Nebraska has some serious firepower returning in 2013 and will look to make up for a couple disappointing losses from 2012. The Huskers won't play Wisconsin in the regular season, but here's a very accurate replay of last year's match-up. Let's look at this year's schedule. Can you also find the hidden and inadvertent Hüsker Dü song title?
8/31 Wyoming: Well, the Cowboys' defense was 117th in the nation against the run last year. Nebraska's Taylor Martinez and Ameer Abdullah rushed for a combined 4,008 yards in 2012. Advantage Nebraska.
9/7 Southern Miss: How in the world does a team go from 12-2 to 0-12?!?!?! First-year coach Todd Monken used to be the OC at Oklahoma State, so the Golden Eagles will look to bring back the success from 2011, and some big yards in the passing game, but it isn't going to happen this year.
9/14 UCLA: A 36-30 loss to UCLA is one that Nebraska will look to avenge. The Bruins are predicted to win the PAC-12 South, but will there be a win against the Huskers on the way into the PAC-12 season? Without RB Johnathan Franklin, it's going to be a difficult task for the Bruins.
9/21 South Dakota State: The teams in the Dakotas have been pretty good as of late. Two of SDSU's losses in 2012 came against eventual FCS champion North Dakota State. However, they lost by two touchdowns the last time they played an FBS opponent. That opponent? Kansas. Yes, Kansas. It was the Jayhawks' only win in 2012. I don't see a Huskers team, which is much better than Kansas, losing to a bunch of Jackrabbits.
10/12 @ Purdue: Something I learned today is that Nebraska and Purdue haven't played since 1958, and it was a Purdue win. However, the Boilermakers are going to be right in the middle of what could be the toughest schedule in the B1G. They have no sure things, even playing teams like Cincinnati and Indiana State. Look for Nebraska to pile on and make Purdue just hope to regroup and start Darrell Hazell's second season in '14.
10/26 @ Minnesota: Where will Philip Nelson be in his progression as a QB? He should be better than he was last year, and he wasn't terrible, just very inexperienced. Unfortunately, I don't think the Gophers are going to be able to hang around in this one. The Huskers have beaten Goldy by 27 and 24 points the last two years. The Gophers D may actually be decent, but not good enough to stop the Huskers.
11/2 Northwestern: The chances of Nebraska being 7-0 heading into this game are extremely good. UCLA is the one team that could trip up the Huskers before this November match-up at Memorial. That being said, Northwestern beat Nebraska the last time they met in Lincoln. And, it was only a three point win for Big Red in Evanston last year. Northwestern is that team that just knows how to get under your skin.
11/9 @ Michigan: I was at the game in 2011 when Taylor Martinez had his ass handed to him the entire game; it was a beautiful thing. Ameer Abdullah went from 150 rushing yards in all of 2011 to 101 rushing against the Wolverines in 2012, and became the workhorse in place of Rex Burkhead. Last year's performance by Michigan in Lincoln is something that still keeps this Michigan fan awake at night. But, Brady Hoke will remain undefeated at home in 2013.
11/16 Michigan State: I enjoy the triangle of hate that is made up of Nebraska, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. They've been quite entertaining. Nebraska blew out the Spartans in 2011, but won by only four last year. I think Sparty's gonna break the seal on the road this year, even though QB Andrew Maxwell needs to make some improvements.
11/23 @ Penn State: Nebraska needed to come from behind to win last year. The Nittany Lions will be starting a freshman quarterback this year, so don't expect them to be up on the Huskers like last year. Much like 2012, the Lions will probably lean heavily on Zach Zwinak who had 141 rushes and one TD. Nebraska will lean on Penn State having three turnovers again, and another 220 combined rushing yards from Martinez and Abdullah (although neither rushed for TDs; those were left for Imani Cross).
11/29 Iowa: Nebraska hasn't been able to blow out the Hawkeyes so far. They've outscored Iowa only 33-13 in their two B1G match-ups; yes, that's winning, but not necessarily winning definitively against an Iowa team that should be easily handled. Although Nebraska will probably win, I'm not putting any money on it.
There is a very good chance that Nebraska could finish the regular season at 11-1, although I think 10-2 is more likely. That being said, there are three toss-up games on this schedule: UCLA, Northwestern, and Iowa. There's no way that the Huskers will lose to all three of those teams, but don't be surprised if one bites 'em.