It's hump-day so that can mean only one thing: Long Island Ice Tea night at the Elks club! I mean… Blue & White Roundtable. This week's questions are brought to you by the good people at Nittany White Out – appropriate, don't you think? As always there's a glut of Penn State blogs participating.
We Want the Lion
W. F. Yurasko
Happy Hour Valley
Penn State Clips
2 The Lion Football
1. As this week's matchup with Iowa represents not just Penn State's first conference game, but their first real test, take a look back at the 3-game preconference schedule. What was the one thing that stood out to you most, either as a success or a failure?
Success – without a doubt the wide receivers. We all thought Penn State would find at least three serviceable wide receivers but I don't think any of us thought we could have guys step in and really not miss a beat from last year. At least I didn't think it would go so well. We knew Derek Moye had potential but he's starting to come on as the kind of go-to receiver that this team needs to succeed.
Failure – Offensive line. We all knew the offensive line would take some time to jell but they have yet to put in a complete game and the coaches have just now found the combination that they want for the rest of the season (at least I hope so).
Natural – Secondary. Yeah, we can't complain about the secondary but who has tested them? There is one good thing that's emerged, with A.J. Wallace in the doghouse PSU has developed some depth with the young guys and that's always a good thing.
2. Iowa, on the other hand, has been tested twice already this season, both by D1-AA Northern Iowa and by Arizona, a solid Pac-10 team. How much of an advantage, if any, will the Hawkeyes have over Penn State as a result?
Northern Iowa gave Iowa the experience of pulling out a close win. Now sure, it was against an overmatched D1-AA school but it was a great experience nonetheless. How will PSU's young guys and new starters handle a close game they have to come from behind to win? We don't know yet. Arizona also gave Iowa the benefit of playing a team with solid Div 1 talent. Who has Penn State played? Syracuse – they did beat Northwestern, but… is that something to write home about? Iowa's defense dominated Arizona especially in the passing game. Daryll Clark has yet to see a pass defense like the Hawkeye's.
3. It seems like both Penn State and Iowa have been hit pretty hard by the injury bug early in the 2009 season, with Iowa losing the services of RB Jewel Hampton, LT Bryan Bulaga, TE Tony Moeaki and WR Darrell Johnson-Koulianos and Penn State potentially without both Sean Lee and Navorro Bowman, along with Graham Zug. How will both teams adjust to playing without some of their star players?
Let's not kid ourselves about the injuries, the depth charts are nothing more than a smoke screen by both coaches. Bowman has practiced all week, and I don't care if it's on a "limited" basis, he'll play and they'll have to chain Sean Lee down to keep him off the field. As for Iowa I would be completely shocked if Bulaga and DJK are not playing. Bryan can block one on one on Stanzi's blindside leaving extra lineman to control Penn State's tackles who have really been the problems for teams so far. Without him they may have some issues.
Let's just say they all don't play (which is highly unlikely), Riley Reiff, Colin Sandeman, and Allen Reisner have all filled in for Iowa quite nicely especially against Arizona. For Penn State Bani Gbadyu and Nate Stupar both have a lot of game experience with the injures this season so it's not like these guys are new to the scene. The loss of Lee's leadership could not be replaced and ditto Bulaga, but both teams can make due.
4. Last year, a loss to Iowa knocked Penn State out of the championship race. This year, they're in a similar place, as they largely control their own destiny. Do you see Penn State running the table in the Big Ten, and if not, where is the most likely slip-up?
No, I still don't think they will run the table, but after watching the first three games I have no idea how to gauge the Big Ten. Ohio State looks pretty much as expected but outside that I'm lost. Illinois and Michigan State were supposed to be dark horse contenders for the Big Ten title: how's that working out for them? Michigan was supposed to be better but who knew their offense would be that much better? So who's gonna take Penn State down? Your guess is as good as mine.
5. This will be the fourth year that Beaver Stadium hosts a White Out, and it's universally regarded as one of the best traditions in the NCAA. What suggestions would you have to further improve gameday conditions at the Beav?
Bring back kegs. I understand they banned them because of the dangers of binge drinking but really, are the mountains of cans in the parking lots that much better? It's an abomination that they can't seem to control and I think eliminating cans for the red solo cups would be a step in the right direction.
Who runs for more yards, Iowa or Penn State?
Iowa – PSU will have to pass to win.
Last year's Whiteout game drew 109,626 people to Beaver Stadium. How many come this year?
Oh they will match that, especially an eight o'clock start.
If you had to win just one of the two, would you rather Penn State beats Iowa or Ohio State?
Ohio State, no doubt.
Does Corso put on the Lion or Hawkeye head?
If there is a God he'll put on the Hawkeye head – he's wrong all the time. Don't curse us Lee!
Does Penn State get revenge, or does Iowa make it 7 of 8 against the Lions?
I covered it yesterday, I have mixed feelings about the game but I think PSU pulls it out.