Saturday, September 19, 2009
Virginia Tech or Nebraska: Who needs it more?
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Both Virginia Tech and Nebraska need wins today to reassert themselves on college football's national landscape. The Hokies have fallen out of the national title talk after losing to Alabama in their season opener, though they haven't lost sight of that goal, and Nebraska -- a storied program where a 9-3 season was grounds for dismissal -- is trying to get back to its glory days under Bo Pelini.
So who needs it more?
Nebraska is the team we know the least about right now. The Cornhuskers have looked good against overmatched opponents Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State, but this will be their first true gauge as to how far they've come in just Pelini's second season. The Huskers were good enough to reel off four straight wins to finish the season last year, including a bowl win against Clemson, but they weren't good enough to beat the Hokies at home last September. And Nebraska, the program that has five national championships to its name, was 0-3 against ranked opponents last year. In fact, Nebraska hasn't beaten a ranked opponent since 2006. According to the Associated Press Top 25 rankings, No. 19 Nebraska is looking up at No. 13 Virginia Tech, and therefore they have more to prove. A win over the Hokies would mark the highest ranked team Nebraska has defeated away from home since a win over No. 6 Tennessee in the 2000 Fiesta Bowl. Frank Beamer says "Nebraska is back." Well, we'll see.
The Hokies, on the other hand, need this game to maintain and validate their status as a top-15 team. Alabama's defense is going to make a lot of offenses look subpar this fall, and the Hokies shouldrack up a lot of yards against an inferior opponent like Marshall. Nebraska is the most fitting opponent to reveal the true identity of Virginia Tech's offense. In addition to confirming Virginia Tech's status on the national level, it would also give the Hokies momentum and confidence heading into next weekend's key game against Miami.