Okay, so apparently the big hit on PSU is that we have a weak schedule mostly thanks to what is widely percieved as a fragile big ten. Who knew?
First, you can take stats/schedules/etc... and twist them to make them say whatever you want, but I firmly believe what I'm going to say.
I don't see the big ten as down as it has been. I think it is improved overall. Before this season all I heard was the big 2 little 9, essentially that the conference needed its traditionally lesser teams to step up. That has happened. I honestly believe that there are no absolutely AWFUL teams in the big ten this year. Purdue, UM, Iowa, and Indiana haven't been impressive, but Michigan at least has a puncher's chance every game due to the fact that they are well, Michigan. Instead of saying the league is down, I say there is more parody, i.e. Minnesota, Michigan St, and Northwestern being descent this year. So the bad records could just be the result of a more level playing field and the fact that anyone can beat anybody else. Not saying the Big Ten is on par with the Big 12 or SEC, but it is in my opinion miles ahead of the Big East, ACC, and Pac 10 as far as top-to-bottom goes and definitely at the top.
Side Note (who would have guessed that missing Minn. and NU off the schedule would HURT our s.o.s. this year?)
Also, when looking at the non conference schedule, Oregon St had back to back 9 win seasons and shared the Pac 10 title with USC a couple years back, and Syracuse had a 10 win year when we picked them. Schedule makers don't predict the future, so I have problems with this debate. Everybody plays at least SOME cupcakes, so stop it.
One last note: A sign of a great team is that they dominate weaker teams and do not have "trap" games. USC hasn't been great in my opinion, because they don't lose to teams on their level, they lose to Stanford at home. Florida should be out, you are not allowed to lose to Ole Miss at home. OU is still ok because they lost to an equally great Texas. The point is that there is a huge difference.
Sorry for the rambling, but I think this makes good sense.