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Week 1 College Football Pick
Ohio University will travel to State College to take on Penn State to kick off their season on Saturday, September 1st. Kickoff is set for 12 noon est. and the game can be seen on ESPN. Penn State opened as a -7 point favorite at 5 Dimes and the line has since moved to -6 despite heavy action on Penn State with over 80% of the bets coming in thus far being on the Nittany Lions.
This game would have attracted plenty of interested even without the Sandusky scandal, mostly due to the Ohio Bobcats as many are expecting big things from this year. Add in all of the drama that surrounds Penn State these days with the scandal from last year and the departing players and you have some must watch TV here early Saturday afternoon.
This is a huge opportunity for Ohio U. The added interest in this game will increased the ESPN audience dramatically and will be an opportunity for Ohio U. to showcase their program. It's not often that a MAC team gets this kind of exposure. They'll want to show future recruits that not only can you play in a game of this magnitude on National TV, but you can also win games like these.
Ohio U. returns a healthy number of starters, 6 on offense and 8 on the defense as well as 45 lettermen to a team that was 10-4 a year ago. After Penn State, their schedule is nothing special. So the chatter is, if they get by this one with a W, the Bobcats could find themselves ranked in the top 25 with something to say come BCS bowl time.
But we still have to keep things in perspective. They won and lost so many games a year ago by a field goal or less. They beat Kent State by a TD. Lost to Buffalo by 1 and Bal State by 3. They beat Bowling Green by 1 and lost to Northern Illinois by 3. The point being, not much separated Ohio U. from the rest of the MAC and when they did step up a tad in class, at Rutgers for example, they lost 38-26. This is still a MAC team with MAC talent. They are 2-11 vs. BCS teams under coach Frank Solich and 6-37 all time vs. the Big 10.
Penn State is vulnerable, no doubt. They lost 9 players when the sanctions were handed down and that's in addition to the 13 starters they lost to graduation and the NFL. Throw in a new coach with new schemes to go along with all of the other drama surrounding this program and who knows what you have. It certainly levels the playing field and Ohio U. is well aware of this and looking to take advantage.
The potential is there for this to be a pretty good, competitive football game. But at the end of the day, this is still a Big 10 team vs. a MAC team. Penn State still has plenty of talent left on their roster. They should have edges at most positions and figure to be able to dominate both lines of scrimmage and let's face it, that's how you win football games. That's why Ohio is 6-37 all time vs. the Big 10. Penn State will also have plenty of motivation of their own. Nobody on this team had anything to do with what happened with this program and they want to put it all behind them and just play football. The fans know that as well and will fill this stadium like they always do to support this team, which translates into yet another advantage.
At anything less than a touchdown, we're going to put all of the drama and hoopla aside and go with what we feel is the better all around football team. We hate to be on the same side as the masses, but the masses aren't always wrong. Penn State -6
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