Life in the Big Ten East is a challenge on its own. The top four teams in the division all fall within the first 14 spots of the preseason rankings. Add in a crossover game with Wisconsin, and Penn State faces perhaps the toughest conference schedule of any team in the nation. In our first preseason roundtable, the Roar Lions Roar staff debates the year's biggest contest.
Craig Fritz: I tried to pick a game other than Ohio State, but it just didn't add up. The Buckeyes are the most talented team on Penn State's schedule, and the winner will be in the driver's seat for the Big Ten East title and a trip to Indianapolis. I'm not sure the Nittany Lions have faced a game with such massive implications so early in the season. It's going to be an absolute mad house.
Dan Smith: Ohio State. The biggest home game of the year against the conference favorite, and this time it's early in the season when it can really set a tone. A win over the Buckeyes will vault the Nittany Lions into the conference driver's seat, with the stakes skyrocketing for later season matchups with Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin.
Bill DiFilippo: Ohio State. This one's easy: It could be a matchup of two top-5 teams depending on how things go down during the first few weeks of the season, it has Big Ten and College Football Playoff implications, it's in Happy Valley, and the last two games between these teams have been decided by a total of four points. This game has decided the winner of the Big Ten each of the last two years. It very well might decide it for a third year in a row.
John Morgan: Ohio State. The game is early in the season and is at home so it's really going to set the early tone for the division crown.
Kevin Fay: This is going against the grain, but Pitt. The rest of the games don't mean much if they don't make it past the first hurdle.
Joe McIntyre: Ohio State. I was tempted to pick Michigan because they have some wiggle room if they lose to the Buckeyes and still make the playoff, but the Ohio State game is the biggest game in Beaver Stadium in at least...nine years? It’s bigger than any home game I can remember in a long time.
Kaitlyn Dividock: Penn State has to beat *both* Ohio State and Michigan State, as both of these massive conference matchups are set inside Beaver Stadium. The Spartans aren't as menacing as the Buckeyes, but they're swarming with talent that could easily trip up the Nittany Lions if they're not careful.
Matt de Bear: It just has to be Ohio State. The last two editions have been decided by just four total points, and ultimately settled the Big Ten Championship. If both sides hold serve over the season's first four weeks, it will be the first matchup between top-10, undefeated teams in Beaver Stadium in who knows how long. It does not get any bigger than that.
Let us know your pick in the comments.