Hey gang, Bill here filling in for Noel again, whose liver probably looks like a cheese grater after the Mets beat the Dodgers last night. I won't write nearly as much as Noel does for these things, so let's hop right in and see what our staff thinks of this weeks game against the no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing Ohio State Buckeyes.
Matt: Ohio State has NFL talent, and experienced talent at that, at virtually ever spot on the roster. That is no more apparent on than on when you look at the Buckeyes' defensive line versus the Lions' offensive line. Joey Bosa could be the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, while tackle Adolphus Washington won't be too far behind. Even scarier is that neither one leads Ohio State in sacks. That would be redshirt sophomore Tyquan Davis. That trio, and plenty of others, gets to go against a Penn State offensive line that, at best, has been inconsistent, and at worst, gave up 10 sacks to Temple.
On paper, this does not look close, but Ohio State has struggled to find consistency on the offensive side of the ball, and it's not exactly playing lights out on the defensive side of things. Stranger things have happened, like last year's double OT thriller, but this one is in Columbus, and the Lions just have too many issues to bet on the upset. I won't be surprised if PSU hangs around for awhile, but they won't sustain enough on offense to give the D enough time off of the field.
Ohio State 30 - Penn State 14
bscaff: No rational human being expects a Penn State victory Saturday night. WELL I'M NOT A SANE PERSON. In 4 years of blogging I've picked Penn State every time. No way I'm gonna break that streak for these ***ksuckers.
Oh, I know what the media is saying. 17.5 point underdogs. Urban Meyer has 3 titles, while John Donovan can't tie his own shoelaces. (knowning head nods) And the stupid media thinks OSU may be a better collection of talent. Whatever. THEY ARE NOT A BETTER TEAM! //waits for cheering to subside
I think we're gonna surprise 'em with a couple of big plays on offense. I don't think they've seen a spin move like Saquon's. I don't think they've seen speed like Polk's. I think we're gonna stop their rush. And when we do that Cardale has to throw. Is Cardale Jones going to throw the ball to us? YOU'RE GOTDAMN RIGHT HE IS!
Penn State 21 - Ohio State 20
Eli: Let's get a few things out of the way first. Why do you live? To experience this Ohio State team. THE Majestic Ohio State Buckeyes™ are so talented, so experienced, so majestic, so angelical, so divine, that there is nothing that can stand in their path to being the best team that ever has, and ever will play football. Every time I think about it I cry. What did I do to deserve this? I get to experience the 2015 version of THE Majestic Ohio State Buckeyes in person. There will never be a team like this. So please, I implore you, take the experience in because you won't be blessed with it again in your lifetime.
If Penn State is able to cross the 50-yard line tomorrow night, the AD should make a plaque to commemorate the accomplishment. My suggestion would be to stash our 2005 Orange Bowl trophy somewhere and replace it with said plaque. Think about it: being able to cross the 50-yard line against THE Majestic Ohio State Buckeyes™ is an accomplishment that dwarfs anything we've ever done as a team in our entire history. What's an Orange Bowl trophy when compared to this?
I could write about THE Majestic Ohio State Buckeyes™ all night, but I'll end it with this: The winner of this game will be the team with the most points on the board, not the one with the most accolades to date. You think guys like Hackenberg, Zettel, and the rest of the people who were here in 2013 forgot what happened when they went to Columbus that year? You think guys like Brandon Bell, Saeed Blacknall, and the guys who were here in 2014 forgot all it took for THE Majestic Ohio State Buckeyes™ to win? No.
56 - 17 (ed. note: Eli didn't say which team scores 56 and which team scores 17, so use your imagination)
Noel: We're gonna lose. It's gonna be worse than people are expecting.
Ohio State 28 - Penn State 7
Adam: Normally, I don't get to write this prediction here, but since I was not able to grace you with my dulcet tones of the #BSP this week, here I am.
This game is confusing in a variety of contexts. First, despite having proven talent on the offensive side of the ball, Ohio State manages to go through lengthy dry spells against inferior opponents. Second, the Nittany Lion defense is outstanding again, although it has shown a tendency to give up the big play. Third, it's not entirely clear how healthy or productive Penn State's explosive offensive players will be for this weekend's matchup. Finally, despite taking the national champions to double overtime last year and both teams returning similar lineups, Vegas favors Ohio State by 17.
I don't feel nearly comfortable enough to predict a Penn State victory, but I'm comfortable saying that the Lions will put together a solid performance under the lights. It likely won't be enough, and I can see Braxton and Zeke picking up big chunks of yardage. Call it Ohio State 30, Penn State 17.
Or, you know, 56-17 good guys. Just because.
Nick: Ohio State is a better team than Penn State. Despite their early-season struggles to truly put away opponents, they are still one of the best teams in the country. That being said, there are certainly reasons that the Buckeyes should at least be uncomfortable about this one.
For starters, this is the best team the top ranked team will have played in 2015. Virginia Tech has a good-to-great defense, but their offense against the Buckeyes was in disarray in the second half (when Michael Brewer left the game due to injury). Therefore, this will likely be their toughest test of the year. Working in their favor, however, is the night game, blackout atmosphere. To say that Urban will have his team pumped up for this one is a giant understatement.
How will of these things play out on the field? For starters, I think the line of -17 in Ohio Stat's favor is out of line. I think this will be a 14 point game at the very worst. I expect to see a lot of Saquon Barkley (Franklin's comments on his health last week lead me to assume he plays on Saturday), and a good amount of play action passing. That being said, Penn State's offensive line is going to have a terrible time trying to handle Joey Bosa, Adolphus Washington and company. On the flip-side, Ohio State's offense could be in for a long night against Penn State's dominant defensive line, studly linebacking corps and young, but talented secondary. The main thing to watch for there, in my opinion, is how much damage Ezekiel Elliott is able to do on the ground.
When the final score flashes on the screen, I expect to have just finished watching a far close game than Penn State's last trip to Columbus. I think the Buckeyes win by 7. In the process, Hackenberg is sacked 5 times, but only once due to a mistake on his part. I think Barkley reaches national stardom during this ABC-televised contest, and rushes for 134 yards and 2 scores. The defense plays valiantly, but is ultimately just on the field for too long, and the JT Barrett-led Ohio State red zone offense capitalizes on their opportunities.
Ohio State 31 - Penn State 24
Tim: This Ohio State defense will be far and away the toughest test for this offense since Temple, with a couple of dudes named Joey and Adolphus anchoring a ferocious D-line for the Buckeyes. Obviously, having Saquon Barkley back will be huge but I'm just not sure if it's enough, even with a newfound passing attack (and yes, Saquon WILL be back, there's no reason the doctors would make a decision on his playing status on a Tuesday of a game week when he's reportedly been seen at practice moving around and doesn't have his ankled wrapped up if he weren't cleared). That being said, PSU will move the ball between the 20's better than you'd think. On the flip side, this PSU defense will be far and away the toughest test yet for an OSU offense that has struggled to get out of its own way at times.
That being said, look for the road warriors to keep it close for a half and then some but I have a hard time envisioning a scenario where Ezekiel Elliott DOESN'T wear down PSU's front seven to the point where he starts breaking huge gains by the late 3rd into the 4th quarter and likely finding the end zone on said huge gains.
Ohio State 27 - Penn State 14
NCAA 14: The less said about this sim, the better. The Buckeyes are far and away the best team in NCAA football, and the Penn State defense is underrated by this. I never said it was a perfect science, but it's the best I can do. Joey Bosa just absolutely ate up the Penn State line, with four sacks and an interception on a batted ball. Cardale Jones put it all together with four touchdown passes, and Zeke Elliott did that thing where he runs for 100 yards and has 50 through the air. It was 56-14. It was bad. Hack threw for 200 yards and two TDs, but Penn State was punting a lot and just couldn't run the ball. Saquon Barkley did well in the air, but had 17 carries for 38 yards. Please don't let this happen on Saturday.
Bill: Ohio State 27 - Penn State 10
Cari: Ohio State 17 - Penn State 10
Dan: Ohio State 30 - Penn State 21
Jared: Ohio State 31 - Penn State 17