|WHAT||Michigan @ #3 Penn State|
|WHERE||Beaver Stadium, State College PA|
|WHEN||4:30 EST, October 18th, 2008|
|THE LINE||Penn State by 23.5.*|
|UGH.||You said it.|
|TELEVISION||Nationwide on ESPN|
What do you do with a line that's 23.5? If Michigan was favored by 23.5 I'd half ass a preview. I think I'm going to do that when they're un-favored by 23.5, too. There's just not that much to say: in every facet of the game save punting (ZOLTAN WOO!) Penn State has vastly outperformed Michigan. You don't get spreads this high by accident.
Also, I am getting rocked by a cold and mostly want to lie around and snuffle. So this will be shorter than usual. (Update: but still 1100 words.)
Run Offense vs. PSU
It's hard to take Penn State's stats seriously when their out of conference schedule has Coastal Carolina, Temple, and Syracuse on it, but against teams with pulse-like objects:
Penn State's run defense has taken shotgun blasts in the form of departure, injury, and idiocy and keeps on trucking, as much of a zombie beast as the head coach.
As a spread team with no real quarterback threat and a questionable offensive line, Michigan most closely resembles—dammit—Purdue on this list. Penn State fans seem to be concerned about a couple of their linebackers in the wake of the Sean Lee injury, and if Michigan can catch someone slanting the wrong way or just frickin' block the DTs, there could be room to operate. I kind of doubt it, though, and expect more of the same.
Key Matchup: Sam McGuffie's intestines versus rupturing.
Pass Offense vs. PSU
Toledo faced off against Michigan with the nation's #109 pass efficiency defense and Michigan shredded them for 120 yards on 27 attempts, one touchdown, and three interceptions.
There's nothing to discuss if Threet isn't healthy. This is a disaster zone.
Even if he is, Threet's shining moment in the rain against Notre Dame has been followed by considerable ugliness. He is currently 95th in passer efficiency.
Penn State, meanwhile:
Uuuuuuuuugly. For opponents. Which is us in this case. 2-6 INT ratio, one team even in a marginally crappy YPA range, many, many incompletion. Penn State is also 17th in sacks allowed. In a word: likely DEATH.
THIS MATCHUP=TONY FRANKLIN.
Key Matchup: Threet versus elbow bruises and so forth and so on.
Run Defense vs. PSU
This is the one area in which Michigan is respectable… outside of net punting, of course. (WOO! ZOLTAN.) They currently sit 21st nationally, but in the most relevant matchup to date things went only okay:
That average isn't great but it's not an oblieration, either. Penn State, however, is back to the ways of Robinson, smoking opponents:
Oregon State was still wobbly early in the year and Illinois has been vulnerable on the ground against teams not named Michigan, so maybe there's some hope in the Wisconsin numbers? Eh… possibly. I expect the defensive tackles to get considerably more action than they did against Toledo, but they're all spread and HD and stuff and can attack outside—attack the linebackers—and we all know how that goes.
The verdict: a mix of stuffs up the middle with linebacker errors and Royster beating iffy tackles and one enormous bust and it looks like the Purdue game minus ten or twenty yards.
Key Matchup: Michigan defenders tackling the slippery Royster.
Pass Defense vs. PSU
Hey, so this blog can't be blamed for giving Darryl Clark a rating of '1' when these facts prevailed:
- Clark was under the tutelage of Jay Paterno.
- He sat behind Anthony Morelli for three years.
So it was a shock when he came out and started housing fools, then continued housing fools, and has pretty much got a Habitat for Ohio State Fans set up by this point. Then Joe Paterno said the reason they hadn't pulled Morelli last year was because JoePa hadn't wanted to give the media the satisfaction of being right about how crappy he was.
Ohhhh. Oh, JoePa is crazy. Okay. Still, fact A is in effect, which makes it freakin amazing that Clark is currently #15 in passer efficiency. In eight years as Penn State's QB coach JayPa has never had an above-average passer.
Now he does, and how. Meanwhile, Michigan's safeties are wearing shirts that say "I'm with touchdown-catching wide receiver". And Penn State has one of those ground games that can suck up safeties like whoah. Expect at least a few guys running open deep and 1-2 touchdown bombs; inbetween Michigan's attempts to contain Clark will stunt the pass rush and Penn State's fleet of little bastard WRs will turn little hitch routes into first downs as Michigan's linebackers whiff the tackles.
Key Matchup: Oh, hell, Brandon Graham getting to the quarterback, I guess.
We're down to #2 in net punting.
Key Matchup: Meh.
- Worry is the domain of the raw; worry is to be soothed.
- What's the worst that can happen?
- When they come for you, they will not know your name.
Cackle with knowing glee if...
- Joy is only a mask of fear.
- Loathe it, fight it, remain even.
- Interstellar darkness is vast beyond the capabilities of your imagination and cares nothing about your plight.
Fear/Paranoia Level: 0 out of 10. (Fear is the mindkiller. Fear nothing anymore; in your despair you find the freedom only the forsaken can experience.).
Desperate need to win level: 0 out of 10. (Needs lash the soul to the rack of imperfection. You need nothing. You experience all things, and all things experience you.)
Loss will cause me to... accept the nature of things; this wildebeest awaits only the chew.
Win will cause me to... laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh.
The strictures and conventions of sportswriting compel me to predict:
No… no, not really.
Finally, opportunities for me to look stupid Sunday:
- the universe is going to die someday.
- it expands, taking everything away from everything else.
- one day an atom will repulse another atom, and that will be it, the Last Interaction.
- will the final score tomorrow matter then?
- penn state fans think so.