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16 Smaller Predictions for the 2023 Nebraska Football Season and One Big One

Nebraska Spring Football Game Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Welcome to game-day! It’s been a long road since the win on Black Friday against the Io_a Ha_keyes.

Tonight we have Minnesota. But before that, I want to present to you 16 “smaller” predictions for the upcoming season and then one big one to finish it off.

I am so ready for football to start.

So here we go.

15 Smaller Predictions

Nebraska Will Win the Turnover Battle for the First Time Since 2016

You didn’t hear it here first but in case you didn’t know the last time Nebraska was in the positive in turnover margin at the end of the season Mike Riley was the head coach. I think the emphasis of taking care of the ball along with an aggressive 3-3-5 on defense will lead to Nebraska ending the season with a positive turnover margin.

Jeff Sims Starts Every Game but Won’t Finish Every Game

Jeff Sims is built like a tank and they are going to need to run him for the offense to move the ball in the first half of the season. He’s going to get dinged up for at least one game and will sit but will be back to start the next game.

Nebraska Will Fair Catch a Kickoff at Least Once

Head Coach Matt Rhule recently said that they will never fair catch a kickoff. Well I’m thinking that Big Ten coaches are thinking “Is. That. Right.” and use their talented specialists to kick it high and right in front of the goal line on a consistent basis. Rhule will end up just saying “fine” and we will call at least one fair catch.

Nebraska Will Be Bowl Eligible Before Black Friday

This kind of gives away my schedule prediction below but I think the team will be able to breath easier going into Black Friday in that they will already have at least six wins at that point.

Kemp Will Lead the Team in Receptions but a Tight End Will Lead in Touchdowns

Well we know it is isn’t going to be Arik Gilbert but I think if everybody stays healthy it is safe to say that Billy Kemp will lead the team in receptions. He makes me think a little bit of Wes Welker. A lot of middle of the field work and short routes.

That said I think either Fidone or Nate (Great name by the way) Boerkircher will lead the team in touchdowns. It will be off of play action passes in the middle of the field and a lot of redzone touches.

Defense Will Carry Nebraska Through First Six Games

If you want to feel good about this coming season you could do worse than think about how this could be a pretty good defense. Nebraska might be able to lean on the defense through the first half of the season as the Nebraska passing games improves. Will it be enough to beat Minnesota?

Brian Buschini Will Not Be the Only All-Conference Player

There are rumblings that Buschini isn’t drinking “Busch” Lights but has actually been eating “Busch”’s Baked Beans as he has been putting time in the weight room. Yea, I’m not sure that joke works but there ya go.

There is a real chance he could be one of the best punters in the conference this year. Now after a preseason in which there was not a single Husker on a Big Ten Preseason All-Conference team I think Buschini will take a spot and so will at least one other. Or more.

Nebraska Will Fail to Close out Games in the 1st Half of the Year

Are we going to see some bad habits? I think they are going to be hard to break until the bullets start flying. It might be the Minnesota game or maybe even Michigan. They might have an opportunity to close out the game but will fail to do so.

Nebraska Will Make the Plays to Close Out Games in the 2nd Half of the Year

Matt Rhule addresses the problems and they actually get fixed. Then in games against Purdue, Michigan State he might have opportunities to close it out and they get it done.

One of the Freshman Wide Receivers Will Break Out by the End of the Year

I’m not sure which one it will be. Could it be Malachi Coleman or one of the other six freshman wide receivers? The other name that seems to be mentioned a lot is Jalen Lloyd. What about Jaidyn Doss?

The offense is going to need some speed to stretch out of the defense at some point. I’m not sure who but I think it will be one of the seven freshmen.

A True Freshman Will Play Meaningful Snaps for the Offensive Line

I think the Offensive Line will likely be much improved compared to last season. What surprised me the most from the depth chart that was released was that there were two true freshmen on a two deep.

That probably says a bit about the lack of established depth but hopefully a bit about how good these two true freshmen could possibly be in the future.

Those two are Sam Sledge and Gunnar Gottula. One of them will end up playing important first team snaps in 2023.

Tristan Alvano Will Have an Opportunity to Kick a Game Winner at Memorial Stadium

He did it in the Class A championship game last year and he will have an opportunity to do it in 2023. But will he make it?

Heinrich Haarberg Catches a Touchdown Pass

Oh, and Rhamir Johnson will be the one to throw it. Calling it.

Somebody Not Named Nash Hutmacher or Ty Robinson Will Lead the Team in Sacks

If I HAD to put money on it I think I would have to go with Chief Borders or MJ Sherman. However, another nominee is Blaise Gunnerson.

A Running Back Will Lead the Team in Rushing but Not By Much

This implies that Jeff Sims will get a good chunk of rushing yards. I am guessing that Gabe Ervin Jr. will lead the team in rushing, especially if he is healthy. However, Anthony Grant might come out of the turnover dog house and take some reps from Ervin. One of them will end up leading the team in rushing but the one in second place will be Jeff Sims.

One More Small Prediction: 2023 Season Win/Loss Prediction

  1. Minnesota - Loss
  2. Colorado - Win
  3. Northern Illinois - Win
  4. Louisiana Tech - Win
  5. Michigan - Loss
  6. Illinois - Loss
  7. Northwestern - Win
  8. Purdue - Win
  9. Michigan State - Win
  10. Maryland - Loss
  11. Wisconsin - Loss
  12. Iowa - Win

Final Prediction: 7-5.

I have kept saying that I expected 6-6 from Nebraska. The two games I have them picked to win that give me the most anxiety are Michigan State and Iowa.

The two losses that if were flipped to wins that would surprise me the most would be Michigan (of course) and Illinois. There is just something about Bret Bielema that makes me think he is going to punish us for something that happened to him when he was in high school.

I am not as big of a believer in Wisconsin as most of the media is at this point. I think the offensive transition is going to be more difficult that they think but by the end of the season they will be hard to beat. If Maryland still have Tua Jr. then I think they win.

One Big Final Prediction:

If Nebraska finds a way to win tonight (August 31st) against Minnesota and it’s by stopping the run and running the ball then anything is on the table in my opinion for this season except for Michigan.

There is not a lot to lose tonight but a lot to gain.

If we can run the ball and stop the run against Minnesota then this could be a special season.