#3 Michigan vs #11 Penn State
In what some clowns characterize as a season-defining game for Penn State, the Nittany Lions (8-1, 5-1) host the Michigan Wolverines (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten). James Franklin, in his MONDAY damn press conference, I guess because Jim Harbaugh held his on MONDAY, damnit, called for the crowd to eat lots of donuts to be on a sugar high when entering Beaver Stadium, so the energy and noise levels remains high, at least until Michigan jumps out to a 21-0 lead. (Yeah, I’m kidding, but sure as hell possible given the slow starts we’ve seen).
I still have no idea why the media madness was on Monday, although it might be because the geniuses in Washington moved Veteran’s Day from Saturday to Friday. We don’t need more days off from work in this country — we need more productivity! But I digress…
Some Sanguinarians have already been laying the foundation for their post-game whining and blame laying. All the headlines about the Michigan sign-cataloging, scouting visits, and forecasted Harbaugh suspensions provide the bricks, while the Sanguinarians will provide the mortar. If Penn State loses, we will see a study in creative denial, architected even more intensely than we typically see during PSU’s mostly perennial losses to Michigan and Ohio State. “Hmmm,” they’ll say. “So THAT’S why they’ve been beating us all these years! They cheat!”
Of course, if the Nittany Lions should by some strange quirk of fate prevail in this game, they will invoke a distant echo of the late, lamented Pittsburgh Pirates announcer Bob Prince, “We had ’em all the way!” Yep. Even cheating could not stop the mighty Penn State juggernaut.
Why Cheat When You Have the Goods?
Yeah, why? Damn good question. Harbaugh’s narcissistic insecurities, perhaps? Richard Nixon had the same problem. He didn’t need the Watergate break-in to win a second term agains the hapless Democrats led by weak-ass peacenik George McGovern, but Nixon’s paranoia reigned supreme. In Harbaugh’s case, I suppose the answer might emerge in the investigation, or it might not. Personally, I do not give a rat’s ass. The only thing is, we don’t know whether they truly have the goods. That will be demonstrated and decided on the field.
On any given day, Michigan can beat Penn State, in my opinion, and they don’t need to steal signs. Our deficient offensive line and lack of breakaway talent will likely hand them the victory, because they seem sound in all aspects of their game. The odd indicator is ESPN’s matchup predictor, which gives PSU a slight edge, 50.7% to 49.3%. I suspect the difference is about three points worth of home field advantage. Call it the morning donut index. Another factor is strength of schedule. Penn State has played Ohio State, the only other real team in the Big Ten; Michigan has not.
Yes, the Wolverines are 9-0, but again, who have they played? Absolutely no one. Purdue (2-7), this past weekend, whom they beat 41-13, might have been their toughest opponent. So, maybe they are suspect at this point. Nevertheless, they haven’t scored fewer than 30 points in any game all year, and the most they’ve given up were the 13 to Purdue. They shut out Moo U. 49-0, and allowed no more than 10 points to Rutgers, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Indiana.
So, I dunno. Get Chop Robinson back to harass J.J. McCarthy, and then PSU must stop Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards on the ground. The offensive line is competent as is the receiving corps, led by wide receivers Roman Wilson and Cornelius Johnson, tight end Colston Loveland, and Donovan Edwards coming out of the backfield.
Drew Allar must be on target and must take some risks to win this game. Furthermore, the running game must show up, which remains doubtful. This might be the best defense Penn State has seen.
I cannot state it enough. Penn State must hang onto the ball. Careless turnovers and stupid penalties will lose this game for them. So will stupid play calling, but we know we will get at least a couple of boneheaded plays out of Yurcich and Franklin. As I stated in the last post, confusing the defense is desirable; making them laugh at us is not.
So, it looks like fall in State College, partly cloudy with a prediction of 38 degrees at kickoff time.
Da Bottom Line
Hiya, fans of the Official Turkey Poop Prediction. I know who you are and I know that you skipped all my blather to see what kind of idiotic prediction I would make. Well, you missed me mentioning Bob Prince and Richard Nixon in consecutive paragraphs, so bleahhh! Idiocy is guaranteed here, and I certainly own up to the fact that I’m no expert, just the guy next to you drinking O’Doul’s and bullshitting at the bar. (I had to give up alcohol because of old-fart chronic turkey ailments. That makes watching Penn State much more difficult than it would in a lubricated state, I might add).
The line at MONDAY publication time favors Michigan by 3.5 and calls for an over/under of 44.5, which works out to a 24-21 Michigan victory. Are they any good? They haven’t played anyone, so who knows. The turkey will take a shot at it. I’m amazed by what Blake Corum can do to defenses at 5’8″ – 213 lbs. I also know how frustrating Penn State’s offense has been this year. I’m going with Michigan 29, Penn State 20, and take the over, but not because PSU will be doing any huge amount of scoring.
I’ll be back sometime after the game to make some excuses of my own.