Virginia Tech visiting Ohio State may not be the game of the week, but it's certainly in the picture, especially as the Buckeyes continue to break J.T. Barrett into the offense on the fly in the wake of Braxton Miller's season-ending shoulder injury. The Buckeyes struggled to put away Navy in the season opener and summarily slipped from No. 5 to No. 8 in the AP poll, and while that might demonstrate some vulnerability, let's remember: they're still a Top 10 team.
The Hokies displayed a surprisingly potent run game in their season opener against William & Mary, and they just might find some success against an Ohio State defense that got gashed by Navy last week.
How to witness
TV: You can watch this game on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, with Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit in the booth and Heather Cox on the sidelines.
Online streaming: As with all ESPN/ABC broadcasts, you can watch the game online at WatchESPN.
Rankings and records: Ohio State is 1-0 and currently ranked No. 8 in the AP poll and No. 7 in the Coaches Poll. Virginia Tech is also 1-0 after its opener but only received votes in both polls.
Vegas: Ohio State's an 11-point favorite in this contest, down slightly from its open at 12. Also creeping downward is the over/under, which has slipped from 50 to 47.5.
Weather forecast: Thunderstorms should be moving out of the area that evening, with temperatures at kickoff in the upper 60s and sticking around in the mid-60s through the duration of the game.
Three names to know
This will be freshman QB J.T. Barrett's second start with the Buckeyes, and his first at The 'Shoe, so his maturation and appreciation for the moment will be worth watching. His debut was surprisingly efficient: 12-of-15, 226 yards, two scores and a pick through the air, plus nine rushes for a team-high 50 yards. Virginia Tech is a substantially tougher matchup across the board, though.
Speaking of new QBs, Virginia Tech junior Michael Brewer (a Texas Tech transfer) makes his second start for the Hokies after a decent performance against William & Mary last week. Brewer's got a lot of things to like: he's got a live arm, makes generally positive throws -- his one interception came off a deflection at the line -- and has just enough athleticism that defenses have to account for him on read plays.
Ohio State's Tyvis Powell has grown into his role as a starting safety in a Buckeye secondary that's been aching for stability and production, and he led the way with 13 tackles (including eight solo) in the season opener. With Vonn Bell manning the other safety spot, the Buckeyes just might be set for the next couple years at that position.
Two things at stake
Virginia Tech would be in line for a massive jump into the Top 25 with a win at Ohio State; indeed, it'd be one of the signature wins of the entire Frank Beamer era (in fact, look for a big road win in the last 20 years -- the best you'll find is at West Virginia in '05).
Meanwhile, Ohio State hasn't dialed down any of its ambitions for the season yet, and as far as anyone in Columbus is concerned this is a national championship-contending team until the records say otherwise. This is Ohio State's last tough non-conference game, so going 4-0 will be essential -- especially since there are tougher Big Ten opponents lurking come October and November.