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OSU @ PSU _ not quite a prediction

November 4, 2009

So this is it, the big showdown: OHIO STATE @ PENN STATE.  This is the game every Penn State fan wants tickets to.  This is the game every Penn State fan was already worrying about back in June.  This is the game that, more often than not, makes or breaks our season.  Sure, our rankings (#12, #10 respectively) might not be as high as they usually are but, on brand name alone, this game will have the nation’s attention.

Now, before I get into why Penn State is going to win/lose this game, I should just come out and say it:  I feel good about the season Penn State has had so far.  I’ve been thinking it since the beginning of the season: that this was more of a rebuilding year than a reloading year (see Florida, Alabama, Texas.)  And to be 8-1 in the midst of a rebuilding year?  Well, that’s not bad at all.  And another plus, I think the team has had more than a few opportunities to learn some hard lessons… and those are the lessons that pay off during the “great” seasons (that tend to come after rebuilding seasons.)

Daryl Clark: leading the Big Ten in touchdowns

So, what was the lesson learned from the Iowa loss?  How to move on.  Believe it or not but the loss to the Hawkeyes might have been the best thing to happen to Penn State this season.  Up to that point, the Nittany Lions were ranked way too high (#5.)  There was way too much pressure and the expectations were unreasonable.   Even though I would have loved to have won that game, I think a loss, sometime in the season, was inevitable.  And its always better to get those loses out of the way early.  Late season loses, the true heart-breakers, can be devastating, especially to PSU teams (think ’99.) And besides, Iowa is 9-0 and a few upsets away from playing for a national championship (go figure.)

Okay, so let me bring this post back to the OSU-PSU game.  Like I said in the title, this isn’t quite a prediction.  Instead I’ve decided to supply you with some stats, all from the Big Ten Conference, that may sway your own opinion one way or  another:

SCORING OFFENSE:
1. Michigan
2. Ohio State
3. Penn State
6. Iowa

SCORING DEFENSE:
1. Penn State (leads the nation)
2. Ohio State
3. Iowa

PASS OFFENSE:
3. Penn State
5. Iowa
10. Ohio State

PASS DEFENSE:
1. Penn State
2. Ohio State
3. Iowa

RUSHING OFFENSE:
1. Michigan
4. Ohio State
5. Penn State

RUSHING DEFENSE:
1. Penn State
2. Ohio State
5. Iowa

TOTAL OFFENSE:
1. Penn State
2. Michigan
6. Ohio State
9. Iowa

TOTAL DEFENSE:
1. Penn State
2. Ohio State
3. Iowa

Okay, so what do I take away from all this? Well, to start, it’s pretty obvious that Ohio State and Penn State are two very good defensive football teams.  Then you might notice that on the offensive side of the ball, Penn State ranks right up at, or near, the top.  That’s impressive.  That’s balance.  Ohio State on the other hand, in most offensive categories, is middle-of-the-pack (except in scoring offense in which they rank 3rd and passing offense in which they rank 10th.)  Hmm.  Well, okay, so I guess that means Ohio State has an average offense in the conference.  That’s perfectly acceptable, especially with a defense like theirs.

Terrelle Pryor: Returning home to PA

Now, take a look again at the other teams that popped up in the statistics.  Michigan, you might notice, ranks very high throughout the offensive categories.  And Iowa, well, they rank very high throughout the defensive categories.  Why is that of interest?  Because Penn State has played Michigan and still has one of the statistically best defenses in the conference AND Penn State has played Iowa and still has one of the statistically best offenses in the conference.  Ohio State, on the other hand, has not played either of those teams.  They play Iowa, the 3rd best defense in the conference, next weekend and they play Michigan, the second best offense in the conference, the weekend after that.

Now, I know stats don’t win football games.  It’s settled on the field, blah, blah, blah.  But if I were an Ohio State fan, I might find that alarming… especially when I consider the fact that the Buckeyes also have yet to play the leading offense and leading defense in the conference (not to mention country.)  And who might that be?  Penn State.

So, there you have it.  It’s not quite a prediction.  Just facts.  Form your own opinion.  Let’s hear your predictions…

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Alan Kugler permalink
    November 4, 2009 3:43 am

    Well we shall see. The questions are whether Ohio State’s offense is improving and whether PSU’s stats are a product of a weak non-conference schedule.

  2. Tim Kugler permalink
    November 4, 2009 12:46 pm

    Penn State is more than capable of winning this game and the stats are proof of that.

    We just never seem to know which team is going to show up… The shy, timid team that seems to lack confidence, under preforms and allows themselves to be “shaken” by a bad break or two, or the team that KNOWS they will win and plays with swagger from start to finish.

    I guess we will find out!

  3. November 25, 2009 2:09 am

    So your post is old at this point, but I wrote another PSU post: http://jthechub.wordpress.com/2009/11/25/bcs/

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