It's pretty clear that even just a few weeks ago, the battle for the Land Grant Trophy was supposed to be one of the better games of the Big Ten's final weekend. In fact, television stations even picked this game over Minnesota-Wisconsin, which will decide the West Division. But Michigan State has fallen out of the national picture a bit after losing to Ohio State (even though the Spartans have still looked very good) and the wheels have really fallen off Penn State since a solid start to the season.
The Nittany Lions started the year 4-0, but have gone just 2-5 since, with a blowout loss at home to Northwestern, a loss at Michigan, a near-loss against Indiana, which is winless in the Big Ten, and perhaps its worst loss of the season last week at Illinois. PSU has really struggled on offense, thanks to a weak offensive line, and they're inching closer to 6-6 in James Franklin's first year, despite having a quarterback with pro potential in Christian Hackenberg.
This game will be on national television, but that doesn't mean it will be a good one, and Penn State is going to have to play its best game of the season to win.
How to watch, listen, and stream
Game time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Rankings and records: Michigan State is 9-2 and ranked 10th by the College Football Playoff selection committee. Penn State is 6-5 and unranked.
Weather forecast: Mostly cloudy with a high of 39 and a low of 36.
Two things at stake
Michigan State needs to win this game to stay alive for an at-large berth to one of the New Year's bowls.
A win would help Penn State in bowl positioning and provide some nice momentum for James Franklin heading into next year. A blowout loss could mean bad things for the Nittany Lions' bowl prospects.
One big matchup
Penn State offense vs. Michigan State defense: Michigan State's offense is underrated, but the Spartans' defense is still very solid, and it has to worry Penn State, which has had problems running any offense this year, due to a weak offensive line. Don't be surprised if Nittany Lions quarterback Chirstian Hackenberg is under siege for much of the night, and if PSU has an especially bad day on offense, then we might need to get ready for a shutout watch. Penn State has to have its best offensive outing of the year to win this game. That doesn't seem likely.