Games to watch: Buckeyes’ quest for perfection continues

Clark Dalton

No. 8 Penn State at No. 2 Ohio State

11:00 a.m., FOX

Throughout the season, the Buckeyes have been dubbed the most complete team in college football. But they still have to clinch a spot in the Big Ten Football Championship Game. This week they face a huge test against Penn State. The Nittany Lions have been a spoiler to the Buckeyes’ aspirations before, shocking them in 2016. This year Penn State is ready again, and standing at 9–1. Sophomore running back Journey Brown is blossoming, coming off consecutive 100-yard performances. Nonetheless, the Buckeyes are nearly three-touchdown favorites. Ohio State is averaging 52 points a game while allowing only 10. Ohio State also gets junior defensive end Chase Young back after a two-game suspension, so it’s an uphill battle for the Nittany Lions in the Horseshoe.

No. 6 Oregon at Arizona State

6:30 p.m., ABC

Oregon is on the cusp of getting back to the College Football Playoff for the first time since 2014. After dropping their first game to Auburn, the Ducks have raised their play, winning nine games in a row. Oregon has played with a nice balance on offense, passing for an average of 281 yards per game and rushing for 180 yards. Arizona State is only 5–5, but they have long-term potential. True freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels has played well, tossing 14 touchdowns. The Sun Devils are also one game away from bowl eligibility, which makes the possibility of upsetting Oregon even more stirring. 

Temple at No. 19 Cincinnati 

6:00 p.m., ESPN2

The American Athletic Conference race continues to grow more interesting week by week as several teams rush to the finish line for a New Year's Six bowl. One of these teams is Cincinnati. The Bearcats are 9–1 thanks to an offense that averages 205 yards rushing per game. Temple is 7–3 and has flashes of greatness, but they still need one more win to build a stronger reputation in the AAC. Both teams have a high confidence level which could produce another great game in an intriguing conference.

No. 25 SMU at Navy

2:30 p.m., CBSSN

Former Texas quarterback Shane Buechele has found a home in Dallas. Buechele, has transformed the Mustangs’ offense, throwing 28 touchdown passes. The newfound passing attack has opened up opportunities for other playmakers. Senior running back Xavier Jones and senior wide receiver James Proche have combined for 30 touchdowns. This week, the dynamic offensive trio faces off against Navy. The Midshipmen are the antithesis of the Mustangs, and they play an old-school brand of college football. Navy runs a triple option offense that steamrolls over opponents for an average of 350 rushing yards per game. Opponents struggle to pass against Navy, averaging just 213 yards per game. The game marks an important turning point for SMU, since it will determine if they can succeed against their polar opposite.

No. 13 Michigan at Indiana

2:30 p.m., ESPN

The Wolverines have been on an emotional rollercoaster this season. Since their embarrassing loss to Wisconsin early in the season, they’ve won six of their last seven games. They’ve won their last three games by an average of 32 points. This week, however, a win might not come easily in Bloomington, Indiana. The Hoosiers stood their ground against Penn State. Junior quarterback Peyton Ramsey threw for 371 yards. This could be a moment for Indiana, but it could also help Michigan earn momentum before a matchup against Ohio State.​​​​​​​