The 2023 season is just around the corner and the country is gearing up for another great season.
For Nebraska, it’s the first year of a new era in Lincoln with Matt Rhule taking over as head coach for the football program. 2023 offers many different challenges that will show the Cornhusker faithful what Rhule brings to the table.
The 2023 schedule gives many different storylines and implications for every opponent.
Here are the most important games for Nebraska in 2023:
Most Important Games for Nebraska in the 2023 Season
5. At Wisconsin (Week 12)
There is a lot to say about the off-season for both Nebraska and Wisconsin. Both went out and hired top-name head coaches. Rhule and Luke Fickell get to face off in year one in Madison in a late-season matchup.
Last season, Nebraska fell short, 15-14, to the Badgers at home despite leading 14-3 going into the fourth quarter. History isn’t on Nebraska’s side either as they haven’t won in Madison since 1966 and Wisconsin is on a nine-game winning streak in the series.
It begs the question. Can Nebraska get over the hump and get the road victory or will history repeat itself in Madison?
4. Michigan (Week 5)
This Week 5 matchup between Nebraska and Michigan is important for not only Nebraska but Michigan. The game in Lincoln will serve as the Wolverines’ first test of 2023 and Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh’s first game back from his four-week suspension.
Michigan will serve as a tough matchup for Nebraska will all of the star power on the Wolverines side. Junior quarterback JJ McCarthy and senior running back Blake Corum lead a top offense in the Big Ten.
In 2022, Michigan handled Nebraska at home 34-3 but Nebraska held them to only 24 points going into the 4th. The last time Nebraska played Michigan at home was in 2021 when it went down to the wire. Unfortunately for the Cornhuskers, Michigan got the win 31-28.
Nebraska could spark an upset in Matt Rhule’s first matchup against one of the perennial powerhouses in the Big Ten.
3. Iowa (Week 13)
Iowa and Nebraska have been playing on Black Friday every year since Nebraska joined the Big Ten back in 2011. The Hero’s Game has been turning into a real rivalry after Nebraska ended a seven-game losing streak against Iowa last season.
For the past 10 seasons, Iowa has dominated the rivalry, winning eight out of the last 10 matchups.
This year’s game is very important for both sides as it could play a big role in how the Big Ten West finishes. It could be also Nebraska’s first chance to defeat Iowa at Memorial Stadium since 2011.
With Nebraska finally ending the losing streak last season, it will give them even more of a reason to keep the trophy in Lincoln.
2. At Colorado (Week 2)
The Colorado Buffaloes were all over the off-season headlines when they hired Deion Sanders, former head coach at Jackson State and NFL Hall of Fame member.
Colorado has a loaded schedule in 2023 including a renewal of the historical rivalry between Nebraska in Week 2. The rivalry dates back to 1898 but the two programs played every year from 1948 to 2010.
The last time Nebraska played the Buffaloes was back in 2019 in Boulder when Nebraska lost in a heartbreaker 34-31 in overtime.
Can Nebraska spoil Coach Sanders’ first game in Boulder or will Colorado extend their win streak over Nebraska to three? It will be decided on Sept. 7 at 10:00 am.
1. At Minnesota (Week 1)
Rhule’s first-ever game as head coach at Nebraska would of course be the most important game of the season. Unfortunately, his first appearance will be in Minneapolis against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Winning or losing this game will set the tone for the season, especially against a division opponent on a Thursday night.
Head Coach PJ Fleck is entering his seventh season at Minnesota and is one of the most experienced coaches in the Big Ten West. A win for the Cornhuskers in this game could make a difference in the expectations of the Cornhusker faithful.
The Huskers have a lot to prove and this opener could help convey what Matt Rhule has to offer at Nebraska.