No. 4 Ohio State travels to No. 9 Penn State on Saturday night. Pole position in the ultra-competitive Big Ten East is up for grabs. Perhaps no single game will go further in determining a College Football Playoff position than this one. These two superpowers have played two consecutive barn-burners, and the upcoming renewal promises to be a good one.
It also promises to be a jamboree of points, a turning-forward of the ol’ watchtower that’s long loomed over the Midwest’s favorite plodding conference. Penn State is averaging 55.5 to lead the nation. Ohio State is close behind at 54.5. This is the latest two teams from the conference have been in the top two since 1990. The last time there was a matchup between No. 1 and No. 2 was in 1962, when Wisconsin played Northwestern.
Trace McSorley, in his third year starting, is off and running once again. Penn State lost Saquon Barkley to the NFL but Miles Saunders has picked up the workload, rushing for 495 yards at a pace of 7 yads/carry while finding the end zone five times.
Ohio State, despite losing steadfast captain J.T. Barrett, is once again a juggernaut. Dwayne Haskins has stepped into the role and put up Heisman Trophy-type numbers. He’s completing 75 percent of his throws, for nearly 1,200 yards and an eye-popping 16 touchdowns.
The over/under for Saturday night is set at 70.5, a number more suited for the Big 12 than Big Ten. And it may be too low.
There’s a very good chance the season’s most important game will also be the most entertaining. Get your popcorn — and abacus — ready.