With the preliminary BCS standings revealed, the landscape has a different look. For now on, all digits preceding a program’s name will reflect their position in the BCS standing, and no longer represent positions in the AP poll. As always, the AP may come into play down the stretch, if it appears college football may be headed towards a split title. But until then, the AP poll is irrelevant, as its data is not part of the BCS equation.
The horse’s must see rating: 10
Quickie: Are we still doubting the legitimacy of the Nittany Lions championship contention? Here’s a golden opportunity to strengthen their worth and remove those doubts. The Buckeyes have regained their swagger and are riding the momentum from last week’s drubbing of Michigan State. Preseason analysts claimed the Big 10 title runs through Columbus. Let’s see if Joe Pa can come out clean on the other side, leaving Tressel and Ohio State in his rearview.
NITTANY LIONS (8-0)
Last week- W- Michigan
Penn State’s record remains unscathed, largely due to the winning of key position battles that enable them to bury their opponents. Their foes have been overpowered at the skill positions, as well as in the trenches. One key match up this week will be Jordan Norwood looking to get off the block and find space against NFL first round corner prospect Malcolm Jenkins. Appearing as the favorite target for quarterback Daryll Clark, Norwood was limited to just 4 catches and 28 yards in last week’s victory, and must have more production for the Lions to be positioned for this win. Just as the sturdy Buckeyes defense limited Michigan State’s Javon Ringer, running the ball may again be troublesome for this week’s opponent, and an elscalation of their season's passing attempts and yardage may be the difference between winning and losing.
Last Week: W-Michigan State
It’s homecoming in Columbus, and Ohio State hasn’t lost one of these games since 2001. They're coming off their most impressive victory of the season, after appearing sluggish in earlier weeks. Quarterback controversy is squashed (for the moment), and the roster is filled with believers again. The Buckeyes enter Saturday’s game ranked 10th in the nation defensively, a tribute to the unit that has carried them this far. The offensive unit holds concern, with the inconsistent play of inexperienced freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Though he has slowly showed signs of improvement, one has to wonder if he’s improved enough to conquer these incoming Lions. A healthy Chris Wells should relieve some of the strain placed on the passing game in previous weeks, allowing the Buckeyes a more methodical approach to move the sticks.
Xtra Points: Defensive strength outweighs offensive presence, and I pick the Buckeyes to prevail victorious for their 7th straight homecoming. With a switch in venue, I’d give the opposite choice, but I believe Ohio State’s young signal caller will find comfort in the friendly confines of the Shoe, allowing him to play smart and efficient in this high profile game.
All Time Series: Buckeyes lead 12-11
Streak: Buckeyes won 2
(6) Oklahoma State at (1) Texas- Gundy’s program is on a magical ride, but it stops in Austin. The Horns should roll the Cowboys.
Auburn at West Virginia- Before the season began, this was one hell of game that would be played with BCS implications. Know I’m not really sure what it is, but you can catch in airing Thursday night on ESPN.
(8) Texas Tech at (23) Kansas- If you’re looking for a Big 12 shootout, here it is. This game features the nation’s 58th and 65th ranked defenses, and the 2nd and 14th ranked offenses.
(7) Georgia at (13) LSU- The loser is officially knocked out of the BCS championship race, but would still remain hopeful to win the SEC.
(5) USC at Arizona- The Sand Trap
Notre Dame at Washington- Come on now! It’s the “Ty Bowl”!
UCLA at California- Two schools with the same fight song. That has to be annoying to listen to in the stands.
Upset special- Virginia over (18) Georgia Tech, (23) Kansas over (8) Texas Tech, (9) Ohio State over (3) Penn State