Penn State Football Forecast

Penn State Football Forecast

Penn State Football Forecast                     
By Brad Diamond
Playbook.com

Head Coach O’Brien put together a unit finishing 8-4 SU and 9-2-1 ATS in 2012. This time around the mix is strong with 12 returning starters. The key to success is how well the Lions replace QB Matt McGloin (3,271) who after a rough start went on to successfully decide 8-of-the-10 remaining games on the schedule. At this writing there are two possible replacements, including highly talented five-star QB Christian Hackenberg (2,344) out of Fork Union Military. Most recruiting outlets rated the athlete as one of the top-four at his position running the pro set. Also, Tyler Ferguson, a junior college transfer, gets a chance to be relevant when the summer practices begin. Stephen Bench has transferred out complicating the already questionable depth issues. The running attack (Zwinak, 1,000+) has support along with solid big time athletes at tight end featuring frosh AA Kyle Carter. The offensive line has talent, but will need to successfully replace the center position. A very aggressive defense (16th rated) returns with 5 starters, 2 on the defensive line with Barnes and Jones. The secondary is talented with depth. The critical position needing quality improvement is at linebacker. The kicking game brings average talent to the field. In fact, last season the much maligned K Sam Ficken missed four field goals against Virginia costing the Nits a nine win season and a higher ranking in the final polls. Consistency is needed for the special teams to foster a viable commodity in Big-Ten games.

Schedule

In game #1 at East Rutherford, New Jersey the Lions will face historic rival Syracuse. With former head coach Doug Marrone in the NFL, DC Scott Shafer will run the 2013 edition of the Orange. Huge area of concern is generating offense without QB Ryan Nassib. Still, Syracuse finished #70 on offense and will need to run the football against Penn State? After, the Lions return home for Eastern Michigan, Central Florida and Kent State. The more challenging unit will be Kent State who brings a fully loaded offense from last year that averaged 33.1 points per game. KSU has a light defense with 5 starters returning from a unit that allowed 21+ points in games in 2012. No matter, believe Penn State can go into their Big-Ten schedule undefeated. Over the remaining eight games the Lions face Indiana (A), Michigan (H), Ohio State (A), Illinois (H), Minnesota (A), Purdue (H), Nebraska (H) and Wisconsin (A). Look for the Lions to split their conference schedule, maybe pulling one upset. We look for an 8-4 (9-3 long shot) season as the staff has a year under their belts, which should provide more effective technique and communications.

Against The Spread

Finishing 9-2-1 ATS in 2012 gave the Penn State backers an expanded wallet at seasons end. Interesting, the Lions went 4-0-1 versus the number on the road. As an underdog they finished 3-2 ATS, 6-2 ATS overall in conference. Last year PSU benefited with spread value early via a sense of uncertainty because of the coaching transition and program issues. This will be a factor in the early Vegas numbers this season. As a chalk, last season they finished 6-1 ATS. In six games they were listed as -7 or less. The average line in those games fell out at -4.7 points. With the Penn State followers looking to rotate back to their club, we feel you will see higher numbers in games the Lions are favored. PLAY AGAINST Penn State whenever listed as a favorite. Good Luck this football season.

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