This Wednesday is big. The #1 team in nation plays the #2. All summer we thought those rankings would belong to #1 Stanford and #2 Nebraska. Now we are three days from the match, and after a pretty topsy turvy few weeks, I think the coaches will vote for #1 Nebraska and #2 Stanford.
The coaches are voting as I write. Tomorrow afternoon the new poll is released and what actually happens in those rankings probably only matters for one week. Still, it is fun to talk about it!
Nebraska remains undefeated after playing a tough schedule including Creighton, Arizona and San Diego, among others. Sure, those wins haven’t given give fans warm and fuzzy feelings (at least not for me) because they weren’t all decisive victories. Coach Cook talks about working on longer term focus and concentration, and that remains in progress. But, hey, they won and 7-0 is the fact.
The only other undefeated teams in the top 25 are #5 Baylor, #6 Pitt, #18 Hawaii and #21 Missouri. Penn State lost this weekend to Stanford for their first loss, and Stanford lost to Minnesota for their first loss. Both good losses, but losses nonetheless.
In the back of my mind, I know there is a real chance the coaches will leave Stanford #1 even with the loss. They were the unanimous #1 last week. Hard to change such a decisive vote in a week with just one loss to a top tier team. But for me, a clear cut kind a gal, a loss is a loss. Stanford drops down, Nebraska moves up.
Now Stanford comes to the Devaney Center, and, boom the plot has thickened. I imagine both locker rooms are using the upset to Stanford by Minnesota as a launching point to their mental preparation for the Wednesday night match. Stanford isn’t indestructible anymore, which provides a mental edge to Nebraska. Stanford lost, and have something to prove, which provides a mental edge to Stanford.
As if we had to launch this match any higher!