Three major components of a college football team's Power Rating are Talent, Coaching, and Experience. Based upon these parameters, the Nittany Lions should handily cover the 6 point spread this weekend against Central Florida.
TALENT ...these days, all FBS schools should be expected to field teams with competitive squads on both sides of the ball, and UCF, which is one of the better teams in the AAC (whatever that is) is no exception. However, the difference between the upper-level and the run-of-the-mill programs is the number of playmakers who are capable of making a real difference in each game. UCF starters have one four-star player on an offense that averages out to 2.73 stars, and will be going up against a PSU defense starting five 4-star players with a 3.45 star rating. The PSU offense also has five players with 4 or more stars averaging 3.36 going up against a UCF defense averaging 2.55 with no clear playmakers. PSU playmakers' talent will be the main difference in this game.
COACHING. Both of these coaches are hard-nosed, no nonsense Irishmen. However, one of these coaches is on his way up, while the other is trying to add credibility to his resume. Bill O-Brien should not be outcoached in this game.
EXPERIENCE... Blake Bortles, the UCF Quarteback, has the advantage in experience over his counterpart at PSU. However, frosh QB Hackenberg has demonstrated five-star-play-making ability. As for the rest of the 21 players starting for both teams, neither is clearly more experienced than the other. So, Worst Case is a draw on the experience factor.
Best Case has Christian losing his two-turnovers-per-game habit, the Beaver Stadium Student Whiteout providing the UCF offense with a new learning Experience, and PSU running away with the game.
Does PSU by 17 points sound reasonable?
For The Future That We Wait!