Most of our pickers looked pretty smart last week as Penn State defeated UCF on a last-second field goal from Sam Ficken. Bill looked like he plays with his own poop. Let's see what the crew thinks of this week's matchup with Akron.
bscaff: Let's be clear about whom our Lions face on Saturday. Akron used to be called Buchtel College. They became a D1A football school in 1987, and joined the MAC in 1992. They've been to 1 - one - bowl game. Ever. They lost that game to Memphis, 38-31. In 1995, they hired Lee Owens as head coach, from Massillon-Washington High School. Lee won 40 games in 9 years, which made him the 4th most successful Akron/Buchtel coach of all time. JD Brookhart (30-42), Rob Ianello (2-22), and now, Terry Bowden (7-18), have led the Zips (mascot, Zippy the Zip....creative) the last 10 seasons - none of whom could establish or sustain success in the MAC as well as did Tim Beckman and Darrell Hazell. That's right: Tim Beckman and Darrell Hazell.
On the other hand, the Zips also should have beaten Michigan at the Big House last year.
Penn State 35-14
Devon: Akron runs the kind of offense this team just isn't well-equipped to defend: a spread, pass-first, quick-throw, crossing-routes style designed to mitigate against our strong front seven, expose our lack of depth at corner and force our linebackers to make tackles on speedier players in space. Granted, they're still Akron, so they probably won't roll up six touchdowns, but this is going to be a closer game, especially early, than would make many of us comfortable. The good news is that they're just as vulnerable in the back seven, and even in the worst case scenario that this comes down to a shootout, well, we have Christian Hackenberg and they don't. This isn't the same Akron team that got beat 31-7 in 2009, but it's not as good as the Ohio team that walked into the Beav and came away winners in 2012. They're not quite a MACrifice, but I don't put Penn State on upset alert in James Franklin's first home game--mainly because of that fact, which limits how much of a trap game this can be.
Penn State 34-20
Tim A: Franklin's press conference comment about Akron being 'ahead' of PSU was another variation of coach speak for "you're damn right, we're not looking ahead to Rutgers next week." This isn't a pushover Akron opponent that PSU may have faced in years past, they feature an offense capable of moving the chains quickly and putting up points. Because of that, and due to the lesser than usual recovery time for PSU, I can foresee a slow start defensively and Akron keeping this one close at halftime and through most of the third quarter. However, Christian Hackenberg and Friends (i.e. Geno Lewis, DaeSean Hamilton, Jesse James, and anyone else interested in joining the receiving party) will look like teenagers playing pitch-and-catch with each other in the backyard against a secondary full of nine and ten year olds who haven't hit their growth spurts. That in and of itself, should negate any defensive problems that may arise on Saturday.
Penn State 34-13
Middle Nick: Although Akron is not a bad team, I just have a feeling that Penn State is going to lay it on. With the attendance expected to be high, the energy of the team will be apparent. The offense will feature a heavy dose of Bill Belton and play action deep balls to BaeSean and Geno, one of which will go for a 60+ yard touchdown. Hack will have a nice day, throwing for 320 yards and 2 scores, but will throw another silly interception in the process. BaeSean will grab 7 passes for 124 yards and a td, Geno will pick up 77 yards on 5 catches, Kyle Carter will check in with a touchdown, and Chris Godwin will have a breakout of sorts with 6 catches for 96 yards.
The defense will come out with its hair on fire, and it won't work right away. The Akron passing attack will have a nice first drive ending in a field goal, and the PSU defense will adjust from there. Mike Hull will pick up a sack to go with 9 tackles. Anthony Zettel will continue blazing his path to stardom with another sack, as well as 2 other tackles for loss. Lucas will grab his first interception cheating on a short slant route, and Grant Haley will house one on the opening kickoff for the second half. Was that specific enough for you?
Penn State 38-17
Matt: Akron is an improving team, and despite saying it won't be a factor all week, the return from Ireland is likely to be just that for PSU. However, Penn State still has better talent at every position on the field, and eventually that will play out. The running game will continue to raise a few questions, the passing game, and a rapidly improving defense are again the key in a comfortable Lions win.
Penn State 34-16
New Nick: I watched the highlights for the Akron vs Howard game. Kyle Pohl, Akron's QB is not bad at all. He actually looked pretty good. That being said, I don't expect this game to be close. I believe that the Hackenberg led passing game will lead to a successful offensive performance. As far as the Penn State D goes, if they play anything like they did last week, cake. I expect the game to cover the spread, and Penn State to easily win. However, this game somewhat resembles the 2013 Kent State game, where the team played well but Hack struggled...that's one thing to keep an eye on.
Penn State 38-17
Dan: As of the time of my prediction, rain is in the forecast for the game, something I don't like hearing considering what our running game looked like last week. Luckily for us, Akron is a pretty heavy passing team as well. I think it's more of a dink-and-dump passing attack from Hackenberg to the tight ends this week while the offensive line works on run blocking. All three running backs gain their share of yards but none make it over the century mark and the defense remains as stout as ever, with the rain helping to aid their pursuit of future NFL QB Kyle Pohl, in an ugly affair.
Penn State 28-10
FROM THE PREVIEW:
Jared: Penn State 37-17
FROM THE PODCAST:
Bill: Penn State 28-14
Cari: Penn State 34-20
Adam: Penn State 34-21