Week 9 - Penn State at Ohio State

Posted Oct 24, 2013

Week 9 Fearless Prediction - Penn State at Ohio State

- Nebraska at Minnesota | Northwestern at Iowa
- Michigan State at Illinois | Penn State at Ohio State

Penn State (4-2) at Ohio State (7-0) Oct. 26 8:00, ABC

Why You Should Give A Hoot: It's going to be the lame storyline/hook of the week, but it's sort of true – this is Penn State's bowl game.

Okay, so maybe the regular season finale at Wisconsin is going to be more like the team's true bowl-like game, but beating the Badgers wouldn't be nearly as impressive stopping the Ohio State 19-game winning streak. The Nittany Lions have shown for a flair for the magical, getting two weeks off to enjoy the special overtime win over Michigan, but the harsh reality was that the Wolverines lost that game in overtime more than Penn State – who did what it had to late in regulation to force the OT – won it. Considering the ugly loss to Indiana, and a not-bad-looking-now loss to UCF, it's been a strange year, and a memorable one. With a win over Ohio State, though, this could be a truly special campaign.

Ohio State just keeps on trucking with tough wins over Wisconsin, Northwestern and Iowa that showed off the team's muscle and toughness. With free spaces on the road against Purdue and Illinois before hosting the X factor – Indiana – 8-0 should mean 11-0 before going to Michigan, but Penn State is rested and should be ready. This is a good Buckeye team, but it needs to start doing something special to make any noise in the BCS among the unbeatens. For now, survive and move on is good enough.

Why Penn State Might Win: Ohio State's secondary has been shaky, and now it has to face a real, live, NFL-caliber starting quarterback. Christian Hackenberg might not be there quite yet, but the true freshman has shown off the skills and the moxie to handle the pressure and the spotlight. The Buckeyes are getting an uneven year from All-America corner Bradley Roby – don't let the stats or a few misguided midseason all-star teams fool you – and the rest of the secondary has allowed too many big plays without Christian Bryant, who suffered a broken ankle against Wisconsin. Hackenberg is going to throw and keep on throwing.

Why Ohio State Might Win: The "win the game" formula should work. Open it up early, establish Braxton Miller and the passing game, and then get physical and nasty in the second half. Ohio State has been brutally, brutally effective the last few weeks against Northwestern and Iowa, beating up the Wildcats and powering through the terrific Hawkeye defensive front, making it hard for the opposing defenses to get off the field. Penn State's D has been great against the run and is strong at getting into the backfield, but it's about to get slugged in the mouth by …

Who To Watch Out For: Carlos Hyde, who's the real star of the offense at the moment, taking all the luster away from Miller. Miller forced his way over and through Northwestern for 168 yards and three touchdowns on 26 brutal carries, and he followed it up by dominating in the second half against Iowa on his way to 149 yards and two scores. Not just a thunder back, he's averaging 6.15 yards per carry – he's breaking off big runs.

What Will Happen: Be very, very, VERY careful, Ohio State. Penn State isn't good enough to win this game on talent, but it has the right mix, the right quarterback, and the right timing. The Buckeyes are coming off of three extremely emotional, hard-fought games that could've gone either way. Penn State's defense isn't going to wilt, while the offense will roll against the Buckeye secondary. The OSU offensive line will do just enough late to survive, but it's not going to be anything to help the BCS championship cause.

Prediction: Ohio State 30 … Penn State 27
Line: Ohio St -15.5 o/u: 60
Must See Rating: (5 The Counselor – 1 Last Vegas) … 3.5
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