Three major components of the Power Rating for a college football team are coaching, talent and experience. Based upon this assumption, Penn State should clobber Syracuse next Saturday.
COACHING Syracuse new head coach is Scott Schafer. Before taking a job at Syracuse, Scott was Rich Rodriquez' defensive coordinator at Michigan! Hee-Haw! We all know how that turned out, making a once-proud school a laughing stock. I'll take Bill O'Brien over most coaches in the country. So, have no fear of being outcoached, either in the game-plan phase, or with game-day adjustments. PSU has a major advantage in this area. Star Power versus Laughing Stock!
TALENT. We all know that there are exceptions* to the 'star ratings' given to HS seniors by the recruiting services, but, generally speaking, they are an indicator of the quality of recruit that a school has as a talent pool. PSU has had 28 four-star recruits since 2009. Syracuse has recruited only one, their current middle linebacker. If you take the average ratings of the PSU team starting lineup (3.41) versus Syracuse (2.45) it is clear that the Orangemen are playing with generally lower-level talent than the Nittany Lions. Regarding Offense vs Defense PSU's D outshines the Orange O 3.45 to 2.30, while the PSU Offense's 3.36 rating is better than Syracuse D's 2.45. This Nittany Lion advantage is probably bigger than the coaching differences between the teams. You need the Jimmy's and Joe's before the X's and O's.
* noteable exceptions....... PSU has two 2-star recruits on the entire first-string squad, John Urschel and Kyle Carter!
EXPERIENCE...in this regard, both teams are similar relative to last year's starters along both lines, at QB, RB, and Linebacker. However, Syracuse graduated their top receiver, which is to PSU's advantage, but the Orangemen return an experienced secondary, which is to their advantage. In the final analysis, this game is probably the most important game on the schedule for the Orangemen, regarding emotions and bragging rights, while it is considered a non-conference win by most PSU crazies. Louisville and WVU are not Ohio State, Nebraska, or even Wisconsin. Hell, Minnesota and Northwestern beat the Orange last year! So, the experience factor is at worst, a draw, and probably favors PSU again.
WHAT HAPPENS? With both teams sporting new QB's, the other team is going to focus on stopping the run, forcing the QB to make a mistake. Since each team wil use an 8-man front to force passing attempts, the team that can execute man coverage, or run against an 8-man front, will win.
Folks, this one is PSU by two touchdowns, and the Orangemen scoring 7 to 10 points.
Where's my pipe?