This is the TRUE B1G championship this weekend. Arguably, these are the two best teams at the moment, undefeated in the conference, yet ineligible to play for the actual championship in December.
Ohio State has escaped with a few close shaves at home this season, including last week's overtime nail biter over Purdue with QB Braxton Miller already at the hospital. QB Kenny Guiton saved the Buckeyes on a tremendous final drive, but Miller projects to be back in this one.
The last time Penn State faced a truly mobile quarterback who had anywhere near the skill that Miller possesses was in game one against Ohio's Tyler Tettleton. That didn't go well for the Nittany Lions. Penn State has come a LONG way since then and this team doesn't appear as if it's scared of anyone at this point.
As such, I think the most underrated player in the B1G keeps Ohio State at bay throughout…PSU QB Matt McGloin. If Cal and Purdue gave OSU's defense fits, McGloin can twist them in knots. But, in the end, Miller will save OSU's season with a scintillating fourth quarter to walk away with win number nine for the Bucks.
Ohio State - 23 vs. Penn State - 20
The Proving Ground. The 100 yards of green grass at Bryant-Denny Stadium will be just that on Saturday as Mississippi State has its one true opportunity to prove how good it actually is. Seven wins? Pshaw, means nothing when you look at what teams the Bulldogs have trounced this year. But, go toe-to-toe with Alabama, win or lose, and Dan Mullen's Bulldogs will be perceived in a whole different light.
So, go prove it.
Match physical for physical in Tuscaloosa. Know that the Crimson Tide will run the ball all day long and answer the bell. The Crimson Tide offensive line knows that you know that Alabama is going to run the ball and it doesn't care. It'll drive front sevens into the ground and make them like it.
The Bulldogs have to stem, slant and do what Missouri didn't do, guess properly. On numerous occasions, Missouri slanted itself right out of good run defense "fit" going the wrong direction and Alabama housed the Tigers repeatedly on the ground.
The Bulldogs are a more stern test for Alabama than Missouri was and if Mississippi State can force the Crimson Tide to throw, 'Bama QB AJ McCarron will have to succeed against one of the top secondaries in the SEC, led by All-American candidate Johnathan Banks.
In the end, though, Alabama will smother Mississippi State on both sides of the ball and Alabama will turn the Bulldogs over a couple of key times in this one to eliminate any shot MSU has of pulling the upset.
Alabama - 27 vs. Mississippi State - 15