It's Week 1 and the BSDers have broken out the crystal ball. It's pretty clear that most of us believe that emotions will run high and that will lead Penn State to victory. Read on for the staff's predictions.
Ben: For at least 1 week, Bill O'Brien becomes the only undefeated football coach in Penn State history.
Ohio has an experienced secondary, and PSU has inexperienced receivers. That's why we'll see O-B pick on Ohio's younger LB's with speedsters Belton and Kenney on shallow routes in the middle of the field. O-B will also be able to take some shots using play action, because the outside zone runs bear a lot of yards - somewhere on the order of 150 rushing. Finally, last season's red zone woes prove to be last season's woes, as PSU goes 4 for 4 with 3 TD's. The Penn State defense is still the Penn State defense, but in a different vein. Ohio gets a chunk play or two, but they also give back yards via sacks - and lose a couple of turnovers. The turnovers prove to be killers, especially when combined with Penn State's improved coverage and return units, which give the PSU offense several short fields. Warm up the Victory Bell.
Penn State 27-17
Jared: For the last several months I have repeatedly commented how good Ohio university is and that the opening game will be very, very competitive. I've mostly thought it was 50/50 Penn State would win, and that was before the sanctions that resulted in the loss of a few starters. Frank Solich has built a very solid program, and this seems to be the year for the Bobcats to make a splash on the national level. I see the first half being extremely even. Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton will make some plays early and cause some chaos for the Penn State defense. McGloin and company will struggle to find a true rhythm as they face a 13-10 deficit heading into halftime. Once the team settles down and BOB and company make some adjustments, a totally different Nittany Lions team will show what they are made of in the second half. Ted Roof will channel his inner-Scrap as the defense adjusts and shuts out OU for the half. McGloin causes a stir as he makes several plays that we haven't seen him make the last two years, causing a lot of optimism going into week two. Allen Robinson, Trevor Williams, Zach Zwanik and others will have casual Penn State fans scrambling for their rosters. I may be predicting this game with my heart instead of my head, but as the game draws nearer I am gaining more and more confidence for the new-look Lions.
Penn State 31-13
Tim: I realize Ohio is the trendy upset pick amongst national columnists, but like lots of trendy upset picks, this is one that is likely to blow up in their faces. Sure, Penn State will be working out some kinks as it applies BOB's offense in a real live game situation for the first time, but believe it or not, there ARE weapons ready to be unleashed in the form of Bill Belton, the tight ends, and a receiving corps eager to step up and make themselves household names. Oh, and did I mention a more controlled, confident, version of Matt McGloin at QB? And lest we forget about that defense, especially the front seven. If Ted Roof's 'multiply aggressive' scheme is unleashed this Saturday, look for Ohio QB Tyler Tettleton to end up making love to the green grass inside Beaver Stadium several times throughout the course of the game. I see the Bobcats being competitive and keeping it tight at halftime, but Penn State gradually pulls away in the second half.
Penn State 31-17
Jeff: [generic discussion of "IT", BOB, rebounding from adversity, transfers, and supporting the current players]
Now that that's out of the way, Penn State still has the better athletes than Ohio, but this will be no pushover. Frank Solich has this team in position to do well in 2012, and they could come into Beaver Stadium and surprise no one with a win. However, Matt McGloin and Bill Belton will work and grind their way to a win. It won't be pretty, but it won't be ugly either, which is nice. McGloin throws for two touchdowns to Allen Robinson, Alex Kenney returns a kickoff for a touchdown, and I spend the rest of the night fighting off yinzers who are coming at me with Sandusky comments.
Penn State 24-14
Devon: Any other matchup between these two teams, and I'd be predicting a close game. Ohio is actually a damn good football team, one that would probably give most Big Ten squads a run for their money. Penn State, of course, is breaking in so many new pieces in a new system loaded with inexperienced players. There's a recipe for disaster, here. But you know what? This game is going to be such an amazing cathartic experience for every single one of the kids who stuck with this team that they're going to come out and play out of their freaking minds, especially defensively. Penn State's going to get up early, make a big play or two, and then it's going to just spiral out of control. The offense might not be great, and the defense might blow a coverage or two, but there will still be too much for Ohio to catch up to. And I can't wait to watch.
Penn State 30-7
Galen: I read an article in one of our SwH posts where the author stated that Ohio may be catching Penn State at the best possible time for a upset. The thought was with all the distractions of the NCAA sanctions, the team wouldn't be focused and therefore ripe for the picking. I think the author couldn't be more wrong, I think this team is laser focused because of all that's happened. When they hired BOB, I thought this game would be close because of the new team, system, etc. With the way this team has been beat on by every possible angle and from every possible direction they're definitely wounded Lions and you know what happens when you push wounded cats too far. I think this has probably been the most productive off-season/preseason in Happy Valley in a long, long time. This team will come out fired up and ready to play, if the fans half as fired up as I think they will be you have the perfect storm for a beat down. Penn State feeds off the crowd, jumps out quick, and sets the cruise control in the second half.
Penn State 24-15
Keith: Penn State-Ohio will be much closer than people think. I believe that, as the season progresses, Penn State will emerge as a very good football team. However, in this first game of the season, it is entirely possible that not all of the players will be on the same page. Coach O'Brien's offense is so drastically different than what Penn State's offensive starters have played before that there will be some period of adjustment. Add to that Ohio's experienced, very talented secondary and it could be a "fits and starts" type of day for Penn State's passing game. Yet, while Ohio has a very good team (in a better conference, maybe a top-10 team by season's end), I'm not that sure about their ability to control the lines of scrimmage, especially their offensive line. I believe that the defense, led by LB Mike Mauti and a very good defensive line, will wreak havoc on the Ohio offense. A tight, low scoring affair is what I believe this first game of the season will be.
Penn State 21-13
Nick: I sympathize with Frank Solich, he’s had the occasion to bring teams into Beaver Stadium at the worst possible time, each time in front of a crowd in need of a catharsis. While this game probably won’t have the "magic" quality his last with Nebraska had under the lights, the crowd may still end up leaving with their ears ringing and voices hoarse. Symmetry dictates.
Penn State 40-7
Dan: Everything sets up perfectly for an upset. The Bobcats return eight defensive starters on a unit that finished in the top third in the nation last year and a quarterback in Tyler Tettleton who threw for over 3,300 yards and 28 touchdowns as a sophomore, going up against an under-staffed and what will probably become an over-worked Penn State secondary unit. Put the on-the-field advantages together with the possible emotion overload that the Nittany Lions will be facing and in all honesty, it is pretty obvious why Ohio is the trendy upset pick this weekend.
But when the wind blows hard and the skies are black, ducks fly together. Or rather, Nittany Lions roar together. The men who will step foot on the field tomorrow have made a promise to each other and their school to represent all with pride and veracity. I expect a dominant performance out of the defense and the Bill O'Brien offense to begin to shine. Matt McGloin will show us that an entire summer of being entrenched as the starter will have his focus at an all-time high and Bill Belton and Allen Robinson will have big games. It's going to be fun to watch, that's for sure.
Penn State 38-14
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