Penn State and Ohio State will face off Saturday afternoon in Columbus in a massive top-10 match-up that the Nittany Lions must win in order to keep their slim hopes of a Big Ten championship and a College Football Playoff berth alive.
But before players from either school take the field Saturday morning, an equally potent rivalry between ESPN and Fox Sports will kick off outside the friendly confines of Ohio Stadium.
With Penn State-Ohio State airing on Fox at noon, the network decided to take its new pregame show Big Noon Kickoff out of the studio and out on the road. Hosted by Rob Stone, the special two-hour edition will broadcast starting at 10 a.m. from Ohio State’s victory bell tower, then move into the stadium at 11 a.m.
While the show is packed with ex-college stars Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, and Brady Quinn, the big draw is former Ohio State head coach (and one-time ESPN analyst) Urban Meyer, who has been surprisingly effective as a studio analyst this season — especially during his “Urban’s Playbook” segments.
But the reigning champion of college football pregame shows is ESPN’s long-running College GameDay, which will broadcast live from the south lawn of St. John Arena, just north of Ohio Stadium. Host Rece Davis and analysts Kirk Herbtreit, Desmond Howard, and Lee Corso (who has been on the show since he joined ESPN in 1987) will all be on hand — along with a mystery guest picker — starting at 9 a.m.
So far, College GameDay has remained the TV ratings champ, averaging more than double the viewers of its Fox Sports counterpart and drawing its highest ratings in four years. But ESPN also had a 31-year head start, and Fox executives are undoubtedly pleased ratings are up compared to last year’s pregame show, which ran just 30 minutes.
“We’ve been doing this show for a long time, and have a lot of confidence of what we’ve been doing,” Herbstreit told reporters on Friday. “Respectfully, we don’t think much about anybody. We just continue to raise the bar and do the best we can."
It’s also worth mentioning that the Big Ten Network’s pregame show, BTN Tailgate, will also broadcast live from Columbus Saturday morning at 10 a.m., featuring Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith, and Michelle McMahon.
Here’s everything you need to know to watch and stream the game:
No. 8 Penn State Nittany Lions (9-1) at No. 2 Ohio State (10-0)
When: Saturday, Nov. 23
Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Time: 12 p.m. kickoff
TV: Fox (Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt, Jenny Taft)
Radio: 1210 WPHT via the Penn State Sports Network (Steve Jones, Jack Ham)
Streaming: Fox Sports app (requires cable authentication), fuboTV (free 7-day trial), Playstation Vue, Hulu with Live TV, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, Sling TV (all require a subscription)
Here’s a rundown of the network’s pregame coverage, all of which will broadcast live from Columbus:
Big Noon Kickoff: 10 a.m., Fox (Rob Stone, Urban Meyer, Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, Brady Quinn)
College GameDay: 9 a.m., ESPN (Rece Davis, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard, Kirk Herbstreit)
BTN Tailgate: 10 a.m., Big Ten Network (Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith, Michelle McMahon)
Other Saturday games worth watching
Texas A&M at No. 4 Georgia: 3:30 p.m., CBS (Brad Nessler, Gary Danielson, Jamie Erdahl)
Temple at No. 19 Cincinnati: 7 p.m., ESPN2 (Anish Shroff, John Congemi)
Arkansas at No. 1 LSU: 7 p.m., ESPN (Dave Pasch, Greg McElroy, Tom Luginbill)
Penn State football 2019 schedule
Aug. 31: Penn State 79, Idaho 7
Sept. 7: Penn State 45, Buffalo 13
Sept. 14: Penn State 17, Pittsburgh 10
Sept. 27: Penn State 59, Maryland 0
Oct. 5: Penn State 35, Purdue 7
Oct. 12: Penn State 17, Iowa 12
Oct. 19: Penn State 28, Michigan 21
Oct. 26: Penn State 28, Michigan St. 7
Nov. 9: Minnesota 31, Penn State 26
Nov. 16: Penn State 34, Indiana 27
Penn State at Ohio State, Saturday, Nov. 23, noon, Fox
Rutgers at Penn State, Saturday, Nov. 30, 3:30 p.m., BTN