TicketCity’s weekly ranking of the 10 hottest games in college football is designed to identify the match-ups with the strongest ticket demand on a weekly basis. This week Ohio State vs. Penn State ranks #1 on our list. Contributor Jeff K. gives the run-down on who will win this stage-setting match-up.
Why Ohio State will win the biggest game of week one:
If Ohio State didn’t know the Big Ten would be difficult, they do now. The Buckeyes had a wakeup call last week against Iowa, needing a second-half rally to beat the Hawkeyes 34-24. Coach Urban Meyer will have his troops focused against a Penn State team starting a true freshman at quarterback. Running back Carlos Hyde rushed for 106 of his 143 yards after halftime as Ohio State controlled the line of scrimmage and the clock in the second half. More importantly, quarterback Braxton Miller looks to be recovered from his knee injury. Having the dual-threat Miller healthy makes the Buckeye offense even more explosive.
Why I could be wrong:
The Nittany Lions picked up their first Big Ten victory last week with a thrilling 43-40 four-overtime win against then-ranked #18 Michigan. Coach Bill O’Brien has done a magnificent job rebuilding the Penn State program. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg continues to grow into the role as the leader of the offense with 11 touchdown passes. The Nittany Lions should look at taking a page from the Ohio State game plan and establish the run game to keep the potent Buckeye offense off the field. Running back Bill Belton was the workhorse last week, carrying the ball 27 times. Expect a similar workload from Belton this weekend. O’Brien has his players believing in themselves and the program, and that makes them a dangerous team.
Why you don’t want to miss this one:
Sitting at #4 in the first BCS rankings of the season, Ohio State knows that close victories won’t cut it if they want to contend for the BCS Championship game. The Buckeyes need to start winning convincingly. Miller and Hyde lead an explosive Buckeye offense, while the defense will look to key on the Nittany Lions young quarterback. Ohio State also wants to keep the nation’s longest unbeaten streak intact, currently sitting at 19. Meanwhile, Penn State brings a young team to the Horseshoe. The future will be on display and college football fans will get to see the continued resurgence of the Penn State program under O’Brien.
Jeff Kubiszyn is a long-time college football fan and joins TicketCity this season to highlight the biggest game of the week. He is by no means a college football expert, except at the dinner table.