Penn State opens Saturday as a big favorite against visiting Appalachian State, which stunned Michigan 11 years ago on the road.
A potent Nittany Lion offense will prevent an upset at Beaver Stadium, but expect App State to put up a few points on what could be a vulnerable Penn State defense.
To be sure, defense will dictate how well the Lions fare this year. They’ve got inexperience and potentially outmanned players up the middle at tackle, middle linebacker and safety.
The hope is that the D will develop into a force quickly, because a game at Pitt awaits them the following Saturday.
Looking at the entire season:
— Almost certain wins: Home vs. Appalachian State, home vs. Kent State, home vs. Maryland.
— Should-be wins: At Illinois, at Indiana, at Rutgers.
— Favored by a smidge: At Pitt, home vs. Michigan State, home vs. Iowa.
— Toss-up: Home vs. Wisconsin.
— Underdogs by a smidge or more: Home vs. Ohio State, at Michigan.
Best scenario: 11-1.
Worst scenario: 8-4.
Prediction: 10-2, as Trace McSorley and the offense carry the team until the defense catches up. If only one of the losses is in Big Ten play, that could be enough to advance to the conference title game.
RANDOM SHOTS AND SECOND THOUGHTS
— Few things are more dangerous and chaotic than a Wawa parking lot – as in first-come, first-served and “You had better get your car the hell out of the way because that’s my parking space, you idiot.” Conversely, as if it’s a miracle, everyone becomes kinder and nicer than Mister Rogers as soon as they approach the door to enter or leave the store. They’ll hold the door for strangers, say to have a nice day and even offer to help old folks with their bags.
— Thinking of creating and manufacturing “His and Her Scales.” The men’s scale maxes out at 170 pounds and the women’s at 110. Gonna brand ’em as “Use these scales and you’ll never again be overweight.”
— Did you see where Tiger Woods didn’t hit one fairway during the front nine recently on the PGA Tour? Heck, that’s no big deal. I’ve played all 18 holes and never once hit the fairway. Many times.
— A colleague is taking steroids for 17 consecutive days to fight a sinus infection. Not sure if it’s helping his sinuses, but the Eagles already have offered him a tryout at defensive tackle.