Friday, August 29, 2008

My expectations for Penn State football this season

This is going to be real short and sweet. Penn State kicks off the 2008 season tomorrow versus FCS school Coastal Carolina. They enter the season with relatively high hopes, the same kind the team and fan base have had since 2005. They expect to contend for a Big ten title and should not finish lower than 3rd.

With the amount of talent returning on offense this team should control the clock and therefore the game. The entire o-line returns in tact. We have 3 senior WRs. Evan Royster and Stephfon Green provide a dynamic 1-2 punch. Royster is vastly underrated. It all comes down to QBs Daryll Clark and Pat Devlin. Clark will start tomorrow but Devlin will see plenty of snaps early in the season. If Clark can play consistent, turnover free football, Penn State could surprise a few people.

Defense has been the staple of PSU football in recent years but this year they have some big question marks and depth issues. How will the linebacking corps handle the loss of senior Sena Lee? Can former walk-on Josh Hull step up in the middle? Will Navorro Bowman or Bani Gbayu become playmakers opposite Tyrell Sales? How will the depth at DT withstand a 13 game schedule? Is the secondary, worst unit on the team last year, improved? Despite all of these questions on defense, the team still has high hopes.

I see Penn State going 10-2 in Big Ten play with losses to Wisconsin and Ohio State. They should finally beat Michigan. They will beat Illinois. At 10-2 the worse bowl game they'd be in is the Outback Bowl (Big Ten #3). They could sneak into the Capital One Bowl if Wisconsin and Ohio State make the BCS. Not a bad year.

However, much like my NCAA 09 simulations, I could see Penn State finishing 9-4. They have a difficult October schedule and they could be bitten by looking ahead a game or two.

In the end, Penn State should finish somewhere between 11-2 and 9-4. Cut that down the middle and you get 10-3. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


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