At the start of each week, Land of 10 will break down the postseason implications, and projections, to come out of the Penn State Nittany Lions’ latest contest …
What happened: The Lions (2-0) rocked Pittsburgh at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, 33-14. It was the first meeting between the two programs in State College since 1999 and the Lions’ fifth consecutive home win against the Panthers dating back to 1990. Saquon Barkley’s Heisman Trophy train kept rolling on the strength of 133 yards from scrimmage and 2 touchdowns.
What it means: There’s a new king in town. After Ohio State laid an egg at home against Oklahoma, the Lions open Week 3 as the Big Ten’s highest-ranked team across the board and, more importantly, the league’s top contender for a spot in the College Football Playoff. Provincially, it’s payback for a frustrating defeat at Heinz Field last year and a not-so-subtle reminder as to who Big Brother in the Keystone State really is. Penn State’s next chance to flex its muscles on a national stage will come Sept. 23 at Iowa in the league opener.
Projected record: Massey Ratings — 10-2; TeamRankings.com — 10-2
Projected postseason destination: Cotton Bowl, Dec. 29 in Arlington, Texas, vs. an at-large New Year’s 6 opponent.
Cheapest seat on TicketCity.com as of Sunday: $108
Up next: Georgia State at home on Saturday. The Panthers (0-1) are coming off a bye week after dropping their home opener to Tennessee State, 17-10, back on Aug. 31. In that game, played at Georgia State Stadium, a.k.a., the former Turner Field, Georgia State turned the ball over four times and ran for just 49 yards. Time heals all wounds, but against a Lions defense that’s leading the Big Ten in scoring (7.0 points allowed per game) and ranks fourth in total defense (250.5 yards allowed per game), this weekend has the makings of a fairly healthy curb-stomping.