Penn State at Indiana
(What, you were expecting something else? If the Big Ten can backload the season like it does … actually, I’ve always listed conference games in alphabetical order by home team.)
I kind of feel sorry for both these teams. Penn State’s defense is absolutely monstrous, capable of stopping everyone except the rampaging juggernaut that is the 2014 Northwestern Wildcats offense. (Nope, I can’t explain it either.) But the Nits keep getting betrayed by their offense, specifically by a lack of depth and, well, talent on the offensive line. Penn State is 50 percent of a national title contender. Throw in the offense and that percentage goes all the way up to 57.
Indiana, meanwhile, is going to waste what has to be the biggest nonconference win in school history, and it’s all because of the same thing that has skeezixed many a Big Ten season in the past couple decades: quarterbacking. Losing Nate Sudfeld turned this season from hopeful to pretty much hopeless. It’s a shame. We talk so much about the “eye test” in college football. IU passes the eye test, at least in terms of clearly being better this year than it was last year. But that improvement isn’t likely to show up in the final record.
As for this game: I just don’t see Indiana having a sudden offensive breakout against the Penn State defense. I still believe Indiana has one impressive win yet to come this season. This just won’t be it.
The pick: Penn State 13, Indiana 10