The Penn State Nittany Lions are travelling to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes with heavy hearts.
Penn State is still dealing with the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky scandal but has a football season to finish and could still find itself in a BCS Bowl if it does so successfully.
It’s going to take courage for this team to gather itself after a heartbreaking loss last week in the Lions' final home game, but they could muster it.
Ohio State is still alive in the Legends division of the Big Ten and will be looking to win another game at home.
Keep reading to find out all you need to know about this matchup between two teams rocked by scandal over the past year.
Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
When: Saturday, Nov. 19 at 3:30 p.m. EDT
Watch: ESPN/ABC Regional/ESPN3
Who Will Win?
Listen: ESPN 1350 AM – Penn State, WBNS FM 97.1 The Fan – Ohio State
Betting Line: Ohio State -7
These are two of the most troubled football programs in the nation taking center stage for a nationally televised game.
Anything but the football will be much of the focus and talk during the broadcast.
The Nittany Lions have been rocked by the Jerry Sandusky child-sex allegations and are going to be playing their second game in 46 years without Joe Paterno.
Interim coach Tom Bradley is going to try and guide them to two straight wins and they still have an outside chance for the Rose Bowl.
The Buckeyes were marred by biggest scandal going into the season but it pales in comparison to what Penn State is dealing with. They had players who traded OSU benefits for tattoos and other things deemed illegal by the NCAA and lost coach Jim Tressel because of it before the season.
Who Might Not Play for Penn State (via CollegeInjuryReport.com)
RB Silas Redd – PRB (Shoulder) – Redd was hurt last game with a minor shoulder injury but should suit up and play on Saturday. He is a solid rusher and is fourth in the conference in yards per game.
Who Might Not Play for Ohio State
WR Corey Brown – QST (Ankle) – Brown did not play against Purdue and most likely will sit this Penn State game out to heal. His absence leaves little depth behind the starting two WRs.
BCS/Top 25 Implications
Both teams are scrambling to come back from heartbreaking losses and still trying to stay alive in their respective divisions of the Big Ten.
Will Either Team Make a BCS Bowl?
Penn State could not rally from 17-points down and lost by three late in the fourth quarter after failing to convert on fourth-and-one against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Ohio State lost an overtime battle to Purdue, 26-23, but still could win out and get some breaks to win the Legends Division of the conference.
It seems impossible for Penn State to win their next two games and somehow make the inaugural Big Ten title game, but it could actually happen. They would need to win on Saturday to keep that dream alive.
What They're Saying
Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com has an interesting take on Penn State’s bowl options if they don’t make the Big Ten championship.
The Big Ten has eight bowl bids and could end up with 10 bowl-eligible teams. If the Nittany Lions (8-2) don't reach the Big Ten title game, it's a very real possibility they could get bypassed by all of the Big Ten bowls and be shipped to a non-Big Ten bowl that doesn't have enough teams to fill its conference obligation.
"And do you think that bowl will be thrilled?" a college football industry source said. "It's like finding out your daughter is dating Tiger Woods. What do you say: uh, congratulations?"
The Associated Press is reporting that Ohio State needs to get themselves in order more than they need to worry about their opponent this week.
Coach Luke Fickell said Tuesday he had no concerns that his team would bounce back emotionally from the deflating 26-23 loss at Purdue. At the same time, the Buckeyes must address several critical problems as they head into their final home game.
Problem No. 1: They’ve completed just 27 of 63 passes for 401 yards over the last five games
That’s a horrible statistic and they won’t be able to win if they continue to throw the ball so poorly.
Penn State Player to Watch: Silas Redd
Redd is an absolute beast and should be active for Saturday’s game. The sophomore had his worst game of the season against Nebraska last week largely due to the shoulder injury he suffered.
Look for him to bounce back nicely if he is healthy.
Ohio State Player to Watch: DeVier Posey
The senior WR is back from his ten-game suspension this week and should help the slumping Ohio State passing offense.
He was a straight up monster for the team last year and is consistent as they come at the wide out position. He will definitely make an impact right away.
Ohio State passing offense vs. Penn State defense.
If the Buckeyes can start throwing on the Nittany Lions at a successful clip, they will win this game.
If Penn State locks it down and forces them to be one dimensional, I think the Lions take this game.
Penn State 28 – Ohio State 27