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2013 Penn State
Odds and Schedule
Not many had high expectations for Penn State entering the 2012 season and it looked like it was going to be a rough one early on following two straight losses. However, Bill O'Brien got his troops together and proceeded to bust out an 8-4 record and respectable 6-2 in conference play. Big wins included Northwestern, Temple and a season finale over Wisconsin. Repeating that record is very possible, but once again, they'll have to overcome some hurdles.
Penn State opens their season August 31st when they travel to East Rutherford to play Syracuse at Giants Stadium. The Nittany Lions are listed as -3.5 point favorites in that game, at 5 Dimes Sportsbook, as of this writing in mid June.
The offense returns most of its players, but the glaring deficiency comes at quarterback where Matt McGloin became a viable starter last year. With Steven Bench leaving the program, the spot under center will be either JUCO transfer Tyler Ferguson or incoming freshman Christian Hackenberg. Ferguson has the edge, but that may not be the case once Hackenberg gets into form. The good thing is that almost everyone will be returning on the offense. Zach Zwinak and Allen Robinson, the leading rusher and receiver last year respectively for the Nittany Lions, will both be back to help the cause. Even though they only averaged 3.6 yards per carry as a team last year, O'Brien kept with the running game and it eventually showed results, most importantly in the final game when Zwinak rushed for 179 yards against the Badgers. Expect to see plenty more running this year.
The usually stout Penn State defense will take a hit at all positions, more so at the linebacker spot where their two leading tacklers are gone. With a nice incoming freshman class, the transition shouldn't be all that difficult. Still, it's a long shot if they can match last year's success as the defense allowed fewer than 20 points per game. The defensive line and secondary will also be losing some big names.
2013 Penn State College Football Schedule
Aug. 31 vs. Syracuse
Sept. 7 vs. Eastern Michigan
Sept. 14 vs. Central Florida
Sept. 21 vs. Kent State
Oct. 5 at Indiana
Oct. 12 vs. Michigan
Oct. 26 at Ohio State
Nov. 1 vs. Illinois
Nov. 9 at Minnesota
Nov. 16 vs. Purdue
Nov. 23 vs. Nebraska
Nov. 30 at Wisconsin
The Nittany Lions have an easier out-of-conference schedule which should help matters for them this year. Their toughest task will come against Syracuse who will have a new coach and new quarterback. All four of those games will be at home for them.
A couple of back-to-back games will decide the season for them in Big Ten play. They get Michigan at home and then travel to Ohio State. To finish the season they'll face Nebraska in Happy Valley and travel to Wisconsin. If Penn State can get two wins out of those four games, it would be considered a success. Obviously, the two home games will be their best chances.
Even if they don't come out successful in any of those games, they can still get to eight wins. Although if the quarterback situation gets worse before it gets better, those eight wins are going to be much harder to get to.
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