So Penn State had a bye. Texas Tech had a bye. I LSATed early and got to watch football the rest of the day. This is what I learned as it pertains to Penn State.
- I only got to see a bit of the South Carolina-UCF game, but for those who needed reassurance that UCF was a good team that beat Penn State, hopefully you realized that you got it. South Carolina's defensive line put pressure on Blake Bortles all day, much more than Penn State's was able to, and he was still able to throw for 25-for-36 for 358 yards and two touchdowns. UCF lost 28-25 to the 12th-ranked team in the nation and looked damned good doing so, especially in the first half where they shut out the Gamecocks. The Knights are a legitimate top-25 team this year. We really, really lost to the better team two weeks ago.
- Ohio State beat Wisconsin 31-24 on Saturday night in a closer game than I think most expected. Penn State will play both of these teams later this year and each team definitely showed weakness in their defensive gameplans:
- Wisconsin: A gameplan just like the one that took out the Badgers last year in the season finale still shows that it can work. While perennial Big Ten LB Chris Borland had 20+ tackles on the night, Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde was still able to find holes and create easy second and third down opportunities for Ohio State. Hyde ended the game with 85 yards on 14 carries and reminded me of a faster Zach Zwinak who still falls forward on every carry. On the offensive side of the ball, Joel Stave looked like more than a game manager, but when Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington put pressure on him, he threw the ball into no man's land which led to one Bradley Roby interception. Have Deion Barnes continue on his upward progression and DaQuan Jones continue to eat up offensive lineman and Stave can be rattled.
- Ohio State: Normally, Ohio State has a collection of athletic linebackers to patrol and protect the middle of the field (see: Hawk, A.J., Carpenter, Bobby, Spielman, Chris, etc. etc.). This year, they have Ryan Shazier, but there really isn't anyone there to help him which has caused the middle of that field to be a bit more wide open than normal. Penn State, in my opinion, has the optimal offense to go up against the Ohio State defense. Two tight end sets should cause the safeties to have to cheat up to cover. If they don't cover, Bradley Roby, who was worked by 18th-year senior Jared Abbrederis all night, will have to go one-on-one with Allen Robinson all night and I like A-Rob's chances against what we thought was one of the best corners in the nation during the preseason (He is, but very few corners can do it all on their own.). Add in Thorpe watchlist safety Christian Bryant being lost for the season with a broken ankle and there's a very real chance that the Lions can take advantage of the Buckeye defense. However, the offensive line will have to play the game of their lives to give Christian Hackenberg time to find the holes in the OSU defense and the Penn State defense will have to come up with a gameplan to stop Braxton Miller and the explosive Ohio State offense.
- On a personal college football note, Notre Dame is certainly not the same team as they were last year. Yeah, Alabama scorched them in the title game last year, but that defense played big against the likes of Stanford, Oklahoma and Miami last year. This year, Blake Bell picked them apart in South Bend and Tommy Rees's carriage turned back into a pumpkin as he became Tommy Turnover again. This is still an 8-4 team, but any BCS hopes should be quelled significantly.
- I picked Georgia to win the national title in the first podcast of the regular season this year and, after going 3-1 in the early-season gauntlet, they look to have a fairly clear path to the SEC title game where they could play Alabama again in a rematch of last year's exciting title game. Aaron Murray looks like a Heisman-caliber quarterback and he'll need to continue to do so to avoid a letdown and put up the numbers he'll need to in what will inevitably be a shootout in Atlanta in December.
- Finally, HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA USC. I understand that you're under significant scholarship reductions, but giving up 62 to Arizona State? Jesus.
What did you see in college football this weekend that you thought was interesting? Have any other comments on the games I mentioned? Tell us in the comments.
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