FOS (Franklin) / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports (Harbaugh)

FOS FEARLESS FORECAST: Penn State-Michigan

FightOnState.com's crack(ed) staff and friends give their predictions for the Nittany Lions' home finale vs. Michigan.

Mark Brennan (mxbscout)

Comment: I'm to the point where I'm going to have to see it to believe it before I can pick Penn State against a ranked opponent — even at home. There have been too many key breakdowns in the biggest games this season from the offense, defense, special teams and even the coaches. Plus, expect the noon kick to mitigate the effectiveness of the White Out. Yes, Michigan is overrated. But so was Northwestern, and you saw how that turned out.

Prediction: Michigan 21, Penn State 16

Scott Cole (PSU96)

Comment: Talk has grown louder as the season has progressed about the need for James Franklin to have a signature win for his tenure. That talk ends Saturday. Penn State matches up very well against the Wolverines, especially on defense as the Wolverines run a traditional pro-style offense. This will be a very physical game, and the Nittany Lion defenders will rise up, play their hearts out for the seniors and lead the team to a hard-fought upset of Michigan.

Prediction: Penn State 20, Michigan 16

Harvey Levine/FOS

Keith “Goon” Conlin (keithconlin)

Comment: PSU always plays well on Senior Day because the rest of the team wants to send the seniors out with a victory. These guys deserve a lot of credit because of what they went through and because they stayed. They could have left and we owe it to them to support them. In honor of the 20-year anniversary of MY last home game — The Snow Bowl — PSU runs a fake field goal late and The Toe runs over six Michigan players en route to the score.

Prediction: Penn State 27, Michigan 17

Nirav Dalal (PlaybookNirav)

Comment: Despite coming off of a bye week, Penn State will struggle to move the ball on this Michigan defense, which will be playing with a chip on its shoulder. And there is just too much talent at the receiver position for the Penn State defense to keep up. I see a close game at halftime but Michigan pulling away in the third quarter.

Prediction: Michigan 31, Penn State 17

USA Today - Rick Osentoski

Mark Harrington (PlaybookMark)

Comment: The bye week, a White Out and Senior Day would traditionally set up Penn State nicely for a victory. But given the offensive ups and downs the unit has seen, this one will likely be a dogfight. I like how the defense matches up with the Wolverines and think the “Wild Dogs” and Saquon Barkley give the Nittany Lions a slight edge.

Prediction: Penn State 24, Michigan 21

Tom Hoffman (underscoreTom)

Comment: Penn State's bye week came too late, yet came at the right time. Many guys on the two-deep have been nursing at least minor injuries for some time. Some of the younger guys were hitting the wall, so a week off gave them a break. Enter Michigan, a team that wishes it had a bye week right about now to combat some injuries and general defensive struggles. But this is also a Michigan team that controls its own destiny for the B1G Championship game. Michigan has been in close ones on the road (except for an Edsall-led Maryland team starting INT machine Caleb Rowe) and Penn State is definitely much more comfortable at home, so I expect another close one.

Prediction: Michigan 24, Penn State 22

Tom McLaughlin (WeRPSUPlaybook)

Comment: The good news is that Michigan is a very beatable team this year. The bad news — so is Penn State. And the Lions have shown a terrible weakness, that of playing to the level of the competition. It makes for close, exciting games, but Penn State has not shown the killer instinct needed to put away better opponents. The Nittany Lions are also notoriously slow out of the gate for noon games. The combination looks to be ominous against a team that desperately needs this win.

Prediction: Michigan 24, Penn State 17

Harvey Levine/FOS

Donovan Neal (PSUMtnBike)

Comment: While the rebuilding Nittany Lions play much better at home, noon starts seem to dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm and lead to sluggish play on the field. This Michigan team is loaded with upperclassmen and has a defensive front five that will give a bad offensive line nightmares. Penn State has such an offensive line.  After the Northwestern loss, it's hard to see Penn State winning this game.

Prediction: Michigan 27, Penn State 13

Rob Riva (rriva)

Comment: Despite playing a very beatable Michigan team, Penn State has not shown than it can pull out a win against a ranked opponent. The Wolverines have found ways to win the last couple of weeks, even if it hasn't been pretty, while Penn State found a way to lose against its last ranked opponent. With Penn State fielding a poor punting game — combined with the one of the Big Ten's worst third-down offenses matching up against the Big Ten's best third-down defense — this has the feeling of a game that could get out of hand sooner rather than later, with Michigan playing regularly with a short field against a gassed defense.

Prediction: Michigan 27, Penn State 6


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