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College Football Predictions: No. 36 Nebraska Cornhuskers

Transfers to Bolster Defense

Things are going to look much different for the Nebraska Cornhuskers due to a large number of incoming and outgoing transfers. Former Alabama defensive lineman Stephon Wynn and former TCU edge rusher Ochaun Mathis are among the highest rated transfers coming into the Big Ten while the team’s top outgoing transfer is starting quarterback Adrian Martinez.

There are 16 transfers leaving and 15 coming in, with seven of the top 10 transfers joining the Cornhuskers. That has resulted in Nebraska having the seventh-ranked class of transfers according to the 247sports.com database.

College football predictions: No. 36 Nebraska Cornhuskers
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images/AFP

Nebraska was second in the Big Ten in total offense but ranked seventh in total defense and eighth in scoring defense, so it should not come as a surprise that five of the top six incoming transfers are on the defensive side of the ball.

Nebraska (+1400) is tied for fourth in the odds to win the Big Ten title according to the sportsbook. The Cornhuskers (+275) trail only Wisconsin in the odds to win the Big Ten West Division title. Nebraska comes in at +20000 to win the national championship according to the college football picks.

Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • 2021 record: 3-9
  • 2021 conference record: 1-8
  • Head coach: Scott Frost
  • Odds to win conference title: +1200

Losing Martinez, who led the Cornhuskers in both passing and rushing in the last two seasons, will certainly change some things when Nebraska has the ball.

Martinez put up pretty good numbers as a four-year starting quarterback at Nebraska with 8,491 passing yards. 2,301 rushing yards and 80 combined touchdowns. However, a closer examination of his numbers show an 0-14 record against ranked teams with 10 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions in those contests.

Casey Thompson, who threw for 2,113 yards with 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions last season at Texas, is joined by former Florida State reserve QB Chubba Purdy.

They will be throwing to LSU transfer Trey Palmer (30 catches, 18 punt returns in 2021), Texas transfer Marcus Washington (18 catches for 277 yards) and New Mexico State transfer Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda (578 yards on 37 receptions). Offensive linemen Kevin Williams and Hunter Anthony come in from Northern Colorado and Oklahoma State.

Trey Palmer – Nebraska

• Palmer is a talented transfer from LSU. He’s a big play threat who is also an excellent return man. In his career he’s caught 41 passes for 458 yards 3 TDs & he also has a Kick & Punt Return TD. pic.twitter.com/4cr0AUonwS

— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) July 7, 2022

Rahmir Johnson, Jazquez Yant, Markese Stepp and Gabe Ervin are back after they led the Nebraska running backs in carries and yards a season ago. Four of the top five receivers have moved on but Omar Manning (26 catches, 380 yards) does return.

Center Cameron Jurgens is off to the NFL. However, starting offensive linemen Bryce Benhart, Turner Corcoran and Nouredin Nouili are back.

The Nebraska defense will have a different look thanks to an influx of Power 5 transfers. There are also some key returning players.

Leading tackler Luke Reimer (109 tackles), Nick Henrich (99 tackles), Quinton Newsome and Garrett Nelson (11.5 tackles for loss, five sacks) lead the returnees on defense.

The defense adds defensive lineman Stephon Wynn and safety Kaine Williams out of Alabama, edge rusher Ochaun Mathis from TCU (15½ sacks over the last three seasons), Arizona State cornerback Tommi Hill, Northern Iowa cornerback Omar Brown and Texas Tech defensive line Devin Drew.

Linebackers Wynden Ho’ohuli (Hawaii), Jackson Hannah (Tennessee) and Will Honas (Kansas State) are among the other key players to transfer out while defensive lineman Casey Rogers and Jordon Riley headed to Oregon. Another departure  was receiver William Nixon, who is now at Washington. A recent departure was cornerback Nadab Joseph.

2022 Nebraska Outlook

Don’t expect another 3-9 season at Nebraska. The Cornhuskers finished 2021 with six straight losses and went 2-4 against the spread in those games. The hope is that a reversal of fortune is coming soon for the Cornhuskers.

It is hard to say that this is a win or else season for coach Scott Frost, but it is getting close to that point. Nebraska has posted a losing record in each of his four seasons and have gone 10-35 in conference play. Nebraska hasn’t finished higher than fifth in the Big Ten West Division. This is a chance for the Cornhuskers to turn the page.

Nebraska went 2-4 in games decided by seven points or less so that record wasn’t a true indication of the talent on last year’s team.

The college football picks have the regular season expected win total set at 7½, with the odds even whether the Cornhuskers go over or under that total. A six- or seven-win season would be a major step up for Nebraska.

There are road trips and then there are road trips. Nebraska kicks off the season on Aug. 27 against Northwestern in Dublin, Ireland. That is followed with three straight home games, including a huge test against Oklahoma. The regular season ends against Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa. By the time those contests roll around, those who bet online should have a pretty good idea of what type of team this is.

2022 Nebraska Schedule

  • Aug. 27 vs Northwestern (at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland)
  • Sept. 3 vs North Dakota
  • Sept. 10 vs Georgia Southern
  • Sept. 17 vs Oklahoma
  • Oct. 1 vs Indiana
  • Oct. 7 at Rutgers
  • Oct. 15 at Purdue
  • Oct. 29 vs Illinois
  • Nov. 5 vs Minnesota
  • Nov. 12 at Michigan
  • Nov. 19 vs Wisconsin
  • Nov. 25 at Iowa

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