Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Running back Silas Redd (No. 25 in the picture) and his Penn State teammates have a number of reasons to jump for joy.
They haven't lost a game since they were rolled by the "Tide" (Alabama) the second weekend of the season. The Nittany Lions are 8-1, undefeated in the Big Ten and No. 16 in the BCS rankings. This weekend they have a bye in their schedule.
Now here comes the pain. They have the toughest schedule of any of the Leaders Division contenders:
- Nov. 5: BYE week
- Nov. 12: Nebraska
- Nov. 19: @ Ohio State
- Nov. 26: @ Wisconsin
The Nittany Lions manage to beat all three teams, though Nebraska is No. 10 in the BCS and Wisconsin is No. 20. Ohio State is also undefeated in the division, so they have a legitimate shot at being the top team in the division.
Penn State loses all three games. They finish 8-4, but get invited to a second-tier bowl game.
They win one of the three games—the real quandary is, who will they beat?
If they lose to the Buckeyes and the Badgers, the title hopes are burnt toast.
If they lose to the Cornhuskers and the Badgers, we could end up with a three-way tie atop, and the Big Ten would have to invoke the tie-breaker rules.
If they lose to the Cornhuskers and Buckeyes, the Nittany Lions are going to need outside help to finish at the top of the division.
Right now, if you press me, I am leaning toward a Nittany Lion win at home against Nebraska.