Because you wanted to know: Scouting the PSU @ Alabama 2010 matchup

C'mon, admit it.  You were curious.  I know I was.  This game has enormous implications.  It's the first good OOC game in years, it's against ZOMG SEC!!! and it's an old-school rivalry that dates back to 1959 when an integrated Penn State team beat an all-white Alabama team 7-0 in the Liberty Bowl.  Currently PSU is 6th (801) and Alabama 7th (799) in all time wins. 

Here's how the rosters shape up.  I made the following assumptions:

1.  Royster is going to have a monster season and leave for the NFL.  You'd be a fool to turn down 1st round money and risk injury when you already have your degree as he will by year's end.  Plus in this year's RB class he could be top 3.

2.  Bowman is leaving.  Same reason Royster is.

3.  I'm going to predict starters for next season before this season even starts.  That's crazy.  But that's just how I roll.

PSU Offense (1 TE 3 WR 1 RB):

Returning Starters:  7/11

OL:  4/5 (only lose Landolt)

RB: 0/1

QB: 0/1

WR: 3/3

TE: 0/1

Obvious strengths?  Solid line, veteran receivers, and good potential at RB.

Obvious weakness?  QB.  Seriously, we're going to be running the ball.   A lot.

Alabama Defense (3-4):

Returning Starters: 4/11

DL: 0/3  

LB:  2/4

DB: 2/4

Obvious Strengths?  They're recruiting lots of talent, so they will reload easily.  Their DL; they will be new but they'll all be Sr's and Jr's.

Obvious Weakness?  They'll be very young in the secondary, and they'll lose 5 of their starting front 7. 

My BS analysis on how they match up:

Well we'll be heading into 'Bama with a veteran O-line, that's not a bad start.  We should have great depth and talent at WR and RB.  Not too shabby.  'Bama will definitely have some questions on defense, but they've been recruiting as well as anyone.  We'll probably rely heavily on the run game, insulate Newsome from mistakes, and run a lot of run-option stuff with our new QB.  Newsome is the wildcard in the game.  Who knows where he'll be in a year with his development. 

PSU Defense (4-3):

Returning Starters: (5/11)

DL: 3/4

LB: 0/3

DB: 2/4

Obvious Strengths:  Pass rush.  Our DE's will return and we should have solid DT's.  LB's will be all new, but reliable.  Safeties could be good.

Obvious Weakness:  Let's just pencil in CB.  Again.  And leadership will be a big question after losing Odrick, Lee, etc.. 

Alabama Offense (2 TE 1 RB 2 WR):

Returning Starters: (7/11)

OL: 3/5

RB: 1/1

QB: 1/1

WR: 1/2

TE: 1/2

Obvious Strengths: QB, RB, and a solid O line.  With the talent they recruit and the returning starters they should be an excellent offense.

Obvious Weakness: None.  I mean, they lose a WR a TE and 2 Oline.  They have loads of young talent at those positions.

My BS analysis on how they match up:

This is a tough one to predict.  We'll be very young all over the place while they will return everything they need to run right over us.  But we should have a good front 7 like we usually do, and experience and talent at safety.  With Alabama running a smash-mouth style of offense we could match up well despite our losses.  On the other hand if they begin passing a lot on us we're in trouble.


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