Attention all therapists: you will want to watch this game. Ohio State has an identity crisis.
In ideal situations, a team will be 5-0 as the midpoint of the college football season approaches. The team will have lost almost no players do minimal injuries, and one quarterback will have anchored the team with consistent performances.
Well, isn't that nice. This season has been anything but ideal for the Buckeyes, who sit at 3-2 and are staring at their first conference road game of the season.
Every freshman or sophomore on the team remembers his road game against Wisconsin or Michigan. The Buckeyes have been successful on the road, but some venues present an especially difficult challenge, making the experience memorable. That will be the same in Lincoln.
Nebraska's vibrant fan base is eagerly awaiting the Cornhuskers' first home game in Big Ten-era history. They want to prove that Wisconsin does not have the most formidable sea of red in the conference. They want to show that they belong in the conference after a first-week loss to Wisconsin.
But both teams will have to find themselves before they can show the other team the door. Nebraska has had a solid year so far, but a loss to Wisconsin has the Cornhuskers hungry for their first conference win.
Major conferences are truly isolated from each other. Most early season games are against mid-major conference teams to allow top programs to establish a starting lineup and a rhythm before the conference season begins. As a result, it is often difficult to gauge how a team will adapt to new opponents.
Meanwhile, the Buckeyes have had countless problems this season. The team has used two quarterbacks, meaning starter Braxton Miller only had one game to get acclimated to his role before facing Michigan State at home in the Big Ten opener. Now, Ohio State must adapt to life without a couple of the starters the team thought it would get back after the first five weeks.
Ohio State faces the possibility of an 0-2 conference start for the first time in…well, a while. Nebraska wants to right the ship before a conference title and BCS bowl bid are out of the picture. A rough start to conference integration could be a blow to future recruiting.
The Buckeyes need to learn how to travel with their problems. The only road trip so far ended badly, and this one has that kind of potential as well. Memorial Stadium will be loud for the first home game outside of the Big 12 in quite some time.
The Buckeyes absolutely need a win, but even the staunchest fans are beginning to question what this team is capable of. A win here would be a nice surprise and a huge relief to Buckeye Nation.
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