Details have finally been announced for one of the most anticipated Big Ten games of the year.
No. 4 Penn State will travel to No. 1 Ohio State for a noon kickoff Nov. 23. FOX will broadcast the game — and both FOX and BTN will air their network pregame shows from Columbus.
FOX, which has scheduled its top game for early kickoffs this season, revealed the specifics Wednesday afternoon.
The national implications for this game are far-reaching. Both programs earned top-four spots in the first release of the College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday evening, and at least one program is nearly assured of a spot. Who wins Nov. 23 and who loses will have a ripple effect on the entire face of the playoff — so it won’t just be Big Ten fans who are watching.
According to ESPN’s CFP Predictor, the Nittany Lions boast a 51 percent chance to make the playoff. Ohio State tops the nation with an 85 percent shot.
The loser of this game isn’t necessarily out of the playoff hunt, but it would certainly be a steep, upward battle. And winning carries a lot more incentives. Barring back-to-back losses by either team these next two weeks — which is incredibly unlikely — the Nov. 23 matchup will almost certainly determine what team represents the Big Ten East in the conference championship.
The Buckeyes have won the past two conference championships. And Penn State last won in 2016.
Only seven undefeated teams remain in the nation, and both Ohio State (8-0) and Penn State (8-0) are among them. The Nittany Lions will first have to get past unbeaten No. 17 Minnesota on Saturday and Indiana on Nov. 16, while the Buckeyes have Maryland on Saturday and Rutgers on Nov. 16.
Whether both teams remain undefeated for their Nov. 23 matchup or not, this game still has the potential to change the national landscape of the playoff race.