When Dan and I picked who was going to do which games on Penn State's schedule for our Bad News series, I demanded I took the first write ups of the week. My reasoning was twofold: 1) bortles, 2) BECAUSE MY SECOND WRITE UP OF THIS SERIES WOULD BE BIG TEN POWERHOUSE RUTGERS. PREPARE FOR CAPS LOCK. LOTS OF CAPS LOCK.
HEY BIG TEN POWERHOUSE RUTGERS. YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN RATHER SLY WITH YOUR HASHTAG CHOPPSU CAMPAIGN, WHICH MAKES NO SENSE, BECAUSE YOU AREN'T FLORIDA STATE OR THE ATLANTA BRAVES OR WHATEVER. YOUR FANS HAVE BEEN LOUD. YOUR FANS HAVE BEEN ARROGANT. YOUR FANS, AND PROBABLY YOUR PLAYERS, THINK THAT YOU, BIG TEN POWERHOUSE RUTGERS, WILL DEFEAT PENN STATE THIS YEAR. WELL GUESS WHAT, BIG TEN POWERHOUSE RUTGERS? GUESS WHAT?
YOU, BIG TEN POWERHOUSE RUTGERS, WILL NOT BEAT PENN STATE IN 2014.
Now there are plenty of directions I can go from here. I can mention that recruits are leaving New Jersey for Penn State like the fate of the world depends on it (by my count, there are a combined eight recruits from NJ in Penn State's 2014 and 2015 classes). I can mention that some recruits -- like Saquon Barkley and Saeed Blacknall -- have decommitted from your school to come to Penn State. I can mention the fact that Big Ten Powerhouse Rutgers is an amazing 2-22 against Penn State historically, and that a team of limbless badgers can probably win two of 24 games against Penn State. I could mention a bunch of other things, like how academically, comparing Penn State (No. 37) to Big Ten Powerhouse Rutgers (No. 69, which in this instance, is not nice) is like comparing going to a water park to sitting in your backyard while getting sprayed by a hose.
But no, I'm going to take the high road, and actually explain why Penn State's going to win, based on actual talent and coaching and being better at the game of football.
Let's start with Big Ten Powerhouse Rutgers' offense, which is led by the guy with college football's best porn star name, QB Gary Nova. Nova has led message board people to say things like this:
Yea and we have 2 Qb's who in 2 & 3 years can't beat our Gary freakin Nova. So what. We have no QB next season.
Sounds like a good guy, right? His numbers last year were as inspiring as the Belgian army: 165-for-303 (54.5 percent) for 2,159 yards, 18 TDs and 14 INTs. Nova was so bad -- particularly against Cincinnati and UCF, be prepared for the horrors -- that he got benched in the team's final three games, when it was fighting to get bowl eligible. Long story short, you shouldn't lose any sleep over Gary "freakin" Nova.
Big Ten Powerhouse Rutgers does have an ok running back duo in Paul James and Justin Goodwin, which combined for 1,402 yards and 14 TDs last year, so that's nice. But the team has to replace two of its top three returning receivers/tight ends, and the team's No. 4 returning receiver is its fullback. Its fullback. And since it's not this guy, that's probably not a good thing. The one thing in its favor is that it's coached by Ralph Friedgen, who was the mentor to James Franklin and Bill O'Brien.
Now, here's the issue: Big Ten Powerhouse Rutgers' defense is kinda not bad. Sure, it allowed nearly 30 points per game last year, and it is now coached by a new defensive coordinator. BUT IT HAS TALENT. Linebackers Steve Longa and Kevin Snyder are both really good -- especially Longa, who if he played at Penn State, we'd say is the next Gerald Hodges -- and the team returns several other key pieces from last year's defense, like defensive back Lorenzo Waters and defensive end Darius Hamilton.
The thing that either works in favor of or against Big Ten Powerhouse Rutgers is that the unit returns a ton of talent from 2013. This is, largely, the same Big Ten Powerhouse Rutgers defense that gave up 52 points to Cincinnati at home, 41 points to UCF on the road and 28 points to an absolutely brutal UConn team on the road last year. Think of it this way: if this was Penn State, and not Big Ten Powerhouse Rutgers, would you have any faith in the defense heading into next year, regardless of how much talent it has returning and a new defensive coordinator? The answer is no, you would not.
Listen, being serious for one second, even if Dan and I weren't being over the top goofballs with this series, I would be legitimately shocked if Penn State lost. The Scarlet Knights just don't have the horses to compete with any high-end Big Ten school this year, and while that may change in the future, it's not happening in 2014. With that in mind...
I'm afraid I've got some bad news, Big Ten Powerhouse Rutgers: Penn State will win this game, 28-13.
WHO ELSE IS PENN STATE BEATING IN 2014?