Penn State will run the first half of the season as the toughest team in the Big Ten, but will eventually fall short by one or two games. Joe Paterno’s boys from University Park easily have the best defense in the Big Ten, as they do perennially.
The key for the Nittany Lions outside of keeping the defense strong is being able to utilize the running game, with junior Evan Royster leading the way behind senior quarterback Daryll Clark. Clark has a young receiving corps, and Paterno will need to rely heavily on the run. The offensive line has to step up to give Clark’s receivers time, and set up good blocks for Royster. The Penn State offense is shaky.
Penn State will easily handle Eastern Illinois, Minnesota, and Northwestern. Penn State will have a borderline game against Iowa, but the home field advantage will help them eke out a win against the Hawkeyes.
Games to watch: The Nittany Lions have the unfortunate luck to have to travel to Ann Arbor to take on Rich Rodriguez’s Wolverines. The defense will hold tight, but the offense won’t be able to score on Michigan’s defense either. This is a low scoring contest, seeing which team is able to break the line first. Penn State will fall 10-14, with all of the scores coming in the second half.
Then will come one of the most anticipated match-ups of the year in the Big Ten with the Buckeye’s strolling into University Park. Jim Tressel’s Buckeyes will suffocate in the secondary, and the running game will have nowhere to go. The Nittany Lions will take it 24-10.
The closing game will take Navy and Blue into East Lansing for a final showdown against the Spartans. This will be a surprisingly fun game to watch, but Penn State will eventually take control and win 17-10.