What player do you think has the best potential to have a surprise breakout season? Former_DC_Buck
I'll go with redshirt freshman defensive end Evan Schwan. Many schools cooled on Schwan after he suffered a cracked vertebrae during his junior year in high school. However, Penn State's loyalty throughout his recovery paid off with a commitment after he had a 17-sack season while helping lead Central Dauphin to a state championship. Schwan has a fantastic combination of size, speed and aggressiveness to be a star edge rusher in the Big Ten. He faces plenty of talented competition, but should see meaningful playing time and could ultimately push for a starting spot in 2013.
Penn State fans already seem to have high expectations for Akeel Lynch, and I have a feeling many around the Big Ten will perceive him as a future All-Big Ten running back after this season.
Will be better off in the East division (beginning in 2014) compared to the current state in the Leaders division? Mifflin Streak
At first glance, it looks like the new East Division is much tougher than it's counterpart. If you're basing this on the past few seasons, it does seem as though the Big Ten made a misstep with an uneven balance of power. However, college football fans as a collective group have a very short memory.
College football programs work in cycles. No team stays at the top for too long without having some mediocre years to break up its dominance. In my lifetime, I've watched USC,Michigan, LSU and Alabama and Oklahoma win several national championships. I've also seen each time suffer through three-win seasons and finish dead last in conference play. In 2020, we could all be on here clamoring realignment because we're convinced Illinois, Iowa and Purdue are so much more dominant than the team than Indiana, who just won its third consecutive East Division crown. If this sounds too far-fetched, just check out the top of this Sports Illustrated cover from 2004.
What sport will be the biggest surprise next year in terms of success? Success With Honor Always
I'll go with Men's Basketball. Penn State returns the top two returning scorers in the Big Ten, and will also welcome back a legit All-American candidate in Tim Frazier. Plus, Chambers will have another season to fully implement his system with his players. If Penn State makes a tourney run in the 2013-2014 season, they will be one of the biggest stories in college basketball considering their dismal record this past season.
Who is the next prospect to commit to this year's class? Jason P., via Facebook
An educated guess would be Jared Wangler (LB). Wrangler is a two-star prospect out of Warren, Michigan who holds several offers from MAC schools, as well as Cincinnati and B10 newbie Maryland. He's visiting Penn State today with his father, and has talked multiple times about how he is high on Penn State. This would be a huge addition, as Penn State is sorely in need of linebackers (it pains me so much to have to write that). So it seems like a strong possibility that he will commit this weekend. If for some reason he doesn't, then Troy Vincent Jr. (DB) is next in line. Vincent is a four-star prospect with a long offer sheet that includes Notre Dame, Michigan, Arkansas, Wisconsin and many more. He loves the school and understands that to secure his spot he needs to move quickly. A commitment from Vincent would be a major get for John Butler and Larry Johnson Sr., his primary recruiters.
*Special thanks to BSD newbie Nick Polak for providing his keen recruiting insight. Now go pick up my dry cleaning.