Predicting 2023 for Nebraska Athletics — and beyond

Luke Mullin and Amie Just discuss Nebraska football and take a look ahead to what 2023 might mean for Nebraska in the latest episode of Life in the Red. 

Happy New Year, Nebraska.

This new year, I’m starting a new tradition for myself at the Journal Star: a crystal ball of sorts to look at the year ahead.

Of course, we know I can’t actually predict the future — I mean, I wish. And I don’t have it in the budget to swing for an actual crystal ball, so an old Magic 8 ball will be aiding me in the prognostications for 2023.

Just to be clear: Don’t bet the family farm on the following. This is the future, according to the answers I received from questions I asked a Magic 8 ball.

The Nebraska men go on a tear to kickstart the year, winning three straight over Michigan State, Minnesota and Illinois to get within one win of Fred Hoiberg’s best season. The Huskers finish the month with a 6-3 record. … The Husker women stumble a bit out of the gate as they continue to adjust to life without Allison Weidner, losing at Indiana before bouncing back against Rutgers and Penn State. Nebraska women’s hoops finish the tough January with a 4-3 record. … Football finishes out its staff with Matt Rhule poaching his former Panthers staff by hiring Joe Dailey to coach the receivers and Rob Dvoracek to coach the linebackers. … In other sports, in the national championship game. … The New Orleans Pelicans continue their reign atop the Western Conference and the Celtics continue dominating the East. … Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins win this year’s WWE Royal Rumble. … After his deportation in 2022, Novak Djokovic wins the Australian Open.

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Wisconsin’s Chucky Hepburn forces OT with a buzzer-beater on Feb. 11, but Nebraska pulls off the upset. … The Husker men use the majority-home slate to their benefit and end out the season at PBA going 4-1 at home in February and drop the two road contests with one regular season game left. … The Husker women dominate Michigan State on National Girls and Women in Sports Day, kicking off a five-game winning streak before facing Iowa. Against Iowa, the Husker women come close to knocking off Caitlin Clark and Co., but can’t get it done in the end in front of a nearly sold out crowd at PBA. … Cameron Lenhardt, Ethan Nation and David Borchers sign with Nebraska on National Signing Day. … Baseball goes 4-3 to open the season against San Diego and South Alabama … Softball begins its tough slate going 4-1 at the Houston Invitational, 3-2 at the Clearwater Invitational and 4-1 at the Troy Cox Classic. … In other sports, the Philadelphia Eagles win Super Bowl LVII over the Buffalo Bills. The Eagles advanced to the Super Bowl after beating the San Francisco 49ers and the Bills won the AFC Championship game over the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Husker men’s basketball team finishes the regular season with an 18-13 record and wins one game at the Big Ten tournament — helping them earn an at-large bid for the NIT. After a successful season, Nebraska retains Hoiberg. … After ending the regular season with a 21-8 record, the Husker women advance to the Big Ten semifinals before losing to regular season champ Ohio State. The Huskers earn a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament and beat No. 12 seed South Dakota State before falling in the second round to UCLA. … Sam Griesel, Derrick Walker, Alexis Markowski and Jaz Shelley earn All-Big Ten honors. … The Huskers softball team continues its dominance on the road, going 4-1 in the Wildcat Invitational and 3-1 in the Wichita State round-robin. They shred Omaha in their home opener, 10-2 … Baseball finally returns home and thwacks Northern Colorado in the March 7 home opener, 12-2. … In non-Husker sports, the men’s Final Four field for April will be Purdue, Houston, Kansas and Gonzaga. … The women’s Final Four field for March/April will be South Carolina, LSU, Ohio State and Stanford.

Softball cruises to another dominant month, helping them briefly lead the Big Ten standings before stumbling against Northwestern. … The young baseball team experiences midseason growing pains, losing all three to Michigan. They bounce back against Omaha and Northwestern. … Nebraska volleyball plays Louisville in a spring scrimmage in Kearney. … Football’s spring scrimmage is pretty basic, as Rhule and Co. don’t want to give too much away. … Trey Palmer is the first Husker off the board in the NFL draft, taken in the fifth round by the Green Bay Packers. Three are drafted: Palmer, Ochaun Mathis (sixth) and Garrett Nelson (seventh) … In other sports, Jon Rahm wins his first green jacket at the Masters after needing a playoff with 2022 champ Scottie Scheffler. … South Carolina wins yet another national women’s title and Houston beats Purdue in overtime to end the wildest March Madness we’ve seen in years.

Softball earns the No. 2 seed again for the Big Ten tournament and cruises through the quarterfinals and the semifinals to face No. 1 Northwestern. Hometown kid Abbie Squier wins it on an RBI single to give NU back-to-back tourney wins. Nebraska hosts the Regional and advances to the Super Regional before falling to Mississippi State… Baseball squeaks into the Big Ten baseball tournament, but just barely. They win their first-round matchup, but lose in the quarterfinals. … After securing a solid NIL deal while home in Australia, Jaz Shelley decides to stay at Nebraska for another year. … In other sports, the Kentucky Derby has another long-shot horse win. … Juan Pablo Montoya wins his third Indianapolis 500.

The College World Series goes on without a hitch, and without Nebraska for the 18th straight season. LSU lives up to the preseason hype and runs roughshod over the SEC in Jay Johnson’s second season. Others rounding out the field: Tennessee, Stanford, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Texas and UCLA. LSU wins its seventh title, beating Texas in the process. … In other sports, the Pelicans win their first Western Conference title and lose to the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals, 4-2. … The Colorado Avalanche hoist the Stanley Cup in back-to-back seasons, beating the Boston Bruins, 4-1.

Matt Rhule gives a lengthy opening statement at Big Ten Media Days, and does not vow to make the Big Ten modify itself to Nebraska. He, does, though, bring up how special it is for him to be here, given his Penn State upbringing. The other Big Ten coaches say that Rhule’s a good fit for Nebraska and that he gives the Huskers a good chance to succeed. … In other sports, Tadej Pogačar wins his third Tour de France in four years, while the second Tour de France Femmes is won by Marianne Vos. … The first Wimbledon without Queen Elizabeth II goes on as normal. Simona Halep wins her second title, while Djokovic repeats for a fourth year.

Nebraska quarterback Jeff Sims shines in his debut for the Huskers against Minnesota, throwing for 350 yards — much of which goes to Marcus Washington – and runs for 65 yards. Still, the Golden Gophers have the Huskers’ number for the fifth year in a row and NU loses Rhule’s opener. … Volleyball opens with a stronger nonconference schedule, facing six teams that made the NCAA Tournament in 2022. Nebraska will run with Kennedi Orr as its starting setter over freshman Bergen Reilly. John Cook will tinker with the starting lineup with the outsides to see what he likes best between Lindsay Krause, Ally Batenhorst, Whitney Lauenstein, Hayden Kubik, Florida transfer Merritt Beason and incoming freshman Harper Murray.

In a much-ballyhooed game between Nebraska and Colorado, the Huskers roll into Boulder and steal a win in the last second with a Sims-to-Alante Brown touchdown to put a damper on Deion Sanders’ first home game at Folsom Field. … Nebraska returns to the friendly confines of Memorial Stadium and beats Northern Illinois and Louisiana Tech before losing to Michigan in a decisive manner. … Nebraska volleyball plays Creighton in a sold-out Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Huskers win, 3-1. … Nebraska basketball takes the stage at Media Days. The men’s team is in the middle of a rebuild after losing their three leaders in Sam Griesel, Derrick Walker and Emmanuel Bandoumel.

Nebraska gets its fourth win of the season over Northwestern after Anthony Grant runs for nearly 200 yards, but Nebraska loses its homecoming game to Purdue to put the Huskers at 4-4 on the year. … Nebraska volleyball loses to Wisconsin again on the road in Madison for NU’s second loss of the season. … In other sports, the Los Angeles Dodgers win the World Series over the Houston Astros, 4-3.

Nebraska wins its fifth and final game against Maryland after Myles Farmer picks off the Terps twice and Jeff Sims and Co. score four touchdowns. … The Huskers lose at Wisconsin in a close game that’s run-heavy due to Mother Nature dumping snow all weekend. … Iowa gets revenge after Nebraska played spoiler last year, winning 35-21. .. Even though Nebraska is 5-7, the Huskers make a bowl game because, well, there are far too many bowl games. The Huskers are in the Quick Lane Bowl against Bowling Green, scheduled for late December. … Nebraska volleyball remains in the AVCA Top 10, and even though Wisconsin already has the Big Ten title locked up, the Huskers, finally beat the Badgers for the first time since 2017. … The men’s basketball nonconference schedule is much easier compared to 2022, and the women’s slate is harder. Though, both teams open up against UNO and cruise to victory by at least 30 points.

Nebraska volleyball earns the fourth and final No. 1 seed, hosting for the umpeenth time. In the first round, they’re playing a team you’ve probably never heard of and win with ease in three sets. … They face Kansas State in the second round, winning 3-1. … Nebraska wins a thriller in the Sweet Sixteen against Marquette before No. 2 seed Pittsburgh upsets the Huskers on their home floor in the Elite Eight. … The football team is welcomed to Detroit by a winter snowstorm that rivals the one of 2022, but the game inside Ford Field goes on as scheduled. The Huskers win due to Grant’s heroics. … Nebraska’s men lose to Creighton in a sold-out Pinnacle Bank arena, but the women avenge their 2022 loss and beat the Bluejays a few days later. … No. 1 quarterback prospect Dylan Raiola signs with Nebraska. The future is bright.

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