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BSD Prediction Roundtable: Virginia

Sept 1, 2012; Charlottesville, VA, USA;  Virginia Cavaliers quarterback Michael Rocco (16) drops back to pass against the Richmond Spiders at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-US PRESSWIRE
Sept 1, 2012; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Virginia Cavaliers quarterback Michael Rocco (16) drops back to pass against the Richmond Spiders at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-US PRESSWIRE


Last week, BSD predictors came up with a big goose-egg in the wins department as all of us incorrectly thought our Nittany Lions would pull out a win against Ohio. But we're not quitters. This week, we are back, but with some dissension in the ranks. It's time to look into the crystal ball and see what it tells us about the Virginia Cavaliers.

Jared: Last week, I predicted that Penn State would outscore Ohio 21-0 in the second half, along with this gem:

McGloin and company will struggle to find a true rhythm as they face a 13-10 deficit heading into halftime. Once the team settles down and BOB and company make some adjustments, a totally different Nittany Lions team will show what they are made of in the second half. Ted Roof will channel his inner-Scrap as the defense adjusts and shuts out OU for the half. McGloin causes a stir as he makes several plays that we haven't seen him make the last two years, causing a lot of optimism going into week two.

So you may want to take this week's prediction and run to your bookie to bet on the opposite.

Last week I was too excited for the start of the season and predicted with my heart. This week I'm using the old hat-rack. We don't know much about this year's Virginia squad yet besides they were able to mostly dominate the FCS Richmond Spiders. What we do know is that Penn State has an abundance of question marks and areas of improvement. I think the offense will be slightly more efficient and do a better job limiting mistakes and capitalizing on opportunities, as well as being more consistent throughout the game. However, I don't have high hopes for the special teams, especially the kicking and return games. I'm not even certain if I will be able to watch if this game comes down to a last-second field goal. The biggest letdown of the season opener was definitely the play of the defense. Roof's unit will have to show me a lot more before I feel comfortable predicting Penn State to beat a rising program like Virginia.

Virginia 27 - Penn State 21

Ben: Just when you thought Ted Roof couldn't get any dumber, he goes and turns in a gameplan like we'll see against Virginia....AND TOTALLY REDEEMS HIMSELF! The 'Hoos offense (lots-o-TE, power running, play action) plays right into the strength of the PSU defense. And, Rocco occasionally takes more than a 3-step drop, so we might see some actual sacks in this game. Maybe even - gasp - a couple turnovers.

Matt McGloin continues to see open receivers everywhere, and hits them at a 62% completion rate. That, along with 135 yards on the ground from 35 rushes - (someone compares Zwinak to John Riggins after watching him in the 4 minute offense) - wins the day.

Penn State 27 - Virginia 17

Devon: I wouldn't trust Ted Roof to stop a Pop Warner offense, and after seeing UVA put up 43 points and 545 yards of offense in their opener, I just can't envision Penn State stifling the 'Hoos offense--even if they run a more conventional one that traditionally, Penn State's always able to contain. But maybe, just maybe, the defense can come up with one measly big play--a well-timed forced turnover, or maybe a sack, or a tackle for a loss would be nice, okay, fine, I'll settle for a third down stop--that can set up the offense with a short field.

Penn State's going to need to win the field position battle to win this one, and without its top running back, that's going to be very, very tough. It's not like Alex Butterworth can change that game on his own--he was mediocre at best in the opener against Ohio. Now, the offense should improve from last week, just as a matter of luck regressing to the mean and evening things out--but if Penn State's going to win, Matt McGloin's going to need to lead this team to a game-winning fourth quarter drive. And I just don't think he's got it in him.

Virginia 27 - Penn State 24

Keith: It's easy to put too much stock into one game. As such, I don't really believe that the game against Ohio is that valuable in predicting the outcome of their game this week at Virginia. That said, there are some very troubling signs that point to a defense that will continue to struggle.

Issue one is the defense, particularly the secondary. Far too often, the defensive backfield gave too much cushion to the Ohio receivers, which allowed Tim Tettleton to complete passes and move the chains, en route to 324 yards passing. Also, far too often, the defensive backs failed to convert turnover opportunities. In addition to the secondary, the defensive line failed to get consistent pressure on Tettleton, which allowed him to get comfortable enough to sit in the pocket and make plays. There's simply no evidence that Ted Roof's squad will be able to make stops consistently against good offensive teams.

Looking to this week's game, the Cavaliers are probably at the same level as Ohio, in terms of quality. Perhaps they're a notch ahead. Virginia is coming off of a 43-19 drubbing of Richmond. However, against the Spiders, Virginia's defense did allow 3 scoring drives, all three of which were for more than 50 yards. Further, Richmond QBs were a combined 24/43 for 238 yards and 2 TDs. Given the performance of Matt McGloin and the offense last week, the Lions should put points on the board against UVA.

Overall, this week will likely feature a high scoring affair, as neither defense appears able to prevent opposing teams from gaining decent yardage. In these types of games, its usually the last team with the ball that wins. Ever the eternal optimist, I believe Penn State will win a wild, offense filled game this week.

Penn State 40 - Virginia 35

Tim: Long before the sanctions hit, I felt shaky about picking PSU to win this game, due to the fact it was the first road game of the year at a rising program like UVA. The complete no-show from the defense in the second half last week raises a ton of red flags. If PSU wants to avoid getting torched, it is imperative that the D-line gets some pressure on Michael Rocco and that the front seven is able to contain UVA's triple-headed ground game led by Perry Jones. Although I feel the offense will put up more points than last week, I just don't see the D stifling UVA's offense the way they would need to in order to pull off the upset.

Virginia 35 - Penn State 24

Nick: The optimist in me says a road game is exactly what this team needed. Getting away from the emotion that came with the first game at home may help this team focus. More concentration on the ground game is just enough to eke this one out.

Penn State 24 - Virginia 23

Dan: It is my belief that last week was a wake-up call to everyone in the Penn State community. While there is a different reason to play now, you still need to play four quarters of hard-nosed football no matter the circumstances. With Virginia running a more traditional offense as Ben said, I'm hoping that Ted Roof might be able to have his scheme work and know he has to make an adjustment when the time comes.

On offense, I expect Matt McGloin to continue to develop into a decent quarterback and for the running game to come into focus a little more. Bill Belton is still a game-time decision, but Derek Day, Zack Zwinak and Curtis Dukes should give the UVA front seven all it can handle throughout the day and allow Penn State to tough out a victory a la the Paterno days.

Penn State 13 - Virginia 10

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