Blue-White Roundtable: Season Opener Edition

Thanks to Run Up The Score for putting together these questions.  You can find out his answers come tomorrow but for now, here’s my take on things regarding PSU’s upcoming season opener with Florida International (whom The Nittany Turkey provides a nice history lesson on).  Fire Jay Pa also has some answers for the house.

1. Our long national nightmare is over — football season has returned! The Nittany Lions take on the Golden Panthers of Florida International University this Saturday. FIU was 0-12 last season, with losses to such powerhouse programs as Middle Tennessee State, Arkansas State, and Florida Atlantic. There’s no question that Penn State will win, but what are you hoping to see PSU accomplish against FIU? Aside from not getting injured, what can the Nittany Lions do that will make you say, “Okay, that’s something we can build on for next week against Notre Dame” 

I just want to see us manhandle them like we should do so on paper.  I want to see our O-line dominating their D-line, giving Austin Scott (or whoever is getting the bulk of the carries) wide lanes to run through.  I also want to see our defense absolutely destroy what little semblance of an offense they may have.  The only way FIU should be sniffing the end zone is if we commit a turnover deep in our own territory.  Most importantly though, I want to see the Outback Bowl version of Morelli where he’s putting just the right amount of touch on his passes and not making any WTF-type mistakes and I want to see D-Will back to his freshman form speed-wise.  If all the above happen on Saturday, I will be a little less worried about the Notre Dame game.

2.  Not every Big Ten team has a functional bye week. Take a look at this week’s schedule. Who is most likely to suffer an upset?
Normally I would be all over the Purdue-Toledo game as a potential upset but after reading some “season previews” on Toledo, it appears that they’re a program marred in some turmoil right now, coming off a losing season and facing probes into alleged point shaving by some of their players.  Plus, they can’t seem to settle on a QB which is a red flag in a conference (MAC) where quarterbacks rule.

Northeastern-Northwestern, UAB-Michigan State, Bowling Green-Minnesota, Missouri-Illinois, and Indiana State-Indiana, all fall under the “Cripple Fight” category, meaning that I wouldn’t consider it an upset if any of these Big10 teams were to lose because they’re already bad enough as is.

I guess I would have to go with Washington State over Wisconsin (though I am honestly taking the Badgers and the points in Madison).  Washington State’s defense is atrocious but their offense looks to be prolific once again since they were ranked 15th in the nation last year in total offense and return most of their starters.  If the Badgers shoot themselves in the foot too many times with turnovers, the Cougars *might* stand a chance.

3.  How are you affected by the squabbles between the Big Ten Network and Comcast? Who is The Bad Guy in this battle? If you’re stuck in a situation where you won’t be at the game and can’t get the broadcast at your house, what are your plans for Saturday at noon?

When in doubt, blame Comcast.  My parents subscribe to their digital cable in State College so I’ve seen first hand just how crappy their service is.  The lack of HD channels (still no CBS or FOX HD) and how they abruptly bumped ESPNU (which was quickly becoming one of my favorite channels on digital cable) to their “Digital Plus” package without any prior notice are two things that rubbed me the wrong way.  Now, they don’t want to put the BTN on basic cable because they claim that most people don’t want to pay more money on their cable bill for a channel they don’t want.  Correct me if I’m wrong here, but Penn State has one of the largest alumni populations in the country and it’s a safe bet that a good number of them live in Pennsylvania.  Furthermore, I’m willing to bet that the majority of these PSU alums living in PA are football fans and will want to see their team play from the comfort of their own home instead of having to drive to the nearest sports bar and watch so they likely wouldn’t mind an increase in their cable bill to ensure they have all the PSU football games at their fingertips.

My dorm room’s cable system is a downright joke, I only get about 20 channels.  Luckily for me, there’s a bar that’s practically right behind my dorm and they recently picked up DirecTV (the only provider I know of that’s showing Big Ten Network right now) and a few flat-screen monitors so a contingent of PSU alums from my school and I  are gonna take over the place come high noon on Saturday.

Lightning Round

4. If things go as planned, everyone on PSU could see significant playing time on Saturday. Who will be the leading rusher, receiver, and passer for Penn State?

Austin Scott in rushing, Deon Butler receiving, and Morelli passing.

5.  Predict the score of the PSU vs. FIU game.

41-10 PSU.  FIU will get a field goal in the first half after we fumble the ball in our own territory and they will also tack on a garbage-time TD when the video coordinators and towel boys are playing on defense.  Actually scratch that last comment… it’s an insult to the video coordinators and towel boys.

6.  What non-PSU game are you most looking forward to this weekend?

Georgia Tech-Notre Dame.  Most people are predicting Tech wins this rather handily.  I beg to differ though…Irish by a field goal.


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