With the College Football season now less than 30 days away from getting started, GDB's resident expert Young Swole will begin unleashing his preseason top 25. Today we look at the Penn State Nittany Lions.
Penn State is one of those schools that is more known for its coach than players or recent on-field results. The Joe Paterno retirement story seems to be the only news that has come out of Happy Valley in recent years, which not only shows how much he means to the school but also how average his football team has become. While every few years the Nittany Lions seem to break through and have a solid year, more times than not they hover in the middle of the Big 10. Will this be one of the better recent teams, and will it possibly be Paterno's last season in State College? Lets find out.
Offense: The best thing that happened all offseason for Penn State was that Anthony Morelli used up his eligibility. The only QB in the nation who might possibly match him in overall shittiness last year was Sean Glennon. With Morelli history, Penn State now has to choose between classic passer Pat Devlin or the more athletic Darryl Clark. Chances are they will use both, and that both players will be an upgrade at the position. The Lions have 2 explosive running backs in Evan Royster and Stephon Green, and solid recievers in Derrick Williams and Deon Butler. If the quarterback play improves, its quite possible that Penn State will have the most explosive offense in the Big 10.
Defense: A lot of the big names of recent years have moved on, and their best returning defender is out for the year with injury, but Penn State should continue to have a solid unit. They have a deep and talented group of D-Linemen and they always seem to have good linebackers. The secondary should be respectable, though there doesn't seem to be many game changers back there. One possible question mark is that many of the top defensive players are epic thugs, and have either been suspended for off-field incidents or recently came back from them. If these knuckleheads manage to stay off the police blotter and on the field, Penn State should have their usual solid defense.
Coaching: I'm not going to say a lot of bad things about Paterno, he's an icon in college football and his record speaks for itself. While many are saying he's too old to coach, I think the bigger problem is the apparent lack of control for the players on the football team when it comes to staying out of trouble. Its obvious that some players simply don't respect old JoePa, which is why the program is turning into Thug Central. Paterno doesn't do much technical coaching anymore anyway, but if he can manage to keep his goons on the field he will be doing all he needs to now that he's nearing 200 years of age.
Schedule and Predicted Outcomes:
Coastal Carolina - W
Oregon State - W
@ Syracuse - W
Temple - W
Illinois - W
@ Purdue - W
@ Wisconsin - L
Michigan - W
@Ohio State - L
@ Iowa - W
Indiana - W
Michigan State - W
The schedule sets up pretty easily for Penn State this year. They have 7 winnable home games and only 2 real challenges on the road. Even if they lose to Wisconsin and Ohio State, they will still have a really good chance for those to be their only losses on the season. I'd like to think another loss will emerge on the schedule, but outside of Michigan State or Illinois at home, I frankly don't see where its going to come from which is why Penn State has a really legit shot at going 10-2 this year