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BSD Prediction Roundtable: Pinstripe Bowl vs. Boston College

Last crystal ball of 2014.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State is bowling for the first time since the 2011 season. Will it be a delightful return to the postseason or will Boston College send the Lions back to PA with a losing record?

Bill: Here are a list of the 10 things I will predict occurs:

1) I will have lots of beer before the game

2) Whilst I consume beer, it will be with fabulous Penn Staters

3) The game is going to be cold as all hell but seeing a football game in Yankee Stadium will be fun

4) Penn State's offense vs. BC's defense is going to be ugly, because it's a bad unit (the offense) against a surprisingly solid unit (the defense)

5) Penn State's rushing defense vs. BC's rushing offense could very well be the best "strength vs. strength" matchup of the non-major bowls

6) Christian Hackenberg, after taking a month to get his act together and rest and heal up, will look competent (I don't think he's great, but he's competent, which is huge)

7) BC will have one or two big plays on the ground, and one big play through the air because PSU won't expect it with how well/how frequently the Eagles run the ball

8) Penn State generally holds BC's rushing offense in check, sans those one or two big plays

9) The Nittany Lions win, 17-13

10) VICTORY BEERS*

* -- if PSU loses, which is very plausible, then they will be sad beers

bscaff: Boston College boasts 30 seniors and 19 juniors. That, I believe, is two more upperclassmen than Penn State will be fielding in scholarship players from all classes. STAT100 tells me it is so. Fortunately, we're not playing this game 10 times. We only play once. Plus it's a bowl game, for crying out loud. It's all decided by egregious mistakes, turnovers in particular.

And given that I've picked our Nittany Lions to win in this column 12 times this year, what on planet Earth would cause me to take BC here, now? Absolutely NOTHING. Of course I'm taking the Lions. Blah, blah, defense. Tyler-Murphy-passinglol. Double secret "wildcat" probation. Sam-MULE Ficken boots the game winner, then points toward Wall Street, and mouths, "how's that for an interview?"

Penn State 17-14

Matt: I don't think it's much of a stretch to say that Penn State was an exhausted football team by the time the MSU game ended nearly a month ago. Six games in six weeks, 4 of which were decided by a single possession would take a toll on most teams, let alone one with a depleted roster like PSU. Four weeks between games should give the Lions' top players plenty of time to recharge the batteries and regain some semblance of health.

The Eagles strength is undoubtedly their rushing attack, ranked 15th nationally, and Penn State's front 7 needs to be ready for probably the best ground game they've seen this season. The game will be decided, however, on the other side of the ball, with PSU's much maligned offense going up against a very good BC defense. Call me an optimist, but I think the 4 weeks off leads to a good, not great, Christian Hackenberg, and an improved offense all around.

Penn State 20-13

Tim A: I'm getting 2007 Outback Bowl vibes the more I think about this game. For those who don't recall, PSU faced a Tennessee squad to whom they were likely a slight underdog against. Tennessee was led by a QB who hadn't thrown an interception in his last 150+ or so passing attempts while PSU was led by a different but also much-maligned QB14. Said QB14 put up a serviceable effort, he wasn't overtly impressive, but he didn't make the crucial mistakes that had cost his team dearly in prior contests that season, while Tony Hunt led a grinding rushing attack that ultimately wore down the Vols. Likewise, I look at this game and I can potentially see a similar affair playing out. Hackenberg looks as steady as he's been all season long, throws a for a TD pass and leads a pair of other scoring drives (one of which is set up by a short field created via the defense), while Akeel Lynch gets enough yards on the ground to keep the BC defense honest (it won't be a Hunt in the Outback Bowl-esque performance but it should still do the trick). And yes, Tyler Murphy and Co. will do their share of damage against PSU's defense to keep this one a nail-biter from opening kick to the final play of the game which just happens to be Sam Ficken nailing a field goal as time expires to help PSU eke this one out.

Penn State 20-17

Nick Blonde: I'm uncertain what to expect from James Franklin approaching a bowl game, I only know he's 2-1 thus far in bowls and this year probably still won't give us any real indication. With the roster size being what it is, game planning likely won't feature a lot of new wrinkles. This team started the year 4-0, so having a month off to heal and recharge is the biggest factor. If Hack can just recapture a glimmer of the first couple weeks then I get the feeling Penn State may win this pretty handily, however I'll settle for eking out another victory on Sam Ficken's leg.

Penn State 13-10

Nick Polak: I expect Hackenberg to look a little better in this one than he has for most of this season. I do fully subscribe to the belief that he has been playing injured, so I think we'll see that the time off has really helped him. However, I don't think the time off was enough to mature the wide receivers by three years. As supremely talented as they are, and how prolific they may be in their careers as a whole, they're just not quite where they need to be yet in regards to getting separation. For that reason, I think Penn State will manage one touchdown on a fade to Jesse James (which will also help my FanDuel picks). However, I see them moving the ball much better when compared to the regular season. Ficken will have a 40 something yard field goal to close out the first half, as well as a 36 yarder to win the game as the clock expires, to bring the season full circle. The defense will be their usual beastly selves, possibly even more beastly. I think B.C. gets their points due to field position. Two poor punts, one interception, and a fumble by a wide receiver will lead to Tyler Murphy's offense getting some short fields to work with. Boston College's rushing yards will probably look impressive on the surface in the end, but it will be because they Ohio State'd the Lions to death (as in, run the ball a million times to get a lot of yards, but have an extremely unimpressive yards per carry). But more importantly, we'll get to meet many of you at the BSDrink Up, and it will be lovely. Maybe.

Penn State 13-12

Dan: I'll be the dissenter. I've been burned too many times this year thinking that the Penn State offense will do just enough to compliment the dominant defense and pull out a win. The Boston College defense aren't slouches and, through twelve games, the Penn State offense hasn't done anything to prove it can score consistently against lesser defenses. Yes, Tyler Murphy is a pretty mediocre passer and the strength vs. strength matchup of the BC rush O and the Penn State rush D will likely hinder the other 50% of the Eagles offense, but I'd still put more faith in their offense to make a few fourth quarter plays and eek out a win.

Boston College 13-10

FROM THE PREVIEW:

Jared: Penn State 13-10

FROM THE PODCAST:

Cari: Penn State 17-10

Adam: Penn State 17-14

FROM THE INTERVIEW:

Devon: Penn State 23-17