Huskers still not out of the hole yet
DN File Photo

If the cards fall right, Jeremy Slechta and Nebraska will gladly take a bid to the 2002 Rose Bowl to play Miami. For that to happen, the Cornhuskers need Louisiana State to take out Tennessee on Saturday in the SEC

Nebraska football players must have felt like gamblers with a hot hand at the craps table after watching Saturday's events unfold.For a shot at the Rose Bowl -this year's jackpot - all the Cornhuskers needed was Florida to lose to Tennessee. The dice came up seven on that one. Then, they needed Oregon to struggle with Oregon State. Again, seven. Finally, NU needed Colorado to upset Texas. Seven.About the only thing that went wrong was Virginia Tech wide receiver Ernest Wilford dropping a two-point conversion that would have tied the Hokies' game against No. 1 Miami.If Wilford caught the pass, the Huskers might have skipped Las Vegas and had Lady Luck ride along to Pasadena, the site of the Rose Bowl.All the Huskers need now is for Louisiana State to knock off Tennessee in the SEC Conference championship game Saturday.NU (11-1, 7-1) could find itself in the national title game despite crapping out to the Buffaloes, 62-36."Of course we wanted to play in the Big 12 championship and we wanted to stay undefeated, but right now we're at that point if we make it to the Rose Bowl, it's not going to hurt my feelings to have another team lose," defensive tackle Jeremy Slechta said.The mere fact that Nebraska has a chance to play in the Rose Bowl has brought plenty of criticism to the Bowl Championship Series standings, a formula devised to pit the nation's top two teams against each other in a national title game.Nebraska Coach Frank Solich, though, was quick to defend his team, saying NU was worthy of a Rose Bowl berth, providing the Volunteers fall to the LSU.Although it was an embarrassing 26-point loss to the Buffaloes, Solich said too much was being made of the loss rather than NU's 11 wins, all by 10 points or more."It should be based on how a team plays through the course of a season," Solich said. "I think if you look at how our team has played throughout the course of the season, then I think we're deserving of being ranked where we're ranked."As it stands, Nebraska trails Miami and Tennessee. The Hurricanes have locked up a berth to the Rose Bowl.If the Volunteers beat the Tigers on Saturday, the Huskers will likely accept a bid to the Sugar Bowl, another BCS Bowl, to face Illinois."I wouldn't be content," Slechta said of playing in the Sugar Bowl. "I still think we should have been in the Rose Bowl. We played bad against Colorado, and that killed us. That ruins everything, but that's the way college football is."