Penn State-Michigan is a big one. Here’s what the NSN staff thinks is going to happen.
Logan Carney: Penn State is 5-0 and ranked in the top 10, but I’m still not convinced that these things are an accurate depiction of the team. Each win this season, except for their blowout of lowly Auburn, has felt underwhelming. Is this a true top 10 team? Or is this just like last season when when Penn State started 5-0 and was ranked No. 4 but with five really underwhelming wins, in hindsight?
That team ended up finishing 7-6 overall, far from a top 10 team in the country. I don’t think this year’s team will suffer a similar fate, but I also don’t give them much of a chance at beating either Michigan or Ohio State.
Penn State just hasn’t convinced me its a top 10 team yet. Let me see it beat somebody better than Purdue, or blowout a team other than a really bad Auburn squad. I think Michigan, a true top 10 team, wins by two scores in the Big House.
Michigan 34, Penn State 21
Brandon Walker: Penn State has looked a little bit up and down during the past two games but it’s still 5-0 and ranked in the top 10.
With that being said it goes without saying that this is Penn State’s biggest test of the season. The same goes for Michigan. This game will come down to one the linebackers stopping running back Blake Corum, and whether or not Parker Washington and Mitchell Tinsley make enough big plays on the outside against Michigan’s secondary.
This game will be close but I will pick Michigan because Sean Clifford hasn’t proven that he can beat a team as good or better than Penn State in his career. Until he does, I will have to choose Michigan in a one-score game.
Michigan 27, Penn St 24
Alan Saunders: Michigan played nobody in non-conference and has yet to face even a decent Big 10 foe, so it is tough to handicap the Wolverines.
But needless to say, this will be the biggest test for the PSU offense to date, and it will take a strong game from Sean Clifford for the Lions to leave the Big House with a win. I’m thinking he’ll come up just short.
Michigan 21, PSU 17
Mike Asti: This could be a pivotal game and moment for Penn State. A win, and people’s eyes are fully open to the Nittany Lions staying an elite team all season. A loss, and the perception will be that PSU is a step above most of the Big Ten, but also still a step or two behind Michigan and Ohio State. For anyone who says PSU is 5-0 due to their schedule, look at Michigan’s. The Wolverines haven’t come close to this kind of test yet and have still looked vulnerable at times. But I do think Michigan gets up for this game and can take advantage of any mistakes by Clifford. Michigan will feast if PSU has any tackling issues.
Michigan 30, PSU 24.
Jarrod Prugar: Not much is known about how for real either of these teams truly are. Penn State struggled in a swampy mess against Northwestern, but went to Jordan-Hare and dismantled Auburn.
Michigan let Iowa’s offense show competency, but has demolished some of the lowly teams in college football. This game will be won in the trenches and Penn State matches up well in that regard. Best thing going in this game for Penn State is that it’s at noon in the Big House.
Penn State 27, Michigan 24
Joe Smeltzer: My gut tells me this will be either a close win for Penn State or a Michigan rout. Not counting the COVID year of 2020, when there were no fans, Penn State has lost its last two games in “the Big House” by a combined 74 points, so my instincts think another blowout is possible based on that. I don’t think a blowout the other way is happening. If Penn State wins, its going to have to come in a dogfight.
With that said, I have a hard time predicting a blowout, but feel that Michigan will win, so I’m going to go against my gut somewhat and pick Michigan in a close one. It’s easy to forget because it ended up winning 41-12, but Penn State’s defense struggled against Auburn at times, particularly in tackling. It won’t get away with that against Blake Corum and Michigan.
Michigan 34, Penn State 27