Ranking Nebraska’s odds in their last 6 games and chances of a bowl berth
Somehow, Nebraska mustered just enough offense to earn a key road win at Rutgers. The win lifted the Cornhuskers to 3-3 midway through the season. Considering Nebraska hasn’t bowled since 2016, getting 6 wins would be a positive step for the program.
What does the remaining slate look like? It’s a challenge. Nebraska will likely be overlooked in most, if not all, of their remaining games.
Let’s take a look at Nebraska’s last 6 games and the Huskers’ chances in each. We’ll rank each opponent from 1-6 based on how likely the Huskers will win.
1) Illinois – October 29
The Illini are flying high after a 9-6 win over Iowa. The Illinois defense plays the lights. They allow only 8 points per game and gain confidence every week.
Bret Bielema is pushing all the right buttons and has his team in contention in the B1G West. The October 29 tilt at Lincoln will be a big deal. Both teams will begin a bye week.
The reason we like Nebraska’s chances here is simple. Home game against a team that hasn’t had success against the Huskers until recently. Yes, the Illini won the first game of last year’s season in Week 0. But that was against Scott Frost. Everyone beat Frost.
Nebraska is expected to continue its momentum under current head coach Mickey Joseph. The Huskers proved against Indiana that they were more than prepared after a bye week. They’ll have another one before Illinois comes to town. There will be a lot of urgency. The local audience will be loud. Expect the home team to play with fire and energy. Nebraska will need this one to access bowl eligibility.
2) Minnesota – November 5
The Gophers are licking their wounds after losing a comeback tilt to Purdue last week. Minnesota definitely missed out on star running back Mohamed Ibrahim. It remains to be seen how the Gophers fare when he returns.
Minnesota is at the heart of the B1G West race. The November 5 meeting in Lincoln will surely have high stakes. Again, the Huskers and their home crowd should help provide an edge.
It’s hard to predict what Vegas’ line on the game will be. The Gophers could be a short favorite. But again, the Huskers will be battling for bowl eligibility. They’ll have some life, especially if they beat Illinois a week earlier. With the end-of-season slate looking tough, the Huskers will need to be at their best against PJ Fleck’s side.
3) Wisconsin – November 19
When Wisconsin DA Chris McIntosh gave Paul Chryst a pink slip after the Badgers’ blowout loss to Illinois, it took many by surprise. But the Badgers, under interim coach Jim Leonhard, responded with a 42-7 loss to Northwestern the following week.
He certainly caught everyone’s eye in the Big Ten. The Badgers were coming off back-to-back beatings and looked like a wandering team lost in the woods.
Leonhard should provide a spark for the second half of the season. Similar to what Joseph plans for Nebraska. The Nov. 19 showdown in Lincoln is expected to have bowl implications. Possibly implications for the West Division as well. Again, the upside is that Nebraska is playing at home in front of 90,000 fans at Memorial Stadium.
The Huskers haven’t beaten Wisconsin since 2012. The Badgers have won 8 straight in the series. For the Huskers to reach a bowl, they’ll likely need to break through and end Wisconsin’s streak.
4) @ Iowa – November 25
The Hawkeyes have been anemic on offense. Their performance against Illinois was beyond embarrassing.
But Iowa, like Wisconsin, has Nebraska’s number. They’ve won 7 straight in the series and haven’t lost to their border rivals since 2014. Iowa owned the line of scrimmage and their rushing offense stabbed Nebraska multiple times.
Nebraska will have to resolve its offensive line issues to have a chance. Yes, Iowa has been on the fight bus, but everyone knows they’ll be ready the day after Thanksgiving against their hated rival. Expect another slugfest, where turnovers and a game or 2 here and there decide the outcome. At least former Hawkeyes kicker Keith Duncan won’t be there. Duncan ended 2 of Iowa’s 7-game winning streak with game-winning kicks.
5) @ Purdue – October 15
The Boilers are on the rise. They’ve won 2 straight on the road and look like the team to beat in B1G West right now.
Getting QB Aidan O’Connell back and healthy was key. He missed the Boilers’ fragile 28-26 win over Florida Atlantic, but came back to lead a 20-10 win over Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Purdue comes in as a 13.5-point favorite on visiting Nebraska. It will take a monumental effort for the Huskers to escape victory at West Lafayette.
The Boilermakers have won 3 of the last 4 games in the series and head coach Jeff Brohm is moving things along after tight losses to Penn State and Syracuse. Saturday’s game will go a long way in determining the Western Division champion.
6) @ Michigan – November 12
The Wolverines are buzzing at 6-0. Admittedly, sometimes he was not dominant 6-0. But Michigan, in their home stadium, is a ridiculously big order for this Nebraska team.
Nebraska will have to work before and after this game. The Wolverines and their staff are on a different level of talent than Nebraska right now. Blake Corum is in the Heisman discussion. JJ McCarthy is the real deal at QB.
Michigan will likely be on an undefeated collision course with Ohio State. Don’t expect the Wolverines to stomp their feet.
Mickey Joseph did a phenomenal job of righting the ship after a disastrous start. But the Huskers still need help to be bowl eligible.
They are probably underdogs in 5 of the last 6 games. Bowl eligibility is a long way off. The offense – especially the offensive line – will have to be better. The defense will have to do its part.
But from what we’ve learned over the past 3 weeks, you can’t count Nebraska. It is a group that is reborn under Joseph and his team.