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Final Nebraska Football 2023 game-by-game predictions



Nebraska football
Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

As Nebraska football gets ready for fall camp, here are my final game-by-game predictions for the 2023 season.

The 2023 Nebraska football season is right around the corner. Fall camp starts on Monday and it seems like the perfect time to throw down some predictions.

Anyone who follows this website or subscribes to the Husker Big Red Youtube Channel knows that I believe Nebraska football will make a bowl game in 2023.

Matt Rhule is too good of a coach and despite a less-than-perfect roster, there is too much talent not to win at least six games. Of course, we could have said that in previous seasons too.

Hopefully, 2023 is the year Nebraska football starts earning back respect, as Rhule talked about at Big Ten Media Days. What will the final record look like? Will the Huskers go bowling?

Here is my final game-by-game prediction for the 2023 Nebraska football season:

Aug. 31 at Minnesota (L)

This game is hard for me to pick. The Gophers have been listed as the favorite by as many as eight points. The Gophers do have a new quarterback and graduated one of the best running backs in program history Mo Ibrahim, but the cupboard isn’t bare.

If this was game in Lincoln, I think I would predict Nebraska football to win. It’s going to be close and I think the Huskers will cover the spread but fall just short in the debut of Matt Rhule.

Sept. 9 at Colorado (W)

I expect Nebraska football and Colorado to be coming off of a loss. The Buffaloes open the season against TCU, the national runner-up from last season, so each team will be desperate for a win.

Colorado has totally revamped its roster and added some five-star talent. Shedeur Sanders should also be tren and test cycle one of the top quarterbacks in the Pac-12.

But Jeff Sims is a good quarterback too — one of the better ones in the Big Ten. I also think Nebraska football will win this game in the trenches.

Nebraska takes this one by double digits.

Sept. 16 Northern Illinois at Nebraska (W)

Rocky Lombardi will be back for another start at Lincoln Memorial Stadium. He started for Michigan State back in 2018 for the Spartans in a loss to Nebraska football.

The Huskies were 3-9 last season and while they played for the MAC title two years ago, Nebraska football should be able to control this game and win easily in Matt Rhule’s home opener.

Sept. 23 Louisiana Tech at Nebraska (W)

Another must-win game for Nebraska football if it wants to reach a bowl game. The Huskers’ loss at Georgia Southern a year ago was super costly in that regard.

Hank Bachmeier transferred from Boise State to be the Bulldogs starter. They were also 3-9 a season ago. Sonny Cumbie knows a thing or two about offense and Louisiana Tech should be decent on that side of the ball.

The defense was terrible last season and this is a game where Nebraska should own the line of scrimmage and win by at least two touchdowns.

Sept. 30 Michigan at Nebraska (L)

After two road games to open the season, Nebraska football will play three straight home games culminating in a huge tilt with the Wolverines to end September.

It would be great if the Huskers were 5-0 at this point in the season and I don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility. The first two games against Minnesota and Colorado feel like toss-ups.

I feel like Nebraska will split those first two. This is another game in which the crowd will be electric. It could also be the first game back for Jim Harbaugh if he is suspended.

The Wolverines are super deep and will probably have the best defense in the Big Ten. I see Nebraska football putting up a real fight and probably covering the spread, but losing a seven-point game or so.

Oct. 6 Nebraska at Illinois (L)

Heading to Champaign, Nebraska football is staring at an 0-3 record in the Big Ten, so I thought about predicting Rhule’s first upset as head coach.

The Fighting Illini have never had a home-field advantage, but they should have a pretty solid team once again. The defense should be good, even with Ryan Walters at Purdue, although the secondary was hit hard with NFL draft defections.

Illinois has two big-time talents on the defensive line and linebacker, plus Isaiah Williams is back at wide receiver. Illinois has a new quarterback in Luke Altmyer but also has to replace running back Chase Brown.

Nebraska could have easily won the game a year ago if Casey Thompson didn’t get hurt, and the Huskers nearly come away with a win, but fall short, dropping to 3-3 overall and 0-3 in the Big Ten.

Oct. 21 Northwestern at Nebraska (W)

I don’t want to look past Northwestern. However, this season is going to be a struggle. The Wildcats will have to rally around an interim head coach and while this game won’t be quite as ugly as the game in 2021, Nebraska football won’t have to sweat this one. It will win by 2-3 touchdowns and finally get the new coaching staff their first win in conference play.

Oct. 28 Purdue at Nebraska (W)

Aidan O’Connell was one of the better quarterbacks in recent history for the Boilermakers. He led Purdue to the Big Ten title game, but now the Boilermakers are starting over with a new head coach.

I believe in Walters and think Purdue will compete for a bowl game this season. The drop-off won’t be huge. But losing a really good head coach/QB combo isn’t ideal.

Nebraska football will have momentum after a convincing win over Northwestern and the Huskers move closer to bowl eligibility with a win over Purdue.

Nov. 4 Nebraska at Michigan State (W)

The first Big Ten road win for Matt Rhule will come over Mel Tucker and the Spartans, at least according to this game-by-game prediction for Nebraska football.

The Huskers should have won in East Lansing two years ago and this time around, they will exercise some demons. Michigan State will face Minnesota and Michigan in consecutive weeks before Nebraska, so they are going to get eat up.

Nebraska will be a couple of weeks away from the bye, plus the Huskers will be riding a two-game winning streak. Tony White calls a great game and the Huskers get a big-time win in East Lansing which makes them bowl-eligible.

Maryland at Nebraska (L)

Not everything is going to go perfectly for Nebraska this season and Maryland is one of the more difficult games on the schedule. A win here and Nebraska might still be in contention for the Big Ten West title with Iowa and Wisconsin still to play.

Taulia Tagovailoa is one of the best quarterbacks in the country and he’s going to have an All-Big Ten caliber season. Nebraska football will be riding high and Maryland is better than people realize.

Tagovailoa lost some weapons in the passing game, but Maryland add some pieces in the portal and returns one of the Big Ten’s best backs in Roman Hemby.

The Huskers drop a close one here.

Nov. 18 Nebraska at Wisconsin (L)

According to my predictions, Nebraska football will be 6-4 heading into Madison. The Badgers are very tough to beat in November at home. Braelon Allen and company will likely be competing for a Big Ten West title.

Luke Fickell has to be hoping he can keep the defense playing at a high level. They weren’t great last season, but they weren’t terrible either.

Tanner Mordecai could be the X-factor and Allen with a competent quarterback is scary. I think this will be close and competitive, but Wisconsin will pull it out late, maybe even in overtime.

Nov 24 Iowa at Nebraska (W)

It would be great to have a bowl game clinched going into Iowa. Beating the Hawkeyes here would mean a winning season and while the Hawkeyes will be better this season, Rhule beats Kirk Ferentz in his first try.

So many times over the years, the Huskers have been the better team against Iowa and have beaten themselves. It didn’t happen last season and even though it was a different staff, that win is going to carry over.

Nebraska fooball knows it can beat Iowa. That doubt won’t be in the back of their minds. Cade McNamara is a better quarterback but Jeff Sims will have a better day and the Huskers keep the Heroes Trophy in Lincoln.

Final record (7-4, 4-5) 

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Chris has worked in sports journalism since 2005 writing for multiple newspapers and websites such as the Bleacher Report and Fansided before starting Husker Big Red, A fan site for hardcore followers of the #Huskers offering articles, podcasts, videos and more exclusive content on all things Nebraska