Onward Debate: Who Should Penn Staters Root For In The Big Ten Championship?

This year’s Big Ten Championship is one that was least expected but desperately needed. The conference will finally have a new winner other than Ohio State for the first time since 2016. It is also the very first year that Michigan and Iowa will clash in a title game since its inception in 2011.

Iowa and Michigan are also fighting for their first conference title since 2004, a year in which they ended up sharing the crown. Jim Harbaugh is coaching in his first Big Ten title game since being hired in December 2014. On the other hand, the Hawkeyes are looking for revenge since losing their first title game to Michigan State back in 2015.

Since Penn State will not be competing, two of our staffers decided to share their thoughts on who to root for in the upcoming Big Ten title game.

Connor Krause: Iowa

After holding a 17-3 lead just over a quarter into the Nittany Lions’ early October matchup in Iowa City, Penn State’s offense sputtered due to a game-ending Sean Clifford injury, leading to the squad’s first loss of the season. If Clifford were healthy enough to finish the contest, Penn State would have likely been able to complement its defense enough to pull out a pivotal victory. 

While I’m not certain the Nittany Lions would have won the game with Clifford, I’m comfortable making the assumption that a healthy Penn State team is better than Iowa, which is why I’d rather see the Hawkeyes hoist the championship trophy over Michigan on Saturday night. 

Since Michigan’s last conference title in 2004, the Nittany Lions have won the Big Ten three times, with their latest crown coming in 2016.

If the Wolverines and Jim Harbaugh were to outlast Iowa and win the Big Ten, Michigan would finally be able to claim its spot as an elite program once again and earn its first-ever College Football Playoff spot before Penn State.

It’s no secret that Ohio State is the most dominant program in the Big Ten East, but who the Buckeyes’ biggest challenger in the division has always been up for debate. For the sake of Penn State, it would be best to see Michigan lose and continue the pursuit of its first Big Ten title in nearly two decades.

Tobey Prime: Michigan

Before I catch any hate by rooting for Michigan, let me just start out by saying that the Wolverines do, in fact, still suck. However, I will still cheer for them on Saturday night.

When you look at the Big Ten, specifically the Big Ten East, you usually have Ohio State, Penn State, or even Michigan State competing for the title on any given year. Michigan is the little brother, and as much as the Big Ten loves to bully that little brother, you still need to respect the grind. This will also be the first time that Michigan will ever be competing in a Big Ten title game with arguably one of the best Harbaugh squads to date.

The game against Iowa was the turning point to Penn State’s season this year. Whether or not you believe the Nittany Lions would have won if Sean Clifford didn’t get hurt, you still cannot deny the fact that the momentum of the season flipped after that game. Let’s not forget how Iowa fans booed Penn State’s injuries, either.

If Iowa ends up winning the championship, kudos to the Hawkeyes. However, it will leave me wondering what would have happened if Penn State won and where the Nittany Lions could have been. At least when it lost to Michigan, Penn State knew the College Football Playoff was out of the picture.

Regardless, put your pride aside and root for Michigan this one time. With a football program just as big as Penn State’s and a coach who is also criticized for not winning big games, root for the blue and maize. At least it’s not Ohio State.

Iowa and Michigan will face off on Saturday, December 4, for the Big Ten title. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m on FOX.

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About the Author

Tobey Prime

Tobey is a senior studying broadcast journalism from Lancaster, PA. He is a major Pittsburgh sports fan and Miami Heat fanatic. When Tobey isn't writing for Onward State, you can catch him looking at photos of his pugs. Send your best insults to [email protected] or sports takes to @tobey_prime on Twitter.

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