No. 6 Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-8 overall, 2-7 B1G)
Nebraska is going through a huge change with the program. I think they have a bright future under Matt Rhule, but the first year or so will be a struggle.
After a 4-8 campaign in 2022, I think the Cornhuskers are in line for another 4-8 season. I have them at that mark with a 2-7 record in the Big Ten. Nebraska’s wins should come against Northern Illinois, Louisiana Tech, Northwestern, and Michigan State.
Any coaching change is a big adjustment for a program. To expect everything to improve in the first season is unreasonable. I don’t think you can make a team better that quickly. Nebraska’s schedule isn’t that tough, but their road games are against Minnesota, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan State, and No. 19 Wisconsin. All of those games will be tough ones for the Cornhuskers.
I actually think Nebraska could take a step backward at quarterback. Casey Thompson has been replaced by Jeff Sims. Sims comes from Georgia Tech where he threw for 1,115 yards, five touchdowns, and three interceptions in 2022. His damage is mostly done in the run game, but Sims only averaged 3.5 yards per carry last year.
Sims’ help looks sparse as well. Anthony Grant and Gabe Ervin Jr. return at running back, but neither player averaged over 4.7 yards per carry. Nebraska also lost four out of the top five players in receiving yards from 2022.
The Cornhuskers were bad on defense last season. They gave up 28.5 points per game, which ranked No. 75 in the country. Nebraska is getting back three out of the top five players in tackles and the top three players in interceptions. But they are losing three out of the top four players in sacks.
A bad team in 2022 might get slightly worse this season. I think they downgraded at quarterback and just don’t have the talent needed to compete in the Big Ten.