Penn State Pregame Predictor: All Zipped Up
That’s right folks, I’ve gone rogue right off the bat; with all due respect to FrankLion of course. The “hype train” is real for the 2017 Nittany Lions and I have fallen for it hook, line, and sinker. The Zips don’t stand a chance. This one is nothing more than a tune-up before we get down to the real Nittany-gritty in week two. I fully expect to see more Stevens, Robinson, Sanders, and Charles than I do The Wizard, King ‘Quon, and the immortal Mike G. This is not an offense trying to find its way, it’s one that ended 2016 firing on all cylinders. It’s a defense eager to rid the taste of letting USC hand it 51. But let’s be honest, if you’re looking for an offense hotter than ours, you need look no further than the Trojans. Akron is not USC, and this is in no way your recent version of Penn State 2015. You know, the one that went out and laid an egg at Temple. We're in a new era of Nittany Lion Football and FrankLion and Co. have officially restocked the shelves with supreme speed and talent across the board.
The more I dove into the Position Previews this summer, the clearer it became that what this team has going for it most is depth. Across the board depth. Even the much-maligned O-Line has been re-stocked and reloaded, finally. We saw glimpses of it last season towards the end, but this offseason has done wonders to highlight just how loaded we really are. Injuries took a toll early in 2016 and the two September losses are what ultimately kept us out of last year’s playoffs, but last season’s injury bug has become this season’s silver lining. Minus the freshmen, there is no shortage of players that don’t have in-game experience. A squad that was one of the country’s youngest a year ago, returns 18 battle-tested starters and suddenly finds itself one of college football's most experienced. That spells major trouble for the likes of Akron and the other tune-up teams left on the early season schedule.
Make no mistake, I was raised in the JoePa era and live by the mantra that on ‘any given Saturday' upsets can happen. That hasn’t changed and it never will. In fact, I’ve been pleading our own case over the last few years until it finally happened under a sea of white last October. But, this year is different. This year, there's a chip on our shoulder. This year, we have as legit a gripe as any that we got shunned from the college football playoffs. This year, Penn State is on a mission and it’s led by a handful of seniors that came back to handle unfinished business and a Dynamic Duo that both find themselves in the Heisman race. There will be no upsets in Happy Valley this Saturday, only the sweet smell of tailgates and the sound of our victory bell once again to ring in the new year. Danger lays in wait, but this week is nothing more than a welcome back to the No. 6-ranked team in the country. With all due respect to Akron, Akron, Akron, the Zips will find themselves all zipped up 51-3. They just might want to send a warning to Columbus on their way back to Ohio that this squad of Nittany Lions is out to prove that a 2016 Championship run was in no way a fluke, but just the beginning of bigger things to come!