Penn State and Michigan enter their game at Beaver Stadium on Saturday on different notes. The Nittany Lions got crushed at Michigan last weekend to fall to 2-2, while the Gophers are a mostly unchallenged but still impressive 3-0.
Despite their circumstances, Penn State's a field goal favorite at home. That might not be unfair, as the Lions' two losses have come against two teams, Pitt and Michigan, who are better than anyone the Gophers have played so far - drastically so, in the Wolverines' case. The Nittany Lions have played a partly challenging schedule, beaten the bad teams, and lost to the better teams they've played, which has always been how it's gone in James Franklin's three seasons.
Minnesota is a team Penn State should beat, probably. We still don't know everything about the Gophers, and maybe they'll turn out to outplay Penn State and win. But it's tough to predict much here.
How to watch, stream and listen
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network. The broadcasters are Brandon Gaudin and Chuck Long.
Radio: Minnesota and Penn State
Online streaming: BTN2Go
Spread: Penn State opened as a 4-point favorite, but that line has shrunk.
Make friends: Get to SB Nation's team blog chats for this game at The Daily Gopher and Black Shoe Diaries.
Three big things to know
1. Minnesota's offense looks vastly improved. You can only glean so much from non-conference play, to be certain, but the Gophers came out of it averaging a cool 40 points per game. Quarterback Mitch Leidner hasn't been all that prolific, but he's been efficient and avoided big mistakes. Running backs The team's running for 5 yards per carry, with No. 2 back Kobe McCrary averaging 8.4 on 23 attempts. Leidner can get out of the pocket and move it a bit, too.
2. Penn State's still figuring some things out. The offense hasn't been consistent, and the defense has had some growing pains in replacing an entire line from last year. But Saquon Barkley's been his usual effective self, and tight end Mike Gesicki's emerged as a real threat in the passing game. Penn State's still putting in place the pieces to go up against an Ohio State or a Michigan and not get destroyed, but it's easy to see progress in some areas.
3. Don't count Minnesota out of the Big Ten West. It's easy to view the West as a two-horse race between Nebraska and Wisconsin, while forgetting that Minnesota's also without a loss and facing a similar schedule. We'll know a bit more after Wisconsin plays Michigan this weekend, but the Gophers have a real shot. If they can get to six or seven league wins, they'll be in the thick of the hunt to get to Indianapolis.