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MMQB: Which Opponent Scares You the Most?

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Let's revisit a question discussed on the Jordan Lucas #Poopfart variety hour.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

In our most recent Jordan Lucas #PoopFart Variety Hour, Dan, Bill, and I all chose the game on the schedule that scares us the most. A lot of really great points were brought up to defend our choices, so I thought it would an interesting topic for us to discuss here.

Now that the non-conference portion of our schedule has been completed (aside from Temple), it's time to get into the heart of Big Ten play. For reference, the remaining schedule is as follows.

  • Vs Northwestern
  • Bye Week
  • At Michigan
  • Bye Week
  • Vs Ohio State
  • Vs Maryland
  • At Indiana
  • Vs Temple
  • At Illinois
  • Vs Michigan State
Obviously there are a lot of really interesting games left on the schedule, and plenty that could give pause to Nittany Lions fans as they dream of and plan out an undefeated season. There's the high powered defensive line of Ohio State, the high flying offense of Indiana, and the all around solid play of Michigan State. There is plenty left to fear. That being said, the single game that I am most worried about for this season is Maryland.

That's not to say that Ohio State and Michigan State don't scare me. Rather, I have already mentally prepared to come away from those games with two losses in hand (although with Ohio State looking vulnerable, that game gets more interesting each week). After the homecoming game this weekend, a noon kickoff against Northwestern, Penn State will get a week off to prepare for the Wolverines for the first ever B1G night game in the Big House. After that they will get another week off to ready themselves for the Buckeyes and what is sure to be the loudest and whiteoutiest crowd of the year. That is a lot for one team to deal with. Despite having bye weeks sandwiched before and between them, consecutive games against Michigan and Ohio State are always going to be difficult no matter who's injured or who is playing quarterback. Any team facing two emotional and historic opponents in consecutive weeks in such a manner is always susceptible to a let down game the week after. Therein lies the first reason why the Maryland game gives me nightmares. Even with as good of a motivator and leader as James Franklin seems to be, it will be no easy task for him to get 100% out of every player on the team after such a pivotal and emotional four week stretch of time.

Secondly, there's the matter of the team on the field. Maryland isn't the best team in the Big Ten, and they probably aren't one of the top three teams in the East division. That doesn't mean they don't have talent. Penn State hasn't been good at facing off against running quarterbacks in a long time (they were absolutely gashed by Gardner and Braxton Miller even when neither one was at 100% for the games). CJ Brown is extremely athletic. He's big like Miller, but still fast and a skilled runner. His running abilities remind me somewhat of Andrew Luck's, not anything that will make Top 10, but enough to stick a dagger into the heart of a defense. There will need to be somebody at all times spying on Brown, because he's not a skilled enough quarterback otherwise to make you pay for essentially taking one defender out of the play. That's all not even mentioning their electrifying wide receiver, Stefon Diggs. Marlyand has a lot of talent, and a lot of speed. Penn State has done a great job early on in the season of getting quick pressure from the defensive line, and that pressure will be paramount in this game. If Brown is given time and space to run when he wants, and if Diggs is given too much time to get open, Penn State will be in some trouble.

All in all, it's shaping up to be a very clear chance for a disappointing slip up from the Nittany Lions. On paper, the Lions are the superior team. They should be able to win this game, and win it without a terrible amount of stress. But as we all know too well, the figurative paper that everyone has which outlines what should happen in every sporting event, is not always correct. I have a bad feeling that Maryland will be the next team to make a correction to that paper.

But that's just my opinion. Which of Penn State's remaining opponents scares you the most and why? I'll leave a poll at the end of this post, but please share your reasoning behind your pick in the comments section.

"Fear cuts deeper than swords." -George R.R. Martin