Game of the Week: Ohio State vs. Penn State

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.

OSU’s Braxton Miller could be holding a Heisman trophy when it’s all said and done this season.


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. 

Top College Football Teams to Watch in 2008

Well, I’ve held out long enough.  It is time to look at my picks for the best college football teams to watch in 2008.  Each of the teams mentioned here is going to be one of the top competitors in the nation this season – you can take my word for it.  This is going to be a spectacular season, and I cannot stress enough the amount of talent that goes into these football programs.

1. Georgia Bulldogs
The Bulldogs are looking strong heading into the 2008 season, and are hoping to repeal a botched attempt at a national title in 2007.  The Bulldogs have a beefy, complete roster, a Heisman hopeful in Knowshon Moreno, and a knack for making big plays when it counts.  The Bulldogs are ranked #1 in the Coaches Poll heading into the season, and in my opinion, as long as the Bulldogs play some football and forget about the hype around the team, they are going to win it all this season.  Defensive tackle Jeff Owens said it in his own words: “I’d prefer to be ranked No. 25 and work our way up, than being No. 1 and everybody is gunning for you. Everybody wants Georgia. Who doesn’t want Georgia?”  That’s right, Jeff.  Watch out for these Georgia Bulldogs, because they are on their way to a national title – 21 years is a long time to be on the porch with the pups.

2. USC Trojans
This team is just swarmed with powerhouse starters.  Big playmakers including linebacker Rey Maualuga, running back Joe McKnight, and receiver Patrick Turner are going to be tearing up the field this season. Despite missing a returning starting quarterback from the lineup, Pete Carroll tends to mold the noobs with utmost care, producing big QB starters in just a year.  USC is going to take another stab at the Pac-10 title, and win it.  Period.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State has consistently produced a huge football program in the last five years, clearly dominating the Big Ten in the last two seasons.  This year is no exception, as the Ohio State Buckeyes are poised to win their third straight Big Ten Conference title – a feat that has never been accomplished by any Big Ten team in the 112-year history of the conference.  The Buckeyes are returning a whopping 20 starters – the same starters that led the team all the way to the BCS National Championship game in 2007-2008.  If they make it to the big game this year, they are going to have to deal with the Bulldogs (my pick), but it looks as if the assault is already prepared.  Yep, my crystal ball tells me the Buckeyes are going to dominate – possible repeat appearance at the BCS title game notwithstanding.

4. Florida Gators
With an outstanding offense and eight returning starters on defense, the Florida Gators are going to bring some quality football to the table in 2008-2009.  Urban Meyer promises to bring back the dual-quarterback system, drawing talent from both Cam Newton and Tim Tebow for a well-rounded offensive.  The defense also looks stronger than last season, and is poised to take on just about anything you can throw at it.  Georgia watch out: if Florida wants it, you could find yourself second in the SEC in 2008-2009.

5. Oklahoma Sooners
Last but not least, you have the boys from Oklahoma.  The Sooners are prepared to raise a ruckus this season as quarterback Sam Bradford leads an all-star offense on the ground and in the air.  Bradford destroyed the record for most touchdown passes thrown by a freshman in 2007.  Coupled with the fact that the team is returning 10 starters on offense – an offense that averaged 6.4 yards per play last season – this team is going to be hard to beat.  Although the team is replacing several defensive players, the starting defensive line is there, and is going to open up holes for anyone who wants a piece of the opposition.  Look for Oklahoma to win the Big 12 Championship yet again this year.

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