Not much to talk about lately (which is a good thing because we're not talking about players running afoul of the law) so we might as well look way ahead to next season. With that I give you the TNL way-too-early-schedule breakdown. Here's the schedule in its entirety:
09/05/09 vs. Akron
09/12/09 vs. Syracuse
09/19/09 vs. Temple
09/26/09 vs. Iowa
10/03/09 at Illinois
10/10/09 vs. Eastern Illinois
10/17/09 vs. Minnesota
10/24/09 at Michigan
10/31/09 at Northwestern
11/07/09 vs. Ohio State
11/14/09 vs. Indiana
11/21/09 at Michigan State
Now let's look at each team individually, shall we?
The Zips return veteran Chris Jacquemain at quarterback, four starting linemen and three veteran wide receivers. Jacquemain is in his third year as the starting quarterback. But gone is 1,000 yard rusher Dennis Kennedy, All-MAC tackle Chris Kemme, and linebackers Kevin Grant and Doug Williams who were first and third respectively in tackles. It will be a test of the new secondary but not much of one.
Probability of loss: Not Bloody Likely!
Impact of loss: Mass hysteria, Jay quits tweeting due to death threats from his readers.
Blog(s) of note: Ohio.com
New 'Cuse head coach Doug Marrone begins his attempt to resurrect a Syracuse program that went 10-37 in the last four seasons. It will be a tough task and the fact that Marrone's recruiting class was rated last in the Big East and one of the worst in the country won't help. Of the 14 players signed, 8 are on the defensive side which should help; Syracuse ranked 101st in the nation on total defense and 83rd in passing defense, but don't expect things to get a whole lot better. Syracuse starts off with Minnesota, Penn State and Northwestern, so yeah… good luck with that.
Probability of loss: Not gonna happen
Impact of loss: Worse than It'-Only-Akron, ticket prices drop as does home game attendance.
Blog(s) of note: Orange Football
The Temple offense returns 10 players including senior wide receivers Jason Harper and Dy'Onne Crudup, but will be without the services of three year starter Adam DiMichele at quarterback and All-MAC and school record holder Bruce Francis at wide receiver. The line should be young but experienced. The defense returns 9 starters including All-MAC honorees Andre Neblett at nose tackle and senior strong safety Dominique Harris. The defensive line will be the strength of TU's defense.
Probability of loss: Greater than last season but still improbable
Impact of loss: See It's-Only-Akron and Syracuse
Blog(s) of note: The remarkably well-written and surprisingly intense Temple Football Forever**
The loss of Mac Truck Shonn Greene and DT's Matt Kroul and Mitch King will be very difficult to replace. But Iowa returns 7 starters on offense including two experienced tackles in Bryan Bulaga and Kyle Calloway so whoever takes over for Greene should have running room and quarterback Ricky Stanzi will have time to throw as long as he cuts down on the back breaking interceptions. The defense returns 8 starters and boast a linebacking group that is as good or better than the guys in Happy Valley. A.J. Edds, Pat Angerer, and Jeremiha Hunter are all experienced and will make up for the loss of King and Kroul. They could be the best linebacking group in the nation.
Probability of loss: 50% - this will be PSU's first test of a team with a pulse – will they be ready for the challenge?
Impact of loss: Crippling. A slip up this early in the season could spell doom.
That's the first quarter of the schedule and all I really care to look up right now. It's a busy week, with the Holiday coming so my blogging will be limited but I'll try and knock the rest of this out but you get no promises from me.
*Thank God Akron is back on the schedule I get to once again use RUTS "It's-Only-Akron" reference yet again.
** It's Temple!! Yeah writing about Penn State is easy but Temple? That's a different story.