4. It’s okay to lose at Penn State, but …
Don’t lose at Penn State on September 29th.
5-1 against the Nittany Lions over the last six seasons, making it six in seven would go a long, long way to getting back to the Big Ten Championship.
There are still way too many tough games remaining to suffer a key loss in September, and it also opens the door for the Nittany Lions to kick in a second Big Ten title in three years.
However, even though this is a strong Nittany Lion squad, it still has to go to Michigan and face Michigan State and Wisconsin at home. It might lose two games the rest of the way, but if it’s good enough to beat Ohio State, it’s good enough to potentially finish 11-1 and get to the conference championship.
If the Buckeyes roll through everyone else, they can pull a 2016 and potentially get in without winning the East. But that’s asking for a massive break, and it’ll take a close-call loss to remain in consideration.
If they can get through September 5-0, they’ll have wins over TCU and Penn State on the resumé, along with wins over Oregon State, Rutgers and Tulane. That’s a terrific start with the schedule lightening up a bit with Indiana and Minnesota at home for the next two games. And then …