College football: Week 9 sets up the ultimate test for Ohio State's streak
New York, New York - As Week 9 of college football approaches, multiple teams with an inside track to the playoff have big tests ahead of them.
The Tennessee Volunteers survived their biggest challenge so far this season in Week 7, outscoring Alabama 52-49.
On Saturday, the Vols face another big test with host Kentucky, who has impressed all season by knocking off top-ranked opponents.
Also in the SEC East, Georgia will travel to Florida to play in an annual "rivalry" game that is still in search of its own name.
On the West Coast, Oregon will play Cal after upsetting UCLA last weekend and in the Big 12, Oklahoma state will look to build on their Texas win as they head to Kansas State.
The biggest matchup this week, however, will come from the Big Ten Conference, with Ohio State making its way to Penn State for the Buckeyes' most important game to date. They've won five straight meetings against the Nittany Lions, who lost to Michigan in its conference division battle during Week 7.
This will be an important factor for the Big Ten Championship title race and ultimately, the playoffs seeding.
Week 9 game spotlight: Buckeyes v. Nittany Lions
All season long, Ohio State has been getting dragged by fans and former Michigan players for their "easier" schedule compared to other top-ranked programs.
Now the Buckeyes have their chance to definitively answer that "they ain't-played-nobody" accusation by defeating a ranked opponent for the first time.
So far this season, Ohio State has won every game by double digits and the past six by an average of 38.7 points.
Saturday, Ohio State fans will be treated to the exciting return of star wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who has been out with a hamstring injury and will once again have a plays limit.
If the Buckeyes overthrow No. 13 Penn State as projected, it will be a telling win at Beaver Stadium that will enhance their profile as they head into the first College Football Playoff rankings reveal.
Penn State and Ohio State will suit up on Saturday at Beaver Stadium at 12 PM EDT.
Cover photo: Emilee Chinn / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP