I won’t have much time to write this week because of the impending 2012 Greater Orlando Heart Walk. I don’t think you’ll mind if I take a little time off of spewing drivel in favor of supporting a worthwhile charity. I’m a team captain with a great team that raised lots of money. The finale is tomorrow.
So, here we are this week, with Penn State sporting an 0-2 record going into the well rested Midshipmen of Navy, who lost big to Notre Dame in Ireland for their opener.
When you think of famous alumni of the USNA, you have to think of lots of astronauts and one former president, Jimmy Carter. I don’t want to think about Jimmy too much, so let us move on.
Navy runs the triple option, which has typically given the Nittany Lions’ defense fits. You have to believe that Bill O’Brien will feel nostalgic Georgia Tech pangs, and that he will call upon distant memories to implement an option stopping plan. Having guys like Mauti helps, of course. Swarm, Front Seven, Swarm! Contain! All those fancy words. Get ‘em.
If the Lions are successful in keeping the option at bay, forcing the Midshipmen to pass, we’ve got our undermanned secondary to be concerned about.
But you know all of that, don’t you?
On offense, the Lions are all banged up, and the prognosis is uncertain. Belton and Day both practiced, but as I write this it is not known whether either, both, or neither will play. With or without them, I believe that it will be a stretch to expect any significant offense, either aerial or terrestrial. Curtis Dukes will no doubt get many of the carries, and if Akeel Lynch has to play, there goes his redshirt. On the other hand, Navy sucked defending the Irish run (which is what you get when you mix too much Irish stew with Irish brew), allowing almost 300 yards.
Ethereally, the latest departure, Shawney Kersey, a starting wide receiver, makes a huge dent in the passing game. McGloin’s elbow might be an issue, too. With Paul Jones washing out, freshman Steven Bench might see significant duty if all McGloin can throw are wounded ducks. Navy’s secondary sucked against the Irish, but we don’t even know who’ll be throwing what to whom. Allen Robinson and Kyle Carter seem to be the “givens” in the aerial assault force, but beyond them, who? Will whoever plays quarterback have any rhythm with guys who haven’t been playing all that much? I mean, what’s the deal here?
Since Penn State’s kicking game sucks, it will be hard to give us the edge in that area. In fact, the PSU return game sucks, too, so Navy has to have the advantage in special teams, even if O’Brien runs another fake punt. I like the fact that O’Brien is giving Ficken a confidence-builder of a game here. The students living in the tent colony formerly known as Paternoville will be flying a banner in support of Ficken. That’s the way it should be. This is not Scott “Wide Right” Norwood screwing up Super Bowls. This is a kid who deserves to play. Unlike Fera, he didn’t give up the ship. Nevertheless, until Ficken proves that he can make field goals and extra points, I can’t attribute very many points to him when making my fearless predictions.
It is expected that the Nittany Lions would be a little down — at least — after dropping two games, particularly the eminently winnable Virginia game. So, the coaching staff has to understand that it is dealing with fragile young egos and motivate the players appropriately. It might be tough to get them up for this game. At least it’s not a noon start. The football culture hating ESPN thought it would be good to give this game a 3:30 slot, for some reason, perhaps because it is Military Appreciation Day.
We are honored to have the same damn announcing team that we had last week for Virginia: Mike Patrick, Ed Cunningham, and Jeanine “Sweet Baby” Edwards. It’s a reverse mirror ESPN2/ABC thingie, which means somewhere it is on ESPN2 and otherwhere it is on ABC. Check the coverage map to see on which channel to find it in your area.
So, what’s with the weather? Absolutely poifect! The forecast calls for sunny with a high of 70ºF (21ºC). Not a thing to complain about. Just a wonderful early fall day. It’s still technically summer, but who cares?
OK, so you’ve waded through my drivel; now you get to the good part, where you scorn my selection and my score prediction. Yes, friends, this is the World Famous Official Turkey Poop Prediction for the Week! Ah, the Turkey sucks at predictions this year, being 1-1. I’d say I know how O’Brien feels, but at least I have one win. This week, the Nittany Lions are favored by seven points on their home turf, and the over/under is 47.5, suggesting that the gamblers think this will end up 27-20, in favor of Penn State. I just don’t see how the Lions are going to put that many points on the scoreboard. In an “I don’t think we know how bad it really is” upset special, Navy 20, Penn State 9 — and take the “under”.
I’ll be back in a day or two with a recap of what I hope doesn’t go the way of my prediction. Enjoy it, one way or the other.