There’s a Big Ten showdown Saturday that’s been circled on the calendar since the moment the revised 2020 schedule was announced. When No. 18 Penn State plays host to No. 3 Ohio State in Beaver Stadium, it’s not just a game, but the path toward a division crown that’s likely on the line. Ever since the Big Ten split into East and West Divisions, Ohio State and Penn State have won the division five of the six seasons. It’s not a coincidence that the winner of this matchup has represented the Big Ten East in Indianapolis in those five seasons.
The game did lose some of its luster last weekend, however. While Ohio State went and crushed Nebraska like it was expected to, Penn State suffered an upset loss to Indiana on the road. Instead of a potential top-10 battle, the Nittany Lions now need a win to keep their division hopes alive.
While Ohio State has dominated the series in recent years, winning seven of the last eight meetings, the games have been much tighter than that. Ohio State has won the last three, but those three wins have come by 13 points combined. One point decided both the 2017 and 2018 games.
I don’t think this line would be so large had Penn State not lost to Indiana, but even so, I can’t pull the trigger on the Lions here. It’s pretty simple for me. While Penn State has a talented roster, it’s short at the running back spot, and the difference between these teams at the quarterback position is too vast. Sean Clifford is a perfectly suitable player for Penn State, but Justin Fields is in a different stratosphere, and that advantage will play out over 60 minutes. Lay the points.