Monday, May 18, 2009

ESPNs Schlabach: PSU Ranked 9th, BCS Bowl Game Contender

ESPNs Mark Schlabach's Top 25 (third revision) came out last week and with it was his preview for National Title contenders and BCS Bowl contenders. You'd think people could figure that out based on his rankings. Apparently they need help.

Penn State is ranked 9th heading into the end of spring. That's where they were in version two, which was a two-rank jump from version one. Schlabach has focused on the offensive deficiencies, especially at WR, during all three previews.

How they get to a BCS bowl game: Find some receivers. The Nittany Lions lost the trio of Deon Butler, Justin Norwood and Derrick Williams, who combined to catch 132 passes for 1,932 yards with 17 touchdowns last season. With three new starters on the offensive line, quarterback Daryll Clark might not have as much time to throw.

Biggest roadblock: at Illinois, Oct. 3

All due respect, but the WRs are nowhere near the top of the list for things that need to be fixed. OK, maybe "nowhere near" is a stretch. But I'd say, above all else, the secondary is definitely what must be fixed and should be why Penn State won't challenge for a national title or Big Ten Championship in 2009. After the secondary I'd say the offensive line followed by the WRs. We have depth and experience at WR; not so much along the OL and at DB.

I have to agree that the Illinois contest will be a tough one, mostly because it's on the road. Ditto for the Northwestern game (on Halloween). Plus the game versus the Wildcats is sandwiched between the game in Ann Arbor (10/24/09) and the hosting of the Buckeyes (11/7/09), which I believe is still the biggest roadblock. In fact It's mentioned as Ohio State's in his preview. Just because it is at home doesn't mean it won't be tough. I'd much rather play Illinois on the road 10 times than Ohio State at home 10 times. Ohio State is the better team. Period.

Late August can not get here soon enough!

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