Ohio State looks to push its undefeated streak to 20 games under Urban Meyer with division rival Penn State coming to town. The Buckeyes are currently ranked fourth, but significantly behind third-place Oregon in the BCS standings, so there's no margin for error in Ohio State's title chase.
Penn State, meanwhile, is coming off a thrilling comeback win in four overtimes against previously unbeaten Michigan two weeks ago (last week was a bye). Bill O'Brien isn't sending his team to a bowl any time soon because of sanctions, but the question of whether he can field and sustain a competitive program has been fully answered.
Rankings and records: The Buckeyes are 7-0 (3-0) and as mentioned before, No. 4 in the inaugural BCS standings. Penn State, meanwhile, boasts a 4-2 (1-1) mark. Ohio State has a 15-12 edge (14-8 after factoring in vacated games) in the series, including a 13-7 mark since Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993.
Vegas: Ohio State is a 14.5-point favorite with an over-under of 56.5 points, per OddsShark.
Weather: Bring your coats, because it'll be in the mid-40s with a chance of rain in Columbus on Saturday night.
Three names to know
Ohio State's at its best under Urban Meyer when it's mashing its opponents, and the head of that hammer is RB Carlos Hyde, who missed the first three games of the season but has since regained the team lead in rushing yards with 443 on the year. Hyde crushed Iowa for 149 yards and a pair of scores — the first TDs Iowa had given up on the ground all season — in a hard-fought 34-24 win last week.
For Penn State, freshman QB Christian Hackenberg has come into his own as the face and future of the Penn State program. Hackenberg led the Nittany Lions 80 yards on a game-tying drive in the last minute against Michigan, and he ended the day with more than 300 yards. Ohio State's secondary is still shaky — not bad, just inconsistent — so there may be some opportunity for numbers this week.
Finally, it seems weird to have to remind viewers to keep an eye on the guy who had his own Sports Illustrated cover as a Heisman contender just a few months ago, but Braxton Miller's knee injury has largely kept his 2013 season quiet. His performance against Iowa was probably his first "vintage Braxton" game, as he topped 100 yards on the ground and threw for 222 yards and a pair of scores. He looked pretty spectacular at times in the process, and if he has another game like that he can at least set his sights on first-team All-Big Ten for the season.
Two things at stake
Ohio State has to win... and keep winning... and keep winning. Even then it still may not be enough, as the Buckeyes will likely need at least a pair of losses ahead of them in the standings before any BCS Championship talk begins. Still, Ohio State needs to go undefeated or this discussion's over. Penn State's probably the best team OSU has faced this season but the fact that it's in Columbus makes a win likely.
For Penn State, a win here vaults the Nittany Lions right into division championship contention: they'd be tied with Ohio State at one loss and holding the head-to-head tiebreaker. They can't play in the Big Ten Championship Game because of ongoing postseason restrictions, but the division title would be enough to officially put the college football world on notice that Penn State football has survived the sanctions.
How to witness
TV: You will be looking live at Ohio Stadium on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Online streaming: As with all ESPN family games, this one will be available on WatchESPN.com.