1. PENN STATE WIN TOTAL PREDICTION: WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN
There’s a whole bunch of talent, and there are enough good parts to be fantastic, but there’s also a lot of loose ends that need to be tied up.
Can Sean Clifford really handle the starting quarterback gig now that the pressure is on?
Can RB Ricky Slade really be consistent and explosive, and can the offensive line tighten up in pass protection and thump away for the ground attack?
Can the blocking on special teams improve in a big, big way? Can the fumbles slow down, and can the team as a whole be more consistent?
James Franklin has done a wonderful job – winning 31 games in three seasons – but he has to put this interesting talent puzzle together, and his program is still in the Big Ten East.
Set The Regular Season Win Total At … 9
Idaho, Buffalo, Pitt, at Maryland – after getting a week off to prepare – Purdue. If Penn State is worth even being in the conversation for the Big Ten title, it has to start out 5-0, even with all of the different concerns that have to be dealt with.
Fortunately, there are enough light and bouncy games to sharpen up for when the season starts on October 12th.
The Nittany Lions have to go to Iowa, then deal with Michigan, then go to Michigan State. There’s no Wisconsin, Northwestern or Nebraska from the West to face, but the road game at Minnesota won’t be a peach – even with a week off to prepare – and there’s still that date at Ohio State looming.
Figure Penn State wins one of those nasty East games against either MSU or OSU, drops the date against Michigan, loses one game it really, really shouldn’t – watch out for letdown time against Indiana – and ends up with a nine-win regular season, with a shot at ten in the bowl game.