Doc's Sports 2011 Penn State Nittany Lions Football Betting Preview
by Doc - 8/22/2011
Predicted Overall Record 8-4 (5-3 in the Big Ten)
Click the link for them 2011 Penn State Nittany Lions football schedule.
Coach Joe Paterno is returning for his 47th year, and that means he started just one year after I graduated high school! Does that ever put things into perspective. The Lions have 14 starters back and should once again field a very talented team. A September home game against Alabama will certainly test their talent, as Alabama beat Penn State, 24-3, last year in a game that Alabama could have won by 40 if they desired. Penn State will have a much better chance in this game and I look for it to go down to the wire.
Strengths: One of the Lions strengths will be their schedule. After their matchup with Alabama on Sept. 10, the schedule is soft and I look for them to be 6-1 going into their game at Northwestern on Oct. 22. But then the schedules get brutal with a five-game stretch against teams that made bowl games last year. Going 3-2 down the stretch would be a major accomplishment.
The defense in 2010 was not a typical Paterno defense, but I look for this unit to be much stronger in 2011 since they return seven starters and five of their six leading tacklers.
Weakness: The quarterback position is certainly the first thing that comes to mind when discussing why Penn State struggled last season. Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin both saw action during spring ball, but neither one of them made an impression. If the position can be solidified, the Lions will make some noise in the Big Ten and could be playing for the championship.
Favorable Win against the Spread: Sept. 24 vs. Eastern Michigan. The line will certainly be high in this game. However, Paterno never lets up against an inferior opponent. Eastern Michigan will be coming off a game against Michigan the week prior and going back on the road will be too much for them to overcome.
Favorable Loss Against the Spread: Oct. 22 at Northwestern. Northwestern could be the surprise of the Big Ten this season and could enter this game with a couple of losses. That will make this a favorable line for them, especially since they will have revenge on their minds. Northwestern led Penn State by 21 points last year, but fell apart in the second half and lost, 35-21. If QB Dan Persa is healthy, this will be a perfect setup for a point spread victory for the Wildcats.
Closing Thoughts: If the quarterback position can get settled, this team has the talent to have a very good year. They have a brutal November schedule and if they do not perform well this season, it could be curtains for Paterno. That being said, I see them winning eight games and challenging for the Big Ten title.
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