The Blue White Roundtable enters week four and it seems as though we're talking about the same issues once again with the quarterback situation. Before we get in to that though, here are a couple house keeping items.
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Adam Collyer from Black Shoe Diaries serves up the questions.
1. Penn State was 6-17 on third down against Temple on Saturday. What can the team do to fix that? Is it a quarterback derby issue?
Take more timeouts? Kidding.
I do think that the offense is having trouble adjusting to different timings based on the different quarterbacks on the field. The same plays may be called for Bolden and McGloin but each player has different tendencies and timing on plays, and that has to be difficult for the entire receiving corp and the offensive line (which is a major crack in itself.)
2. Last week, I asked whether Bolden's touchdown drive against Alabama in the fourth quarter was his defining moment. That was clearly premature, so I'll ask again. Bolden's big drive at the end of the fourth quarter, particularly the slant to Moye on 4th and 2 - defining moment?
Let's hope so.
Penn State needs to get this quarterback issue behind them, so once again it will be of the utmost importance for Bolden to build off of whatever high points he had in last weekend's win at Temple. If he can't keep something going against Eastern Michigan, then this could be a very long season for Penn State.
3. Anyone know anything about Eastern Michigan? Are they a candidate for Big Ten expansion?
We got to know Eastern Michigan a little bit this week thanks to our new friends at The Eastern Echo. We learned that Dominique Sherrer, their top running back, may be limited at best after sitting out last week at Michigan. Eastern Michigan will likely hold him out until they get started in MAC play. So in his place The Eastern Echo tells us that Javonti Greene (now the team's leading rusher with 346 yards) will likely be the primary ball-carrier.
They have matched last season's win total of two wins, but those victories have come against a pair of FCS programs, Alabama State and Howard. Last week they lost to Michigan 31-3 in Michigan Stadium.
As for candidacy for Big Ten expansion? Nah. Eastern Michigan doesn't add any extra viewers in the state of Michigan, and expansion is all about the TV sets!
4. How much can we realistically expect to learn about Penn State this weekend?
Probably about as much as we have been able to see in the first two weeks. I'm not expecting to see much based on recent play, however there are some things I'll be looking for. For example, how about a passing touchdown (or two)? Penn State is one of the six FBS teams to not have a single touchdown pass this season three weeks in to the season. If they can't get one this weekend then something needs to be done.
We'll find out what kind of character this team has. After a tough loss to Alabama and a gritty, less-than-impressive victory at Temple there are plenty of critics right now. These players know that, even if they say they don't know it. They have to come out with a dominant performance before conference play opens next week. If they don't, then leadership on the field and sidelines will continue to be questioned.
I thought Penn State would pull away from Temple last week. It didn't happen. I do expect it to happen this week, and I really can't see Penn State going four weeks without a touchdown pass.
Penn State 34, Eastern Michigan 10
One more question thrown our way, this time taking a look at the realignment process.
6. With news Missouri's interest in the SEC and conference expansion dominating the headlines, what is the Big Ten's best next move?
Let's quickly hit the refresh button and see what's going on as I write this (it is likely to change by the time I hit the post button, or by the time the round up is completed so be warned).
The Big East is losing Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC.
The ACC and SEC have rejected West Virginia.
The Pac-12 will stay at 12 teams and not invite Texas or Oklahoma (and Oklahoma State and Texas Tech).
Missouri has an invite to join the SEC. Or maybe not.
I have been on record of saying no matter what happens elsewhere, the Big Ten is in a good position standing pat with their current membership as is. They won't be accused of picking on another conference, as I so suggested they should to the Big East and ACC in the past, and they are still going to be in a profitable situation moving forward. It is a decision I now applaud after initially saying they needed to react.
I initially called for the Big Ten to get involved and begin the process of expanding. I'm still open to expansion but I no longer feel they need to initiate the conversation wiht anyone. If Rutgers makes a call (which they say they have), I would listen but woudl be reluctant to move unless someone else with a bigger profile shows interest.
If Texas, Oklahoma or Notre Dame make the call then I'm really listening.
As much of a perfect fit Notre Dame seems to be for the Big Ten, the odds of the Irish taking up an offer to possibly be the conference's sixth bowl team is likely enough to scare them away (because we all know they're every bowl game's first option, right?). If I'm the Big Ten, I accept Notre Dame in the blink of an eye, and maybe throw Rutgers in as well.
Texas has plenty of reasons to be scared off if you are the Big Ten with the Longhorn Network. Not even the Pac 12 was interested because of it and I felt the LHN could be overcome with making it a part of the Pac 12 Network.
Simply put, the Big Ten is fine the way they are, but if Notre Dame makes the first move, let's talk.