it.

Nate M: I am settled at 6-6. I’m not sure how they will get there but at this point I am just settled at six wins. Though if somebody were to show up with a time machine and tell me I’m wrong then I would assume we would have seven wins.

Will the Minnesota game be a make or break type of game for Nebraska?

Andy: I don’t think it’s make or break out of the gate. The make or break game is Colorado IF we lose to Minnesota. An 0-2 start will put many people in dark mood early. Not as dark as the Ireland debacle last season, but still pretty dark. And the tweener fans who repeatedly swear off the Huskers forever? Any of them who have perhaps been drawn back by a change in leadership and an exciting offseason will be right back out the door.

On the other hand, those guys can go screw themselves.

Todd: Make or break? No. I see it as a great opportunity for Nebraska because 1) Minnesota typically gets off to a slow start and 2) P.J. has little idea what to expect from Ruhle’s boys. Obviously it comes down to the boys up front in this game and if Nebraska can at least hold up, I believe they can come out of this game with a win.

Patrick: Nope, it’s the first game of the season and if college football has taught me anything is that you should get your losses out early in the season instead of at the end. It’s easier to drop in the polls or public perspective at the end than it is to not be able to claw your way out of a hole. Also, Minnesota should be a good team.

Mike: Game One is a Make or Break game for Matt Rhule? That’s crazy talk. I think they can win, and actually should win...but if they don’t, I’ll take a deep breath and hope they’ll turn it around.

Jon: It’s not a “make or break” game, but I believe it will tell us a lot about whether Nebraska is ready and willing to play physical football. If Nebraska could manage to win, the Minnesota fans in my life might STFU for a bit.

Brian: The only break will be to the fanbase with a loss. Rhule is a turnaround artist for teams, however his first year at any of the previous schools he’s coached had a rough start. Its a complete rebuild of a program that has been left in ruins by its past predecessors. So don’t expect a make or break situation. Expect to see what’s to come, and expect the cobwebs to be dusted off quickly. I still have high hopes for a victory against Minnesota, but I also see a hard fought win. The fanbase though will have a hard time coming to mends with a loss, there is so much hype this year with Rhule and the team that a loss will only feel like the familiar dumpster fire we have all gathered around for years. Give Rhule time, I expect a victory but a loss will not break the season.

Jill: It will only tell us how much pain to expect. I can't take much more but assume it is coming anyway.

Jarek: I wouldn’t necessarily think it’s make or break, but depending on how it looks could tell you a lot of what to expect. Go out and play a close ball game would imply they could hang around most of the divisional teams, however if they get blown out then you definitely have to beat Colorado next week to squash fear.

Akelo: It isn't a make or break game in my eyes. PJ Fleck is a great coach & Minnesota, while losing some key pieces, has established a winning culture & are well-disciplined. The Colorado game will set the tone for the rest of the season.

Brianna: I wouldn’t say it’s a “make or break game” but I do think it sets the tone for the season and it would be great not to have to hear about that loss to Minnesota as a reference for the rest of the season. Also, what’s up with these Week 0 games. They always seem like a bad idea to me.

Tyler: A Game One loss under another staff might be consider make or break. I don't consider that the case here. There's plenty of evidence to support that the Huskers should walk away with an L in this one. But I think it'll be more important what we as fans see from the team, rather than the end result. I predict a win, but won't go crying for the hills if the game is lost in and hard fought way and the Gophers make the plays that show they are just better than us on Thursday night.

Nate M: It’s my opinion that a loss would not break this team. Not even close. However, a win could definitely make this team. That’s simply because if they can find a way to win on Thursday then that probably means they can do a combination of run the ball and stop the run. If they can do that then they likely wins 7 or more games this season.

That Colorado game could be wild. Do you expect the Buffalo fans to hold back the sea of red in 2023? Also at the end of the non-conference schedule what is your prediction for Nebraska’s record? Does Nebraska beat Colorado?

Andy: 1) No. As Colin Cowherd opined in a rant years back, Colorado fans are not committed types when it comes to their sports programs, they are dabblers. Husker fans are committed. They also are old hands at getting into visiting stadiums and Colorado fans are not at all committed to stopping them.

2) 4-0. There, I said it again and; 3) yes, we do win and fairly handily. It may not be as easy here next year since the talent has upgraded, but this will only be the second game these guys have ever played together and their confidence may not be high after dropping the opener to TCU.

Todd: Nebraska beats Colorado 35-21. There will be a lot of Nebraska fans in attendance, and they will outnumber Buff fans before the end of the third quarter. The more important question is whether Coach Prime will wear a white or black Stetson. I’ve only seen him in a white one, but I would think from the intimidation perspective, he may go with black. Nebraska goes into the Michigan game 4-0.

Patrick: I honestly have no clue on any of these questions. What Deion is doing is so out of left field that it’s hard to gauge what his team is going to be like. The guy feeds of doubters so maybe that will be a factor in their play? I do think we will know these questions the week of so come back after Colorado has played some games.

I’m guessing Nebraska should go 3-0 in the noncon wouldn’t surprise me if they’re 2-1. (I’m not counting the Minnesota game which is conference)

Mike: There are no bigger bandwagon fans than Coloradoans, and Deion has injected hope into a program that was pretty much hopeless this century. CU fans will be there. But make no bones about it...for every high-profile transfer, Deion also had to take two backups from MAC schools just to fill out the roster he purged. Sanders might field a somewhat competitive team by November, but in September? Nope. Huskers 31, Puffs 13

Jon: Nebraska will smite the evil that is the Colorado Buffaloes. Our beloved Huskers will be 3-1 at the end of the non-conference schedule, which obviously includes Minnesota.

Brian: I recently tried writing an article about how Deion was the next Scott Frost. It wasn’t published due to my use of profanities and my disdain for what is happening over there in Colorado. Mr. Sanders consistent pattern of talking about himself in the third person is all you need to know about what is to come from Colorado. A lot of talking, a ton of over hyped bull****, and a coach that is more concerned about his TikTok presence than the group of young men he is supposed to be coaching. Colorado is a wash. The fans will be present for half the season, but once the initial new car smell of Coach “Primetime” wears off. The stadium will be just as empty as the schools bank account will be when they fire Coach “TikTok” after his second year.

Jill: I don't understand the question.

Okay, there were too many questions.

I reserve all judgment until after the games are played. Yes, I am wimping out.

No, I don't care.

Jarek: The first question heavily implies Colorado fans actually remember they have a football program, so no, I’m predicting at least a 60-40 pro-Nebraska crowd. Nebraska finishes the non-conference slate 3-1 because of the Minnesota game but will start to look more like a team that knows how to grind out games, when necessary, by the time Michigan comes calling. Nebraska beats Colorado 37-17.

Brianna: You can’t hold back the Sea of Red. That’s just silly. Also I’m going with 4-0 by the end of the non-conference schedule.

Akelo: The Sea of Red is an unstoppable object like that runaway train movie that Denzel starred in. I have us at 3-1 at the end of the noncon schedule, with Minnesota being our only loss. I have us rolling Colorado to the tune of 38-13.

Tyler: Seeing as the two previous encounters with those hippies from Boulder is probably still pretty fresh in the minds of most Husker fans, I doubt even a well placed wall could stop the flood of red you should see at Folsom Field in a few weeks time.

I respect Coach Prime. There I said it with a straight face. In truth, I do, he's anything if not confident. What do you want in a Head Coach? Timid Optimism?

He's been a Pied Piper of sorts convincing kids who are more than capable of playing Power 5 football, and building a dominant program at a long forgotten HBCU. Now he's on the big stage, just like Primetime likes it.

I want to beat Colorado. I think we will beat Colorado. But would I smile and applaud if he turns the soon to be extinct PAC 12 Conference on its head and surprises some teams, just as the Buffs make their way back to the Big 12? Yeah I probably would.

Non Conference Record: 3-0. But don't sleep on Louisiana Tech. Husker fans know what I'm talking about.

Nate M: I’m starting with 3-1 with a loss to Minnesota and a win over Colorado.

If you get three players whose stock you could invest in (buy low/sell high), which three players are you betting your retirement on for 2023?

Andy: 1) John Bullock - I called him out as future starter after the ‘21 and ‘22 spring games, so let’s put the cash down.
2) IGC - Garcia-Casteneda showed a flash of his potential in Ireland before something went horribly wrong with the previous staff. I was already looking for a breakout year from him before Betts left and now his target share just went up. Also, I’m always all in on anyone whose name sounds like he’s won a Nobel Prize for literature.
3) His Polar Bearness, Nash Hutmacher - It’s finally his time. Let the big bear eat.

Todd: Quinton Newsome, Luke Reimer, and M.J. Sherman are the three that I will invest in. No one on the offensive side of the ball blows me away. I am hopeful that some will starting next Thursday!

Patrick: Luke Reimer, Jeff Sims, Nouredin Nouili. I just hope they all stay healthy.

Mike: Malachi Coleman, Thomas Fidone and Jimari Butler.

Jon: Heinrich Haarberg, Ben Scott, and Rahmir Johnson. Johnson will surprise the entire Big Ten this season. I am closer to retirement than all these other sunsabitches, so the idea that I’m betting my retirement on these guys has a lot more fear attached to it.

Brian: Jeff Sims, IGC(Garcia-Casteneda), and Brian Buschini.
If Sims gets to show off his legs like he did at Georgia Tech, with Satterfields offense and a decent offensive line, Sims could be huge on the ground more than people think.
IGC(I’m going to use the acronym) was huge in the Ireland game against Northwestern. Unfortunately we never got to see him play again, due to “those we do not speak of” and their wild and crazy staff antics. He will be a huge star if he stays healthy.
Brian Buschini. A good kicker. Need I say more?


  • Sims
  • Ervin
  • Sims

Jarek: The three guys for me have to be Jeff Sims, Luke Gifford and Ty Robinson. Sims looks like he has a lot of dynamism when given the time to throw the ball, anything he can add with his legs will be icing on the cake. Luke Gifford to me will be a JoJo Domann type of guy defensively, which would boost his draft stock due to his versatility. Robinson can be an integral part of the front three, but I see his role mainly being a run stuffer. A big body that can eat up plenty of double teams to allow his fellow defenders to make plays.

Brianna: Jeff Simms, Luke Reimer, and Quinton Newsome.

Akelo: Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda, DeShon Singleton and Dwight Bootle.

Tyler: So many names here! I could probably pick a key guy from each position group and make a case for them. That being said, I think in terms of Team Importance I'll go with Gabe Ervin Jr., Thomas Fidone, and Luke Reimer.

Nate M: Ethan Nation, Fidone and Gifford.

Regardless of final record, do you believe Matt Rhule and the coaching staff will be able to show that progress in the program is being made by the end of the year?

Andy: Yes? Yes?? Yes!

I’m not expecting miracles and there will be moments which make us go WTSF??? but this team will be noticeably better by the end of the year highlighted by them pulling out TWO late one-score wins against equal or superior competition. Not finding a way to win nailbiters cost the Huskers some bowl trips and Scott Frost his job and possibly his sanity after 2021.

Pulling out a couple of those will be true proof the corner is being turned.

Todd: They better! If there is not definitive improvement that will be a huge disappointment. He is a program builder and while I have faith in him and know that it will take time, there has to be growth and improvement in year one. I believe there will be, but if we see anywhere close to the same crap we’ve watched the past few years, Matt Ruhle will have to answer a lot of questions.

Patrick: Considering all the time they seem to be literally putting in the program, yes. They should be better and show progress. Depth will help determine that down the line. Development “seems” to be key and a focus on the coaches which will help.

Mike: Progress, absolutely. Nebraska has underperformed for years, and it seems this squad has taken well to this staff. Pay little attention to what Matt Rhule did in year one elsewhere; those were far bigger rebuilds because Rhule’s predecessor had left a smoldering hole behind. That’s not what Rhule found in Lincoln.

Jon: Yes. Let’s be blunt - a head coach who isn’t a (allegedly) drunk, philandering con man would coach this team to be better than they’ve been.

Brian: Frost had so many failures that at this point a drunk monkey behind a lawn mower could do better at leading the Huskers then he did. Now considering who we hired as head coach, this might not be the bowl year, but give it 3 years for sure. If Rhule ends the season with 6 wins, that’s progress in my eyes. Frost’s best year had 5 wins. That's it. 5. How many years did people give him to turn it around? So give Rhule at least 3 seasons. I expect results a lot sooner with Rhule though.

Jill: Rhule's past win-loss record in year 1 seems to be...bad. But, he has shown that progress is made and success follows. So, I will sleepwalk through 2023 and hope for an entertaining 2024.

Jarek: The simple answer is yes. It starts and ends with the fundamentals. If there is far less sloppiness and guys take care of the football, while the defense actually wraps guys up while making a tackle this group should be vastly improved from the previous regime.

Brianna: YES! Their shit seems more together already, but I’m always an optimist so you shouldn’t have expected any other answer from me.

Akelo: This is the biggest key for me this year. I'm not particularly worried if we don't make a bowl game this year. It's year one. I just want to see tangible proof that we are a much better team than what Scott Frost left us.

Tyler: I think the evidence is already there that we should expect to see improvement from years past. Accountability and Fundamentals seem to be at the heart of this rebuild. Doing the little things right 100% of the time and getting called out when it's anything less. That's something this team has packed for many many seasons. I've made my case that this team has a bowl bid in its future if it stays the course and trusts the process. For most of these guys, that's really all they want. To see that if you do the right things the right way, you can come out on top and not have to sit around and wait for the other shoe to drop.

Nate M: I sure hope so.

What is one college football related prediction you have that has nothing to do with Nebraska?

Andy: Despite a brutally easy non-con schedule (The SEC made them cancel their Oklahoma game after the Okies and Horns Down joined up.), Georgia will not three-peat. A new QB who doesn’t possess Stetson’s running ability or creativity, a new OC not known for wide-open play-calling and another pile of starters to the NFL won’t be overcome.

Instead, from the SEC, it will be LSU advancing to the playoff led by Brian Kelly and his fam-uh-lee.

Todd: I’m pretty conservative and generally do not like making predictions, but I will give it a whirl. Oregon will continue to have the worst uniforms in all of sports. Air Force will wear the best alternatives. Maryland is going to be the surprise team from the B1G. Jimbo gets fired at A&M before the end of the season. USC wins the Natty. Brian Ferentz will say some really stupid things to explain why his offense can’t score. And, Olivia Dunn will dump her pitcher BF and find a footballer in order to fend off competition from other female athlete influencers.

Patrick: Utah wins the last modern PAC-12 title.

Mike: OK, here’s a wild one. The playoff will feature a rematch between Michigan and Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, as well as a rematch between Alabama and Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.

Jon: Stanford and Cal will announce at the end of the season that they are dropping football to focus on Olympic Sports.

Brian: There will be at least 1 more school being under investigation for some crazy locker room antics. My prediction is Colorado.

Jill: Bama, Georgia...blah, blah, blah.

Jarek: I have to agree with Todd on this one. I think USC could win the whole darn thing. Wouldn’t it be funny that a conference that everyone watched implode over the last 5 weeks ends up with the national title winner before it all dies. Plus, it would be an honor for the B1G to welcome the defending national champions, while claiming the B1G won the national title because of USC now being in the conference.

Brianna: There is a sleeper that no one is talking about. I can’t tell you now who they are (top secret info), but you’ll be really impressed with who it is.

Akelo: NC State will win their first ACC title since 1979.

Tyler: Is it sad that I want Tim Beck to keep the success rolling at Coastal Carolina? We've had a slight kinship with the Chanticleers ever since Joe Moglia was part of the East Coast program. But Coach Beck has been a solid OC in my mind ever since he got his start here at Nebraska. He went on to work for the Buckeyes for a time. He's been at Texas. Most recently he had success at NC State. He's a solid coach who finally has the opportunity to be the guy in charge. I wish him success on the season and as long as Coastal Carolina isn't on our schedule, I'll be rooting for him. Coastal Carolina and Tulane make cases to be in the New Year's Six games.

Nate M: Somehow and someway, the SEC will be punished by only playing eight conference games. I’m not entirely sure how that will happen but that’s my prediction.