Following Minnesota, Michigan's 1st real challenge re: the B10 title will come with a trip to State College, PA. In spite of a ton of personnel losses and an 0-2 start last year, BOB turned his "bunch of fuckers" into an 8-4 team. Aside from a couple LBers and the QB, it looks like PSU has most of it's team back having pushed past the distractions of a year ago. The B10 receiver of the year, freshman of the year on defense and quality experience on the OL return to Happy Valley.
Offensively, there aren't a ton of All B10 level players, but lots of quality experience returns nonetheless. Maybe 2 OLs, OLSM's own Allen Robinson (B10 WR of the year) and a deep TE core may contend for All B10. BOB loves the TE in much the same way gorgeous Al does, and will probably run a lot of 2TE sets. The QB will be the big ? as they either have a JC transfer or true FR Chris "HeAintNoChadHenne" Hackenburg will be under center.
Defensively they lose 2 quality LBers, but has PSU ever NOT had a LBer in waiting? I think they'll be above average in the front 7, barring injuries to guys like Hull and Barnes (B10 FR of the year). It's the secondary that looks to be a tire fire in the making as there is little quality in the starters and no depth.
The schedule seems the same as last year as M and Minn rotate on the schedule- they now miss MSU, Iowa and NW. Syracuse is the opener in State College and I'm going with the Orange in spite of my total lack of repect for that school. Depth will hurt PSU as injuries accumulate late in the season, but it's the QB situation that makes me think Cuse comes away with what will be their biggest win in perhaps a decade.
Should PSU prove me wrong, they (just as Minnesota) look to be 5-0 when M appears across the sideline, followed by a trip to the 'Shoe. I think they lose those 2, the trip to Minn and the last 2 vs Neb and @Wisc to finish 6-6 (3-5). Aside from the QB position, it looks as if PSU should be improved this year since the transition and general circus of the last 2 years is essentially behind them and they return a lot of quality (even young quality players that you wouldn't expect due to the extreme attrition). I could see 8-4 (4-4), but 3 things are working against them: the (moderately important) QB position, the depth of the team due to s'ship limits and what I think will be an improved B10 overall. They put up valiant efforts against the Big 2, but falter down the stretch as overall team depth starts counting against them. IMO, an apparent step back for PSU awaits in spite of BOB's continued inspiring efforts.
SLIGHT MOD EDIT: Changed "F---ers" to Lions. Let's not go there today, folks. LSA
1) I was referring to BOB's 'bunch of fuckers' line after their win last year vs Wisc. Didn't mean to offend your virgin ears.
2) god forbid we have any actual football discussion at all, what with the game of thrones/shark week/seat cushin debates taking up so much room in the intratube of webs.