Penn State suffered a brutal loss at Indiana last weekend and returns home this weekend for Homecoming and an early evening, or late afternoon, kickoff against undefeated Michigan. The Wolverines have struggled on their way to a perfect mark entering the weekend, but have depth on their side against Penn State. Can the Nittany Lions bounce back with a strong overall performance to hand Michigan their first loss of the season, or will Michigan win their first game against the Nittany Lions since 2007?
This week's edition of the Blue White Roundtable is once again organized by Black Shoe Diaries. Check out them out for a roundup from the Penn State blogosphere.
1. Lets get this out of the way. The Internet exploded after Saturday's loss to Indiana. Were you as surprised as most seemed to be? What was the biggest problem?
I was not nearly as surprised at the loss to Indiana because I felt the Hoosiers had the weapons that could expose Penn State's deficiencies the way Central Florida did a few weeks earlier. I also believe Indiana has one of the top offense sin the Big Ten and are usually going to be dangerous. What I was surprised by was just how the game steam rolled out of control without Penn State being able to find a way to slow down the boulder running toward them. Having a game unravel like that after a bye week was also a tad concerning.
When you have a team depleted in scholarship players and take a freshman quarterback on the road in conference play, it can be a tough situation. I think this loss was just a perfect mixture that favored Indiana.
2. We've had our share of heartbreakers and memories against Michigan. What's the most memorable win? What's the most brutal loss?
The most memorable win may be the 1994 game. Third-ranked and undefeated Penn State traveling to Ann Arbor to take on fifth-ranked Michigan and then handing the Wolverines the loss was the game that put Penn State on top of the polls. Well, for a week anyway. I still say the 1994 Penn State team was the best I have ever had the fortune of watching, and for one week they showed why they were the best team in the country that season.
On the flip side, take your pick. The 2005 game was painful, but ultimately did not crush the hopes for that season. Even if they had won that game in a full 60 minutes it was probably unlikely the BCS would have slid Michael Robinson and company in to the BCS Championship game ahead of USC or Texas. As good as Penn State was that season, I'll never be caught asking "What if?" with regard to that scenario.
It's a toss up for me between 2002 and 1997. The 1997 season looked like everything was running smoothly but a couple of close calls against Minnesota and Northwestern probably should have been an omen for the pain to come against fourth-ranked Michigan. Michigan flat out destroyed No. 2 Penn State, 34-7, to kick start the long and painful string of nine straight victories in the series.
3. It's Homecoming Weekend in State College. What's your favorite homecoming story? Feel free to tell a non-PG version...
Contrary to popular belief I did not go to Penn State, thus have no Penn State homecoming stories to share. But if ever want to hear some tales from the legendary Shippensburg homecoming festivities, you just let me know.
4. Score predictions?
I'm actually pretty torn on this weekend's game. I think Penn State's defense tightens up after a rough outing last week, similar to the way they responded after Central Florida. I think playing at home before their biggest crowd in a while also helps provide a spark. I have watched plenty of Michigan this season to know they are an overrated bunch that has found ways to win against some clearly inferior competition, and I am not as sold on Devin Gardner as I thought I would be by now. Still, I think Michigan has the depth that will find a way to gut out another victory this weekend.
Michigan 23, Penn State 20
[Crystal Ball Run Dirty Dozen picks this week were unanimous in picking Michigan as well]