The No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes are entering the toughest stretch of their season. Coming off massive wins against Big Ten newcomers Rutgers and Maryland, and with just two games left in the regular season, the Buckeyes seem to be finally getting into the meat of their schedule as they prepare to face No. 8 Penn State and No. 13 Michigan.
Ohio State is sitting at 10-0, and is just behind LSU in the College Football Playoff rankings. But to keep that spot, the Buckeyes, obviously, have to come away this afternoon with a win. Playoff projections seem to overwhelmingly indicate that an Ohio State win against Penn State this afternoon all-but guarantees a playoff spot for the Buckeyes. In fact, with a win over the Nittany Lions, even a loss to Michigan (as painful as that thought is) would not necessarily preclude Ohio State from getting into the top-four, but a loss to Penn State would all-but eliminate the Buckeyes from contention for the Big Ten Title and, as a result, the College Football Playoff.
However, that win might not be as easy as it sounds. Penn State represents one of the toughest opponents Ohio State has faced this season. James Franklins’ team is sitting at 9-1 on the year, its only loss coming to Minnesota just a few short weeks ago. With wins over Iowa and Michigan, the Nittany Lions look formidable.
But then consider what Ohio State did to its previous toughest opponent, Wisconsin. ICYMI, the final was 38-7.
Ohio State enters the game with the added bonus of having the most dominant defensive end in college football back in the lineup for the Buckeyes. Yes, after serving his two-game suspension, Chase. Young. Is. Back. Even missing two games, Young still has 13.5 sacks on the season - just a half sack behind the NCAA leader -- and still has the most sacks per game in the country at 1.69. And he’s still in the Heisman race.
As if Young’s return wasn’t enough, the one-two punch of Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins continues to lead the way in producing the Big Ten’s top scoring offense. Even more impressive is the fact the pair has done so despite hardly taking a snap in the fourth quarter.
The Buckeyes are 18.5-point favorites over Penn State. Historically, Ohio State holds a 19-14 advantage over its Big Ten opponent. Now, Ohio State looks to post a signature win in what could be its toughest matchup of the year.
When is the game and how can I watch?
Game Date/Time: Saturday, Nov. 23, 12 p.m.
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Online: FOX Sports GO
Radio: 97.1 FM/1460 AM
Where is GameDay this weekend?
Where else? The crew is headed to Columbus ahead of the Buckeyes’ matchup with Penn State! This weekend marks the 19th time the pregame show has made its way to Columbus and the site of Lee Corso’s first-ever headgear pick when he donned Brutus. And if you are planning on being part of the GameDay boycott, you can also check out FOX’s pregame show which is also setting up shop in Columbus.
What’s the rest of the Big Ten up to today?
Alongside Ohio State in the noon spot, No. 10 Minnesota heads to Northwestern on ABC, Illinois travels to No. 17 Iowa on BTN and Michigan State faces Rutgers in Piscataway on FS1. At 3:30 p.m., No. 13 Michigan heads to Indiana on ESPN while Nebraska plays Maryland in College Park on BTN. Rounding out the day, Purdue travels to No. 12 Wisconsin on FOX.
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