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Nebraska Football: Will the Cornhuskers Make a Bowl in 2022?

Nebraska Football: Scott Frost Gaining, Retaining More Elite Talent Than Seen in Decades

The 2022 college football season is an important one for coach Scott Frost at Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are just 15-29 overall and 10-25 in Big Ten play since Frost took over in '18. Although last year's 3-9 record was unlucky, the disappointing mark prompted a major staff overhaul. Frost may not get another season at his alma mater with another losing mark, so the combination of a staff overhaul and a couple of key additions through the transfer portal has to be enough to get to six wins.

Nebraska hasn't played in a bowl in five years, which is the program's longest drought since it missed seven in a row from 1955-61. Can the Cornhuskers finally break through under Frost and get to the postseason? Athlon's editors debate whether or not Nebraska will reach a bowl or fall short in '22:

Nebraska Football: Will the Cornhuskers Make a Bowl in 2022?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Yes, I'll take Nebraska to get to (just barely) get to six wins and reach the postseason. The Cornhuskers were not as bad as last year's 3-9 record suggested. Frost's team lost eight games by one score and all nine defeats came by 10 points or less. Some bad luck, poor special teams and uneven play at times on both sides of the ball all added up to a disappointing 3-9 mark. However, I think the staff reset - especially new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple - will pay dividends right away. Also, both sides of the ball picked up key transfers in Casey Thompson (QB) and Ochaun Mathis (DL). With a game against Northwestern in Ireland to open '22, along with North Dakota and Georgia Southern in the following weeks, Nebraska has a good shot to start 3-0. If they can reach that mark, Big Ten games versus Rutgers, Indiana and Illinois provides a path to six. 

Mark Ross (@AthlonMarkR)

Scott Frost desperately needs to lead the Cornhuskers to a bowl game and if it's going to happen it's because they win all the games they are supposed to. The way I see it, there are six winnable games on the schedule – Northwestern, North Dakota, Georgia Southern, Indiana, Rutgers, Illinois. Win those and a bowl game is pretty much locked up. The problem is that the opener against the Wildcats will take place in Dublin, Ireland, and while both teams will have to deal with the long trip overseas and the unfamiliar surroundings, Nebraska is facing more pressure to get off to a 1-0 start. In fact, winning the first three is almost a must because Oklahoma comes to Lincoln after that opening stretch and the schedule gets significantly tougher come November. The Huskers close with Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, and two of those (Wolverines, Hawkeyes) are on the road. So Frost and company really need to win the games they should this season, otherwise the matchup with the Sooners and an Oct. 15 road trip to Purdue become toss-up contests that could have bowl eligibility riding on either (or both), and that's not the scenario Husker fans want to see develop.

So will the Huskers get the six wins they need? They were seemingly snake-bitten last season, suffering through numerous close, agonizing losses. Even though their margin for error is razor-thin, I'll say a few more bounces go Nebraska's way in 2022, which means the bowl forecast will finally call for Frost.

Ben Weinrib (@benweinrib)
It was said so often last year to the point it became cliché, but Nebraska really was the most talented three-win team in college football last season. They outscored their opponents by 63 points on the season and had a point differential of zero against Big Ten teams despite going 1-8 in conference. It’s very unlikely that the Cornhuskers will go winless again in one-score games, but head coach Scott Frost’s consistent trend of losing close games is beyond concerning at this point. Nebraska will also have to thread a tough schedule that includes games against Oklahoma in Week 4, and a rough three-game finish — at Michigan, against Wisconsin, and at Iowa. The Huskers will have to bank on transfer quarterback Casey Thompson clicking early because they will likely need to win at least four games in the first half to have a shot at bowl eligibility. Nebraska will likely get there — but just barely. And there’s almost no margin for error.

J.P. Scott (@TheJPScott)
Nebraska starts its season with three games that, even for a program that went 3-9 last season, should be guaranteed wins. After that, there are five teams on the schedule that I believe are better than the Huskers in terms of both talent and coaching: Oklahoma, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa. I’ll be surprised if they get a win in any one of those games.

Bowl eligibility comes down to the four coin-toss games on Nebraska’s schedule: Indiana, Rutgers, Purdue, and Illinois. The Huskers need to win three of those to go bowling. Given the coaching upgrades Scott Frost made this offseason at key positions, I think they’ll be good enough to go 3-1 in those games and finish the year bowl eligible at 6-6.

Chip Minnich (@ChipMinnich)
Yes, Nebraska will make a bowl in 2022, but it will be critical for the Cornhuskers to get off to a good start. The first three games, at a glance, are winnable and should get Nebraska off to a solid beginning for the season. If Nebraska is still not at the magic threshold of six wins before November, it may be too late for Scott Frost.

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