Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bucky-Penn St Primer


Wisconsin (5-1) at Penn State (4-2) 3:30 PM ET ABC

Why to watch: Each team will be wearing its We Lost To Illinois And All We Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt, t-shirts as they try to get back into the Big Ten title race. There's still plenty of time for each of these two teams, and there are still plenty of chances to finish in the top three or four of the final pecking order, but the loser, for all intents and purposes, is out of the Rose Bowl chase. Wisconsin wasn't as good as it was being given credit for over the first five games of the season, and it's not nearly as bad as it's being made out to be after the loss to Illinois. The offense cranked out over 500 yards, but struggled to score. Meanwhile, Penn State is unranked and looking for it's first big-name win of the season (no, Notre Dame doesn't count) after running over Iowa last week. The defense is playing well enough to win the Big Ten, but the offense hasn't been consistent. Call this a prove it game for both teams, and call it one of the better games of the day; even if it's not going to be a work of art.

Why Wisconsin might win: Penn State's offense is almost perfect for Wisconsin's defense. The Badgers can't tackle, and it can't handle running quarterbacks who can make plays outside of the pocket. No problems with that this week, as Anthony Morelli and the Nittany Lion offense hasn't exactly been scary in Big Ten play. The UW secondary hasn't played up-to-snuff, but it's good enough to stick with the excellent PSU receivers on deep balls, while Morelli will be a sitting duck more often than not behind a line that's struggling in pass protection. However ...

Why Penn State might win: The UW D line isn't doing enough to get into the backfield, and the secondary is giving up too many big plays. The Badger back seven isn't tackling well, so if the Moreli can get a little big of time, and if he can get the ball to his receivers in space, big things will happen. The Wisconsin lines are given way more credit than they deserves. The offensive line couldn't push around Illinois last week, and while it did a good job in pass protection, the Badgers have to run the ball to be its most effective. P.J. Hill was banged up against Illinois, and if he's limited with a groin problem, he's not going to get too many, if any, big runs into the secondary. Forget running consistently on the Nittany Lion linebackers.

Who to watch: It's not like Austin Scott has been a key part of the Penn State offense over the last few weeks, failing to even dress against Iowa, but the running game can't afford to lose bodies. Now Scott is out for violating team rules, meaning the offense will revolve around Rodney Kinlaw, who tore off a168 yards and two touchdowns against Iowa. For Wisconsin, QB Tyler Donovan might have to do even more than ever. Hill will play, but he's struggling through his groin injury, while top deep threat Luke Swan is gone for the year with a hamstring problem. Donovan bombed away on Illinois, but it was a late interception that all but sealed the loss. He's not going to be able to run on the Penn State linebackers, and his decision-making will have to be razor-sharp.

What will happen: Penn State is a great matchup for the Badgers. The offense might not roll up 500 yards and a slew of points, but the defense should tee on Morelli and have one of its best games of the year

CFN Prediction: Wisconsin 20 ... Penn State 16 ... Line: Penn State -6.5


Train said...

Time for Woz to bet the farm this week...they cover easily if not win.

Is our D that poor at tackling that the national press even takes note. Guess so.

woziszeus said...

I don't like this spread at +6.5 for Bucky. Give me +8 and I'd be over it.

On the road they could easily lose by a touch. The injuries have resulted in a lack of playmakers (by WI standards) on offense.

Anonymous said...

PSU 21, Wisconsin 17

AP said...

Just stick with the formula:

Bet against Bucky
Bet on the Patriots

So far this year it's like printing your own money....