Mythical national championship time! The semi-finals have been played in the Era vs Era playoffs, and we have our final throw down for the championship.
For those of you unaware, we here at BSD have been voting on the best offensive and defensive units from four distinct eras:
- Late Paterno Era (2005-2009)
- Transition Era (2010-2014)
- Early Franklin Era (2015-2019)
- Current Era (2020-2023)
In each era, voters were tasked with deciding the best offense and defense from each era, and once those were decided, they were combined into the best possible team from each era.
The first semi-final of the playoffs had the Late Paterno Era face off against the Early Franklin Era, and it was a good one. The Early Franklin team struck early, putting together a double-digit lead at halftime. But depth, particularly on the offensive line, became a problem, as the roster was still recovering from sanctions. The Late Paterno Era defense clamped down in the second half, and Daryll Clark led a fourth-quarter game-winning drive to secure a spot in the championship, winning the matchup 58% to 42%!
The second semi-final featured the Transition Era against the Current Era. The Current Era took a moment to get its feet under it, but was able to absorb some early game jitters and the Transition Era wasn’t able to build a lead in the meantime. When Drew Allar and the receivers settled in, it was lights out for the Transition Era, who struggled with depth all game. The Current Era moves on to the final, winning 82% to 18%!
So here we are. After weeks of voting, we’ve got old school vs new school. Sound defense and ball control faces off against a more risk/reward-based scheme. The Late Paterno Era is set to take on the Current Era for the championship of the Era vs Era playoffs!
Let’s meet our contenders!
Late Paterno Era
Offense - 2008
The 2008 offense was led by the offensive line, perhaps the best since 1994, with Rimington Trophy winner A.Q. Shipley leading the way, alongside Gerald Cadogan, Rich Ohrnberger, and Stefen Wisniewski. Out wide, the trio of Deon Butler, Derrick Williams, and Jordan Norwood made an excellent stable of receivers, with Evan Royster providing some quality ball-running skills. Daryll Clark was your quarterback, and led the team to a 448.9 yards per game (YPG) and 38.9 points per game (PPG), which were good for #14 and #11 nationally.
Defense - 2005
Defensively, Paul Posluszny was the human highlight reel, winning the Butkus + Bednarik Awards. He was joined by B1G Defensive Lineman of the Year Tamba Hali. Jay Alford helped up front, while Dan Connor joined Poz in the LB corps. The back end featured Alan Zemaitis, Anwar Phillips and Calvin Lowry, who helped the Lions in allowing just 306.5 YPG (17th nationally) and 16.5 PPG (11th nationally).
For those keeping score at home, the Late Paterno Era team outscored their opponents by 22.4 PPG, and outgained their opponents by 142.4 YPG.
Offense - 2023
Similarly, it appears that the offensive line will be a strength for the Lions in 2023, anchored by future first-round pick Olu Fashanu, and features stout interior play from Landon Tengwall and Sal Wormley. The running backs are one of the best pairs in the country, featuring Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen, who both individually surpassed the previous record of touchdowns for a freshman running back. The receivers include KeAndre Lambert-Smith, transfer Dante Cephas, and Theo Johnson. Drew Allar at quarterback has perhaps the best combination of size and arm talent any Penn State quarterback has had since Darryl Clark, and maybe even as far back as Kerry Collins. Finally, given that this will be Year 3 under Mike Yurcich, it won’t shock me in the slightest if the 2023 offense outperforms the 2022 offense, which rattled off 433.6 yards per game (YPG) and 35.8 points per game (PPG), which were good for #34 and #20 nationally.
Defense - 2023
The defensive line should lead the way in 2023, with Adisa Isaac, Chop Robinson, and Dani Dennis-Sutton making one of the more formidable DE rooms the Lions have had under Franklin, and should allow the DTs to grow into their roles. The secondary has been lights out for several years, and features Kalen King, Johnny Dixon, and Keaton Ellis. The linebackers are electric, with the two-headed monster of Abdul Carter and Curtis Jacobs acting as one of the most athletic combos at LB that Penn State has had. Lastly, this is Year 2 under Manny Diaz, meaning players will be even more comfortable in the system than they were in 2022, when the defense allowed 317.9 YPG (16th nationally) and 18 PPG (9th nationally).
For those prognosticating at home, the Current Era team hopes to be better than the 2022 unit, which outscored their opponents by 17.8 PPG, and outgained their opponents by 115.7 YPG.
There you have it folks. Two excellent teams enter the arena, but only one can emerge victorious! Cast your vote below, and determine who the winner will be of the Era vs Era championship game!
Which team wins the Era vs Era Championship?
This poll is closed
Late Paterno Era (2008 Offense + 2005 Defense)
Current Era (2023 Offense + 2023 Defense)