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Previewing the Schedule: Akron to Iowa

Submitted by on August 25, 20098 Comments

As the football season is just around the corner, how about we take a moment to take a glance at the schedule that will see Penn State try to reach the BCS Championship game this January.

Today we start with the first four games, which will see the Nittany Lions take on three seemingly inferior out of conference opponents and open the Big Ten conference slate in prime time.

September 5, 2009 – 12:00 pm, Big Ten Network

Akron is one of the two MAC opponents on the Penn State schedule this year. After finishing the 2008 season one win shy of becoming eligible for a bowl the Zips enter 2009 with a sense of optimism. They will play their home game sin a new stadium and will host a Big Ten team (Indiana) on their campus for the first time in the program’s history.

Third year quarterback Chris Jacquemain had one of the top seasons by a quarterback in Akron’s history in 2008. Jacquemain threw for 2,748 yards and 20 touchdowns. Jacquemain will have four wide receivers who return from last year’s squad. Alex Allen will be the main man rushing the ball as well but the Akron defense has a lot of areas of concern that need to be addressed.

Expect Penn State to take the season opener.

September 12, 2009 – 12:00pm, Big Ten Network

Last season saw an old series revived when Penn State traveled north to take on Syracuse. Despite some early hiccups the Nittany Lions rolled to an easy victory over the Orange. We later found out just how bad Syracuse was as the season unfolded. Syracuse has a new coach in charge and made headlines by naming former Duke basketball stand out Greg Paulus as the starting quarterback.

Truth is the Orange could have Donovan McNabb taking the snaps this year and it still might not make enough of a difference. Call me skeptical but I think Paulus will get a rude awakening a la Clemson when he takes a few snaps against the Penn State defense. Flopping won’t draw a penalty in this game, although it will be interesting to see what should happen if a roughing the passer penalty is called on an over-zealous Penn State defender.

Penn State should be looking at a 2-0 record after crushing the Orange.

September 19, 2009 – 12:00pm, Big Ten Network

The Owls are heading in the right direction and personally I find myslf jumping on their band wagon. Coached by former Nittany Lion Al Golden may be one of my reasons to jump on, or it may be the fact that I live in the Philadephia region.

The Owls have some areas that need improvement but with many of the players already having received some serious playing time on both sides of the ball you can expect that the team is going to be far less nervous in big game situations. Temple fell just short of bowl eligibility last season and was doomed by a couple of late losses. I feel for the Owls and think that they are ready to make a push for a MAC East division championship and possibly a bowl game.

But they are still a long way away from being a legitimate threat to Penn State, who should pick up their third win to start the season. It has been a few years since Temple scored on Penn State, so perhaps they should focus on that goal first and go from there.

September 26, 2009 – 8:05pm, ABC/ESPN

This is a big one. The Big Ten opener will take place under the lights in front of a White Out crowd. Revenge will be on the mind as well as Iowa played the spoiler role last year, knocking Penn State out of the national championship picture with a heart breaking last second field goal.

Ricky Stanzi is back at quarterback and he will have to pick up more of the offensive game plan after the Hawkeyes lose Shonn Greene to the NFL.  The always tough Iowa defense will return three starters in the secondary and three linebackers.

Iowa has beaten Penn State in six of the last seven meetings. That trend was largely overshadowed by the Nittany Lions’ nine-game losing streak to Michigan. If Penn State is going to make a run at the Big Ten title, a statement must be made by the team that derailed their ultimate dream in 2008.

I’m picking a win in the early conference tilt.

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the middle of the schedule. What record do you have Penn State with after the first four games?

Click here for the next four games.

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  • Charlie

    4-0 with a crushing win over the Hawkeyes. Temple game will be far more competitive than most will think though.

  • Opposite Man

    This is fantastic analysis

  • Total Liar

    I agree completely with everything written here.

  • McGuire

    I agree on Temple. They are a team heading in the right direction and it would be nice to see them get competitive, even against Penn State. Living near Philadelphia I wouldn't mind heading down to Lincoln Financial Field to see Temple.

  • McGuire

    Since your name appears to indicate you mean the opposite of what you say, dos this mean you disagree with this breakdown?

  • McGuire

    Same question as Opposite Man.

  • psudevon

    Well, I mean, it's all accurate, but I wouldn't exactly call it Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporting. Pretty common knowledge, most of what you've written.

  • psudevon

    Well, I mean, it's all accurate, but I wouldn't exactly call it Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporting. Pretty common knowledge, most of what you've written.