Penn State will be 7-5. They are going to be just terrible.
Its become a trendy thing for college football pundits to produce bowl projections during the preseason. So, with only hours to go before the preseason melts into the real season, I figured I would join the crowd and offer my own projections, at least for the Big 10. Feel free to rake these guesses over the coals as much as you want. I welcome the discussion. I will be updating these throughout the year, but those will be projections based on how the season is actually playing out. These are my own predictions, but they will appear next to future projections in order to create some comparison fodder as the season progresses. We'll see how it stacks up. So without further adieu, here we go:
The first task of these bowl projections is determing if the Big 10 will received multiple BCS Bowl bids. Even as everyone pans the league, its still a pretty good bet the conference will notch two spots in the big money bowls. The Big 10 has earned two BCS bids in three straight seasons, five of the last six and in seven on the first ten years of the BCS existence. The league does not need to send a team into the title game for this to happen either. Check out 1998, 1999, 2003 and 2005 seasons as examples of this. This fact is pertinent to the following predictions as I dont feel a Big 10 team will be playing for all the mythical marbles come January.
Rose Bowl: Ohio State. Any regular idiot can slate the Bucks into the National Title Game, but I am no regular idiot. The Bucks fall twice this year, likely at USC and at Wisconsin, and a relieved nation can breathe easy knowing OSU will be out of the national title picture. The Big 10, however, will pay for it as the Bucks, with the pressure off, demolish everyone in their path over the second half of their schedule including a, gulp, fifth straight win over arc----nope, I just cant finish typing that sentence. Pasadena has not seen the Bucks in over a decade and never with the Sweater Vest leading the troops. They'll be there on New Year's Day. They'll square off with Oklahoma and get off their BCS Bowl losing streak, while continuing the Sooners.
Sugar: Penn State. While I hardly think the Nittany Lions are world beaters, I think its an easy road map to follow as far as them landing in this plush bowl. The slate is pretty easy early on, and PSU should be 6-0 heading into their showdown in Madison. They'll lose that game and at Ohio State later in October, but as long as they can end the Happy Valley nightmare that is the Michigan losing streak, they'll still be in strong contention for a BCS bid heading into November. They close with at Iowa, Indiana and MSU. They'll sweep those--the MSU game will be an amazing contest in possibly Joe Pa's final home game. Sugar Bowl officials wont pass up the chance of hosting Paterno at the site where he's had some of his more historic moments. That allure will be so strong that they'll get tabbed over a more deserving Badger squad, despite its head to head win over PSU. No worries, their Bourbon Street foe, Georgia will make them pay.
Capital One: Wisconsin. They should get a BCS bid, save for the politicking described above. This team is good enough to earn a split in September road games at Fresno and at Michigan. I'm calling their upset at home versus OSU. Will they have enough in the tank to beat PSU the next week? Honestly that could go either way. I see trouble in November in East Lansing, a result that will keep them from both the Big 10 title and a BCS bid. Despite being double digit underdogs, the Badgers will be leading LSU into the fourth quarter before succombing to a series a fourth down conversions by the Man in the Hat.
Outback: Michigan. I dont need to explain it dammit. Lets just put down 9-3, and have another swig of this Ufer-tastic Maize and Blue Kool Aid. Bring on Auburn. War Eagle this muthafucka! Michigan cruise to another win over the SEC in postseason play. And, yes, I have a whole keg of Kool Aid.
Alamo: Michigan State. I really like the Spartans this year. Think they do the league proud and spring the upset Saturday night in Berkeley. Heck, lets give them a 6-0 start (although the home team in the ND-MSU series has lost seven in row, so L'il Bro might want to consider protecting the 50-yard line from a Leprechaun flag planting). It's a whole new era in East Lansing, right? Ah, no. The team comes out 'Oh No Sparty' flat and drop a game at Northwestern as well as losing to OSU and UM (natch). But it is a new era at MSU and Dantonio gets them to rally and upset Wisconsin. They'll fall to 7-4 with the PSU loss and square off with Texas in the Alamo Bowl. It will be a Burnt Orange win, but closer than the experts think.
Champs Sports: Illinois. Seems like a low projection for a team that many have rated highly heading into the season. But, I dont like Illinois schedule. They could be better this year than last year, but their schedule will work against them. An uphill climb in the opener against Missouri, road games at UM, Wisconsin and Penn State and, oh yeah, good luck trying to beat Tressel two years in a row. This team could not avoid the upset bug last year losing an ugly 10-6 game to Iowa, so there's no reason to think that wont happen again somewhere along the line. It would not be a surprise to see this team 4-4 going into November. But, they would be the best .500 team in country. A win over Northwestern in the finale will give them a 7-5 record and this trip to Orlando. Juice Williams will be their MVP in a win over Miami that will give the Illini a lot of momentum as they gear up for a run at the 2009 league title when the schedule is set up a lot better for them.
Insight: Minnesota. The Gophers finished winless in league play last year. Obviously this is a risky pick. But, if they can get through the first four weeks undefeated (next week's game at Bowling Green will be an early swing game for this projection), Minnesota will be 6-5 heading into their finale at home against Iowa. The Gophers will have too much offense for the Hawkeyes and their 7-5 record puts them in the same bowl that Indiana, last year's dormant to bowl team story of the season, played in. In one of the more entertaining bowl games of the season, the Gophers will fall to Colorado in a shoot out.
Motor City: Northwestern. The Wildcats have the look of their 2005 bowl team. I project a 4-0 out of conference record. Combined with a duplication of their 3-5 league mark last year, that gives them a 7-5 record and a trip to Detroit to play Central Michigan. The Chips will leave one step away from being the Buffalo Bills of the Motor City Bowl, losing their third straight in this contest. Bacher will sling pass for pass with LaFleur, but Tyrell Sutton in his final collegiate game will go for over 200 yards in the win.
Iowa, Purdue and Indiana will not go bowling. Iowa just lacks consistency and are no longer an untouchable team at home. Their loss to Minnesota in the closer drops them to 6-6 and out of the post season. Purdue cant beat good teams. While most figure them to be an easy entrant into the bowl season, I see a team that is just 3-15 against bowl teams the last three years. Two of those wins came last year, against Central Michigan. They wont have four wins at the end of October. They'll prevent a losing season by winning their rivalry game at home with Indiana, but all that will do is close the Tiller era with a 6-6, bowlless season. As for Indiana, they will be doing well to equal last year's 3-5 league mark. Even if they do that, however, I dont think they'll go 4-0 in non conference play as I smell a CMU upset on the first of November. Optimistically the Hoosiers can be 6-3 after nine games, but a three game losing streak (Wisconsin, at PSU, and at Purdue) will knock them back to ,500 and out of a bowl.
Penn State will be 7-5. They are going to be just terrible.
Despite my BCS Bowl prediction, they are not as good as the 2005 team. But, I dont see them losing any of their first six games: Coastal Carolina, Oregon St, at S'Cuse, Temple, Illinois and at Purdue. They will be favored in all of those games. A 4-2 close is not hard to project after that.
Continuing the schedule breakdown: PSU is 11-2 at home vs the Big 10 with this senior class. A 4-0 O.O.C. record is a lock. They have more talent than Iowa and Purdue and on the backs on their defense will go on the road in those stadiums and squeek out wins. Key stretch: at Wisco, UM, at OSU in the final three weeks of October. Get one of those and they're 10-2 bound.
Sometimes the schedule in college football proves more important than the actual talent you have on hand. I think PSU and Illinois' fate this season will reflect that. Their game on September 27 (at night in Happy Valley, I believe) will go a long way in determining how accurate my above predictions will be.
I really think Oregon State beats PSU. I know it's a bit out there, but nothing about Penn State this year remotely excites me. I still can't get over the fact that they created a name for an offense "Spread HD" based on what JoePa must have thought was "in". The Spread is hot, and everyone loves HDTV. I can just see him and JayPa deciding to name it after that. Also, no Sean Lee, lost Justin King to the draft, lost 2(3?) DTs, chose poor throwing Darryl Clark (Junior) over Pat Devlin (Sophmore), etc. They should have an amazing offensive line, but it didn't seem to help them that much last year against good teams.
I think the Beavers are gonna beat PSU too.
Oregon State is an under the radar team that is poised to have a nice season.
ShockFX - yeah I also agree with your "Nothing about Penn State this year remotely excites me." Outside of 2005 what has PSU done in the past 5 years to inspire any confidence of a BCS bid?
Well, we disagree there. Oregon State will not win at PSU next week. I dont think they're going to win tomorrow night at Stanford. This club always starts slow and they're rebuilding way too much on defense for that trend to not continue. Plus, "oregon state quarterback" is Spanish for "turnover machine." My translation might be wrong at that one, I'll double check. But, its been going on for years, dumb and head scratching play at QB. It will do them in next Saturday.
And they say there aren't any big games next weekend?!?! For the three of us, suddenly there are bragging rights on the line.....lol.
I do agree there's nothing special about PSU this year. But, it wont really take a special effort for them to go 10-2. I do not think you're giving enough credence to the emotional, somewhat political, reasonings behind my pick. They'll get a BCS bid, but it will be about as deserved as ND's in 2005 and 2006. And, there performance in that eventual game will sadly prove that.
Everyway I played it out, the Big 10 gets 2 BCS bids. Four at larges are available and I dont see the ACC and Big East getting multiple bids. I think every possible mid major has too hard a slate to run the table and get in there like Boise and Hawaii the last two years. So, I had to take a second Big 10 BCS team. Even if a mid major or a second ACC/Big East team get a bid, its worth noting the Pac 10 has only had 2 BCS at large selections and there's not an obvious worthy candidate heading into the year.
Who is your second BCS team from the Big 10.....or do you see only one team getting a big money bowl?
I have no idea about a 2nd team from the Big 10, but it sure as shit won't be PSU.
Here are others taking 2 Big Ten teams into the BCS:
Rivals: OSU/Rose, Wisco/Fiesta
Schlabach, ESPN: OSU/Nat Title, Wisco/Rose
Feldman, EPSN: OSU/Rose. Only 1 Big 10 BCS bid. He's got some goofy ones. Both Pitt and WVA get BCS Bowl bids as does BYU(actually, that one is a bit trendy) and USC playing Missou for the title. Michigan? Insight vs. Nebraska. Hmmmm.
Sporting News: OSU/Nat Title, Illinois/Rose
CFN: OSU/Nat Title, Wisco/Rose. Actually, they have five writers on the site who gave their predictions. All had OSU and Wisco in the BCS, with four of them prediting OSU in the title game and Wisco in either the Rose, or in one case the Sugar.
So, that's how the mainstream, alleged experts, punidtry class of college football watchers feel about it. I'll probably kill some time tomorrow at work checking into what the blogosphere has to say about bowl projections.
Anyway, its past midnight here so that means the season starts today!!! Of course, I'm also up a bit too late, so I'm calling it a night. Hopefully we can carry on the conversation tomorrow. Its a good topic and no real wrong answers. At least, not yet!!
No one is taking Penn State for a reason. Wisco just has to overcome a new QB. PSU has a new QB, DT, LBs, RB(?), secondary, oh, and Joe and Jay Paterno. So, yeah, PSU is going to suck balls.
Similar to what I said in my diary: Any idiot can slate PSU in a lesser bowl, and I am not just any idiot!!!!
Jamie you are definitely one of the best posters here, but you said "Any regular idiot can slate the Bucks into the National Title Game, but I am no regular idiot.". Just to point out that I'm not going insane. I somehow think the Pac10 gets 2 teams, especially if Oregon or ASU have that breakout season that is possible.
And, just so you know, my line about "any/regular idiot......." is a lame attempt at self-deprecating humor. I dont want anybody to think I'm calling others idiots for having a differing opinion. I encourage differing opinions, and it will be cool to see the season devleop and which predictions end up right and wrong.
No, you're hardly going insane. You make good points about PSU's negatives. Rodney Kinlaw, featured back for a BCS team, does not have much of a valid ring to it, does it!?!?!
We'll see about those Pac 10 teams. It seems, though, when a Pac 10 team does lose, they go into a Sparty-like tailspin. Some of those teams dont bounce back well to avoid a 3 or 4 loss season which usually kills any BCS hopes.
I've always liked Oregon's program, despite what they've done to us. And, Erickson is a heck of a coach at ASU, despite the character issues that always end up enveloping his teams. That UGA at ASU game in September will be an interesting barometer of the Devils, not to mention the Bulldogs.
Behind an entire returning OL from a decent OL last season, the QB and RB at PSU should be fine. Clark has had gametime playing time in the past and has beat out another relatively formidable QB (Devlin) during Fall practice, so he's not a total noob. Kinlaw had a great game vs. MSU and a great bowl game to close out last season so he's riding high. If Kinlaw and the rest of the PSU RBs hang on to the football, that offense looks like it'd be much better than last year (addition by subtraction idea). I really don't think anyone is going to miss Morelli.
On the defensive side, there was a lot of losses through graduation/injury, but it always seems like they have a ton of talent on that side of the ball and a new star emerges every year (at least in the front 7). I cannot speak for how good/bad their secondary will be though.
Yeah, what she said!
Wow, sounds like I have at least one semi partial believer in my PSU prediction.
The QB situation is clearly addition by subraction at Penn State.
Thanks for reading Kgh10 and for responding! Enjoy Saturday's game if you're going!
about Central Michigan being the Buffalo Bills of the Motor City Bowl. We're 1-1 in that game the last two years, thank you very much.
Oh man, so sorry.
I was going by memory and recalled a blowout to Memphis. Except now as I look it up, that was Akron and it was the 2005 game. I blame all the booze and everything else that hurts the short term memory. You could probably blame the PSU pick on account of that as well!!! The Chips rolled MTSU in 2006.
So scratch that analogy. Instead, make them the Atlanta Braves of the Motor City Bowl.