College football’s primetime slot on Saturday is going to be must-see television because it features two top ten matchups. Seventh-ranked Stanford as its second big game in a row as it squares off with eighth-ranked Notre Dame. And in a game that might just decide the Big Ten East champion, fourth-ranked Ohio State travels to Happy Valley to take on ninth-ranked Penn State in the midst of a whiteout. Let’s take a look at how those games will play out.
Standford vs Notre Dame
Both Stanford and Notre Dame have quality wins on their resume, with Notre Dame winning its opener against Michigan and Stanford winning a nail-biter at Oregon, so both teams are fully capable of winning this game. However, the Fighting Irish will have a slight edge for two reasons. The first and most obvious reason is home-field advantage, as a night game in South Bend provides a hostile environment. Just ask Michigan, who would probably have beaten Notre Dame if it were not in South Bend. The next reason is that Notre Dame seems to be gradually playing to their potential. They no longer have a one-dimensional offense with Brandon Wimbush at quarterback. Instead they have Ian Book running the offense, who played well against LSU last season and against Wake Forest last week. Because of those two reasons, and Stanford’s possible exhaustion from playing its second big night game away from home in a row, expect the Irish to pull out a 24-10 victory.
Ohio State vs Nittany Lions
It seems like that in recent history the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes only produce classics when they face each other. In 2014 Ohio State pulled off a double overtime victory in Happy Valley that was a major stepping stone in its national championship season. In 2016 Penn State shocked the world when it toppled the second-ranked Buckeyes with a blocked field goal that was returned for a touchdown, the play that has brought Penn State back into prominence. And in 2017 Ohio State pulled off an incredible comeback to stun the second-ranked Lions in the Horseshoe. In short, this game is going to be a good one. Two of the best offenses in the country are going to be facing off in front of 110,000 people all draped in white. Dwayne Haskins has been unstoppable with 16 touchdowns in just four games, and Trace McSorley has displayed his killer instinct and clutch ability multiple times this season. Although both teams have suspect defenses, Ohio State has a slight edge in talent over Penn State. However, the whiteout is too big of an x-factor for talent to overcome and Ohio State has a history of struggling in that environment. In what will go down as the game of the year, Penn State will narrowly win 42-38.