A capsule look at Bill O'Brien's weekly news conference.
Opponent: Ohio State (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten)
Last time vs. Penn State: The Lions won last year in Columbus, 20-14
Kickoff: Saturday, 5:30 p.m., Beaver Stadium
Line: PSU started out as a 2 1/2-point favorite, but it's now a pick 'em; over/under is 50.
Yes, it is a big game: Coaches often downplay the significance of big games, and O'Brien tried to at first. But this is PSU's biggest game of the season, and the coach appeared to understand that. "For me to sit up here and say it's not a big game, that's crazy," O'Brien said. "This is Ohio State, a great tradition, great players, great head coach, great coaching staff. So it's a big game."
Proud for players: With everything his players have been through during the scandal, O'Brien seems thrilled for them to be in this position with a chance to establish themselves as the best team in the Big Ten. "I would definitely say that these guys have earned the right to play in this type of game," he said. "They've put a lot of time in. They've been through a lot. They've done it. Everything that we've asked them to do, they've done."
Who's the underdog?: O'Brien did a telling little facial gesture and slightly shook his head "no" when told that Ohio State coach Urban Meyer may have suggested the Buckeyes would be the underdogs in this game because of all the talent PSU has on its roster. O'Brien repeatedly pointed out reasons why he thinks Ohio State could give his team problems. "We're playing probably the best team in the Big Ten," he said. The coach also noted, "Ohio State is the most talented team we've played to this point in the season. They're an excellent football team. They're 8-0, and they have very, very good players at every position."
Crowd noise: O'Brien used to frequently mention the 108,000 fans issue when talking about the good things about PSU football, but attendance average is down to 96,357 this year. "I obviously expect 108,000 fans there, and I think our fans will be very, very supportive of our team on Saturday night," O'Brien said.
Student body right (outside): More than 1,000 students are camped outside Beaver Stadium this week at Nittanyville, formerly Paternoville. "I can't say enough about our student body," O'Brien said. "I've been over there before -- I think it was the Northwestern game -- and obviously there's more kids there now. I mean, that's just what this place is all about. Student body that works hard in the classroom, supports their football team and all their athletic teams. It's unbelievable." He again reiterated that he wants the students to show up early for the game.
Birthday boy: O'Brien turned 43 Tuesday, but he said he had no special plans and even joked about it. "I'm not a big birthday guy," he said. "I'm not, my wife will list all the things I really don't enjoy: Birthdays, weddings, theme parks, the beach. But no, I found out it was my birthday when my older brother texted me. He said: 'Happy Birthday.' And that's when I figured it was my birthday."