PA – Penn State's Rose Bowl hopes are out the window, but the possibility of reaching a second consecutive BCS game is still in play if it can win its final two games.
Completing the first half of that equation shouldn't be too difficult.
Bet College Football Week 11
The 19th-ranked Nittany Lions will try to stay perfect against visiting Indiana on Saturday while looking to move on from a disheartening home loss.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made
State -22 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 70% of bets for this game have been placed on
Indiana +22 (View College Football bet percentages).
Penn State (8-2, 4-2 Big Ten) appeared to be in good shape for a second straight trip to Pasadena after previously unbeaten Iowa was upset by Northwestern last Saturday. That left the Nittany Lions needing to beat
State later that afternoon and have the Buckeyes knock off the Hawkeyes on Nov. 14 to gain the inside track to the conference's automatic BCS berth.
State was dominated by the Buckeyes, gaining 201 yards and nine first downs in a 24-7 loss. The Nittany Lions have beaten their eight currently unranked opponents by an average of 25.4 points, but have been outscored 45-17 in home losses to top-15 teams
"I mean every loss you take is tough, but this is more - it stinks," senior linebacker Sean Lee said. "When
State's got what it takes instead of us, losing the way we did, that's just going to leave a bad taste in our mouths."
Still, the Nittany Lions could wind up with a BCS berth. While the winner of Saturday's Ohio State-Iowa game will be headed to the Rose Bowl,
State simply needs to finish 14th or higher in the final BCS standings - it's 18th currently and visits 5-5
State next week - to qualify for one of four at-large berths.
The loser of the SEC championship figures to grab one and the highest-ranked non-BCS league champion - likely either TCU or
State - should earn another. That would leave two spots, and with Penn State's penchant for traveling well and garnering TV ratings, it could be picked despite having beaten just two opponents - Temple and Northwestern - with winning records.
"You know, 8-2 isn't a disaster," coach Joe Paterno said. "Obviously when you lose to a couple good football teams at home, you don't score a point in the second half against either one of them, you've got some concerns. ... I'll think about (the BCS) at the end if that happens."
The Hoosiers (4-6, 1-5) aren't expected to get in
State's way, having lost all 12 meetings. The last five in
Valley were decided by at least 14 points, including a 34-7 defeat last season.
Indiana will not be bowl eligible for the 15th time in 16 years unless it can upset
State and knock off Purdue next week, but it's certainly had chances to put itself in better position. Three of the Hoosiers' five conference losses have been by three points or fewer.
They blew fourth-quarter leads in losses at Northwestern and
Iowa to finish October, but on Saturday against
Wisconsin they were nearly the team rallying in the final 15 minutes.
Indiana scored twice in the fourth but fell 31-28 for its sixth loss in seven games.
"We know what we've got to go do, we've just got to go do it," said quarterback Ben Chappell, who threw for 323 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. "It's now or never, so we better buck up and do the little things and if not, we're not going to get where we want to be."
Chappell figures to have his hands full against Penn State's defense, which is tied for second nationally in sacks (32), third in scoring (10.8 points per game) and eighth in total yards (264.6).
The Nittany Lions have given up 362.0 yards per game the past two weeks, however, and failed to register a sack against the Buckeyes.
State also will be looking for a better performance from senior quarterback Daryll Clark in his final home game.
Clark has 17 touchdown passes and four interceptions in the Nittany Lions' eight wins, compared to one TD and four picks in their losses.
"I'm very confident that myself and all of the leaders of this football team will make sure that we throw this away, as painful as it is, and just continue to move on," said Clark, who threw for 240 yards and two TDs against Indiana last year. "We have to get a 'W' and just keep rolling."
Bet College Football Week 11
Posted: 11/10/09 7:54PM ET