Nebraska Football: Bill Busch thinks 8-9 wins is likely in 2023

Nebraska Cornhuskers interim head coach Mickey Joseph and defensive coordinator Bill Busch smile(Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports)
Nebraska Cornhuskers interim head coach Mickey Joseph and defensive coordinator Bill Busch smile(Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports) /

When new Nebraska football coach Matt Rhule didn’t retain Bill Busch, I’ll admit that I was super bummed. What Busch did with Nebraska’s defense in the last eight games of the year was miraculous.

I felt that he deserved a spot on Rhule’s staff. Somewhere. Anywhere. I know many of you agree.

It just wasn’t meant to be.

But what was seemingly a loss for the football program turned out to be a big win for fans who listen to sports talk radio. Busch has co-hosted “Early Break with Sip and Jake” from 6-8 am each weekday on 93.7 The Ticket in Lincoln for the past few months.

Once again, Busch has the magic touch. He took a really good radio show and made it great.

Will he return to coaching? No idea. But I’ll say this: the man was born to be on the radio. He’s that good.

Today, Busch made some comments about the new ESPN FPI ratings

The ESPN FPI predicts Nebraska football to be right around 6 wins in 2023.

Busch strongly disagrees. Have a listen:

He’s convinced Nebraska will win 8-9 games this year.


Busch said, “The first thing…I feel that there is good leadership now that took over some talent and brought in some more talent. But the biggest thing is the schedule.”

Regarding the latter, Nebraska’s strength of schedule is 106.

On the former, we can read between the lines. Nebraska now has good leadership in place. meaning they didn’t before. Busch has worked for Tom Osborne and Urban Meyer and Dave Aranda. He won a national championship at LSU.

He knows good coaching and leadership.

And based on that defensive turnaround last year, it’s obvious Busch has a bit of good coaching and leadership in himself, too.

To hear Busch (who was not welcomed back by Rhule!) praise the new staff speaks volumes about his character. Major props to him for that.

But that wasn’t what stood out to me. He almost said something else that meant the most to me as a University of Nebraska alumn and a Husker fan.

Did you hear it? Go back and listen. Pay close attention.

At the seven-second mark, he starts out, “I’ve said it before. We’r…they’ll…they…Nebraska will win 8-9 games.”


Good catch, Bill. But it was too late. We know you wanted to say, “We.” 

Even though he’s not formally involved in the program anymore, I love that Bill Busch thinks of Nebraska football as “we.” “We are going to win 8-9 games.” He’s a Husker. And because his heart is invested in this program, he wants Matt Rhule, the staff, and the players to do well. He believes they will.

I could argue that Mickey Joseph and Busch did a year’s worth of work on the culture and mentality of Nebraska football in the 3 months before Rhule arrived. He believes Nebraska will succeed because he helped kick-start the new staff’s rebuild.

His 8-9 game win prediction is undoubtedly rooted in a deep knowledge of the game, leadership, and experience with current players. His analysis was spot on.

It’s likely that “we” arose from his perspective as a coach who invested everything he had in this program.

I also can’t help but wonder if a part of his prediction comes from the weary, devoted heart of a fan who’s ready for his beloved school to finally win.

It’s impossible to know if the Nebraska football team can pull that off.

But man alive, I hope he’s right.