Two Big Ten schools, two huge stadiums, two great defenses, and two upstart, dual-threat quarterbacks with no starting experience before this season. Now what happens when two Big Ten powerhouses—one being 7-0, and one being 6-1—are pitted against each other?
The result is tomorrow night's Ohio State-Penn State matchup at 8:00 PM EST. The game is going to be a battle of two BCS worthy teams duking it out punch by punch.
Part One: What a Win Would Mean for Each Team
The winner of this game will most likely determine the winner of the Big Ten. Not only could it decide the fate of the conference, this game may also have BCS title game implications.
Think about it. Both teams have already gotten over the hump of Wisconsin and have fairly easy schedules remaining. If Penn State wins, they will still be undefeated and probably get the top spot in the BCS rankings.
Their remaining games are against Indiana, Iowa, and Michigan State. Michigan State should be a tough game, while they should breeze through the other two. If they emerge undefeated, they would no doubt be in the BCS title game. If they lose to MSU, Iowa, or Indiana they still have the tie breaker over OSU and will still win the Big Ten.
If Ohio State wins, both teams will have one loss. Ohio State's remaining games are Northwestern, Illinois, and Michigan. I never thought I would say this, but Northwestern is probably the Buckeye's hardest of these three games. Illinois was overrated and Michigan should have never hired Rich Rodriguez (other wise known to West Virginia and Michigan fans alike as "Fraudriguez").
Since they already got past the Michigan State hump, (which was barely a hump as they demolished the Spartans 45-7) if OSU can win out, they will win the Big Ten. And, if college football's season is anything like last year's in terms of upsets, a one-loss Ohio State will be vaulted into the National Title game for a third straight year. You know what they say...third time's the charm.
Part Two: Who Will Win
Ohio State and Penn State have different paths to how they got to their respective records today. Ohio State had great wins against Youngstown State and Michigan State, beating them by a combined score of 88-7. However, they struggled in many games. They also lost to USC 35-3 in a lopsided blowout game.
Aug. 30—W vs. Youngstown St, 43-0
|Sept. 6—W vs. Ohio U, 26-14|
|Sept. 13—L at U-S-C, 3-35|
|Sept. 20—W vs. Troy, 28-10|
|Sept. 27—W vs. Minnesota, 34-21|
|Oct. 4—W at Wisconsin, 20-17|
|Oct. 11—W vs. Purdue, 16-3|
|Oct. 18—W at Michigan State, 45-7|
|Oct. 25—vs. Penn State, 8:00 PM|
Penn State has no losses and has outscored their opponents constantly, with every game being a blowout so far. They also beat Oregon State who so far is the only team to beat USC, the team that beat OSU 35-3.
|Aug. 30—W vs. Coastal Carolina, 66-10|
|Sept. 6—W vs. Oregon State, 45-14|
|Sept. 13—W at Syracuse, 55-13|
|Sept. 20—W vs. Temple, 45-3|
|Sept. 27—W vs. Illinois, 38-24|
|Oct. 4—W at Purdue, 20-6|
|Oct. 11—W at Wisconsin, 48-7|
|Oct. 18—W vs. Michigan, 46-17|
While both are very impressive, Penn State has the edge.
They both have great defenses and upstart, dual-threat quarterbacks. The question will be if these two running backs can pass effectively and often. Although fifth year Senior Darryl Clark has more playing experience than Terrelle Pryor, neither had started until this season. Pryor has the advantage in arm strength and speed while Clark has the advantage in decision making, accuracy, and experience.
The difference maker in this game will be none other than the player in the picture of this article. Yes, Chris "Beanie" Wells. Penn State's Evan Royster doesn't match up to Beanie and neither will Penn State's defense.
Ohio State's team of linebackers, led by James Laurinaitis, has been able to stop a dual-threat quarterback before, and it should be no huge problem. The 'Nits on the other hand have to deal with Terrelle Pryor and a healthy Beanie Wells.
Ohio State 27, Penn State 24