Week 9 preview: Penn State at Ohio State sounds nice

I’m continuing my early week-by-week look at the 2013 Big Ten schedule, and it’s all about Week 9 today. This week features only four games, highlighted by Penn State’s trip to Ohio State. Get all my Week 9 storylines, top matchups and game rankings in this post.

[ RELATED: Week 1 preview | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 ]

Game of the week: Penn State at Ohio State. The Nittany Lions have to be dreading the trip to Ohio State to play an OSU team that will be picked to win the Big Ten. The Buckeyes have had Penn State’s number in recent years, too, winning eight of the last 11 meetings. Ohio State leads the all-time series, 15-13, however it’s 14-8 when all vacated games are taken into account. Points may be difficult to come by for the Nittany Lions if the quarterback position isn’t solidified by this time in the season.

Ranking Week 9 games
1. Penn State at Ohio State
2. Michigan State at Illinois
3. Northwestern at Iowa
4. Nebraska at Minnesota

Quarterback matchup to watch: Future stud, meet present stud. I’m going out on a limb and saying true freshman Christian Hackenberg will win the Penn State quarterback job—and thrive. The guy arrives on campus with a thick scrapbook. If he’s not the starter, it will be a disappointment. He’ll face Braxton Miller, the Big Ten Heisman front-runner and all around awesome talent.

Coordinator matchup to watch: It will be interesting to watch sage Illinois offensive coordinator Bill Cubit match Xs and Os with Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, the best in the Big Ten. The Illini have some skill-position talent that could pose some matchup issues for the talented Spartans defense. Illinois wants to be more of a down-field running team. Can it do so vs. a strong MSU front seven?

Upset alert: Northwestern has been Iowa’s Kryptonite, winning six of the last eight meetings. The teams meet this season in Iowa City. But the Hawkeyes are just 1-3 in the last four meetings with the Wildcats in Kinnick Stadium. Still, this is an Iowa team that may be battling for its postseason life when this game takes place. Things could get interesting for the talented Wildcats if they aren’t careful.

Storylines: Another slow week, with four teams off in the last Saturday in October–Indiana, Michigan, Purdue and Wisconsin. … With a soft home schedule, the Spartans will need to score a road win or two to enjoy a strong 2013. One they need to win is at Illinois. This is a Fighting Illini squad that will enter the season on a 14-game Big Ten losing skein. And Michigan State has dominated the series of late, going 11-1 vs. Illinois in the last 12 meetings. The Illini’s last win vs. the Spartans in Champaign was in 1992. … How lopsided has the Nebraska-Minnesota series been? Check it out: Nebraska has beaten the Golden Gophers 16 times in a row. The last Gophers’ win? A 26-14 decision in 1960.

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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Your Opinion?
Show Comments (5 Comments)
misdreavus79 on 6/20/2013 @ 4:48pm EDT Said:

I said this the last time you brought it up, but the Ohio State/Penn State series is actually 15-13 all time, if you don’t believe me, check it yourself here. Also, Penn state has beaten Ohio State at the shoe to of its last three tries. Just saying.

    Brent Yarina, BTN.com on 6/20/2013 @ 5:23pm EDT Said:

    Yes, the all-time series is 15-13, in Ohio State’s favor. However, when vacated games are taken into account, it’s 14-8. That’s what Tom was saying, and we’ve updated it to avoid any confusion. Thanks!

doug moore on 6/20/2013 @ 5:42pm EDT Said:

Tom..Its my opinion that the typical DC makes a “playground” QB like Braxton more successful. Like the classic screen-pass, when sold properly, the D-line over pursues creating an open field with few opponents. Tremendous advantage for the offense! On rare occassions I’ve seen smart DCs contain the star..it helped his D shut-down the broken-play runs..frustrate the QB & win!

I’ll concede that Braxton seems to be a more well-rounded QB than most running QBs..better touch & arm-strength. I live in Ohio so I’ve seen Braxton since HS. I’m aware of his talent but he can be beat..he should’ve been beat several times last year. Its a new year & I’m excited to see if John Butler is a smart DC..GO LIONS!

misdreavus79 on 6/21/2013 @ 11:35am EDT Said:

Thanks for fixing that, Brent. I dont mind it at all if they use 14-8 as an all-time series record, but saying the series is 15-8 ignored Ohio State’s vacated win (thus feeding the misguided belief that there’s bias against Penn State. I’m sure you hear it every day).

Erik Sarah Shrom on 6/21/2013 @ 3:04pm EDT Said:

Typial B1G officiating seen in the video clip. Another blown call. OSU RT #77 holds PSU #90 Sean Stanley’s foot and OSU goes on to score at a very pivotal point to put the game out of reach.

I know blown calls go both ways and I am sure there are plenty of calls made in favor of PSU. My complaint is more with the officiating in general than who is ruled in favor. It is my observation that B1G officiating leans in favor of the higher ranked team. By doing this the higher ranked team has less losses (or stays undefeated) and B1G gets better bowl bids and more bowl revenue. Then these winning teams take this poor technique game experience to bowls and get called for penalties they have gotten away with all year… and Delaney wonders why the B1G does so poory in bowl games???

In this particular game neither team was going bowling, but the observation lies true accross the entire conference…and given PSU won’t be bringing in bowl game revenue, I expect to see more of the same poor calling/ non-calling this year. Keep this in mind the next time you watch a game in late October and November.