In early September, when Kyle Carter found out Penn State was eligible for the Big Ten's Leaders Division title, he posted the news on Twitter. Several teammates retweeted the message right away.
"The whole team seemed like they were ready to rally around it and that we have something to play for," Carter said.
That was a message shared by several players this week. As Penn State begins its Big Ten schedule with a game at Illinois, the Leaders Division title, the only thing it can win, is on the players' minds.
"For older guys it's something we can go out on and hopefully be on top," defensive tackle Jordan Hill said.
Penn State's division foes are Ohio State, Illinois, Purdue, Wisconsin and Indiana. Only Ohio State is ranked, illustrating the lack of quality the Big Ten has been criticized for so far this season.
Most of the Penn State players had little to add about this topic. They hadn't watched enough Big Ten yet to make a judgment on its relative strength.
Carter said he did pay attention to the talk and sees the perceived weakness as an opportunity.
"It just gives us more of a chance to come out here and try to win this Leaders Division," he said.