Matt Rhule returns to college football at Nebraska on Saturday, looking to take advantage of what has been one of the weaker divisions in all of Power Five football in the Big Ten West. His opponent in Minnesota and P.J. Fleck has certainly had an, um, interesting offseason with accusations of cult-like behavior in Minneapolis surrounding what had been one of the better turnarounds in all of college football in recent seasons.
There’s probably not a more wide-open division than the Big Ten’s JV side, and somehow Minny’s Tanner Morgan finally finished college. Let’s break it all down ahead of the Big Ten opener on Thursday night!
Nebraska: 48 overall, 58 offense, 37 defense
Minnesota: 30 overall, 61 offense, 7 defense
Arik Gilbert: TE - Arrested
Marcus Washington: WR Probable - Hand
Rahmir Johnson: RB Probable - Hamstring
Jameson Geers: TE Out - Leg
Against The Spread in 2022
Nebraska: 5-7 ATS
Minnesota: 7-6 ATS
Total in 2022
Nebraska: Over 4-8
Minnesota: Over 5-7-1
Current lines at DraftKings Sportsbook
Spread: Minnesota -7
Moneyline: Minnesota -278, Nebraska +225
Opening line: Minny -7.5
Opening total: 46.5
Rhule has made no secret that he wants to run a ball control offense with Georgia Tech transfer Jeff Sims under center, and that’s all Fleck has done his entire tenure at Minny. QB Athan Kaliakmanis replaces Morgan after his 17-year college career, though Kaliakmanis did start five games last season due to Morgan injuries, but RB Mo Ibrahim and three offensive linemen are gone as well.
Neither team seems positioned to strike quickly, and expect plenty of getting bogged down on the plus side of the field in this one. This is fine to play at 42.5 or better, and you’ll just need to root against overtime in what should be a speedy game on the clock but not on the field.