December 31, 2010

Outback Bowl '11: LBU Staff Predictions

The time has come. Here are our picks for tomorrow's Outback Bowl.


My prediction rests on the notion that the Florida players actually care that their coach is retiring (yes, yes shoot me for bringing it up). If they give a crap about Urban, and that may be up for argument, then they will come out fast. Penn State will have to weather the storm and keep it manageable until the game sets in. Statistically speaking on paper it should be fairly close. Florida has some horrendous offensive stats (80th in total offense 86th in passing) as does Penn State. The Gators fare a little better on the defensive side but Penn State has been banged up so much this season that it's hard to judge their less that Penn State-esque defensive stats and the Lions will be as healthy as they have been all season. If the Irish Potato cannon can get a couple deep throws in early, and you know he's never seen a deep bomb he hasn't liked, then Penn State has a chance. I think Penn State wins a close one.

Penn State 21 - Florida 17


Penn State will win. Sorry to spoil the suspense. But I'm not sold on the idea that Florida's talent level alone can overcome the massive deep-rooted problems, including a totally discombobulated offense, holes abound on defense at key positions, and the gorilla in the stadium--Urban Meyer.

The Florida offense reminds me a lot of Michigan and Illinois. But unlike those two teams, the Gators don't have a functional quarterback to lead the charge against Penn State. John Brantley would scare the hell out of me, if he played on a team like Alabama or Michigan State, where it's a pro-style offense. But the Nittany Lions' D is healthier than it was during the regular season, and has had a month to prepare for anything Florida might throw at them.

Matt McGloin has to keep his head and stay loose. If he can mimic the first half at Ohio State, while avoiding a repeat of the second half in Columbus, Penn State should roll in this one. I really like Evan Royster and Silas Redd to have some running room in this one, though it won't be easy if Jay Paterno and Galen Hall can't keep the Florida defense on its toes. Mixing in effective throws on first down and play-action in between.

Joe Paterno is better than any coach preparing for bowl opponents. Florida is a foundering ship, and the rats are jumping quickly. Penn State, despite its JoePa retirement hub-bub, is in a much better place. Another win for the fat, slow sloths from the North.

Penn State 20 - Florida 16


I have it on good information from reliable, very inside sources that JoePa will step down immediately before the game and Phil Knight will instantly force Penn State to wear Nike Pro Combat uniforms and Jon Gruden will leave the broadcast booth at Raymond James to be named Penn State's new coach. My unnamed, totally truthful sources then say Florida, inspired by Urban Meyer's retirement, will get out to an insurmountable first half lead on the suddenly distraught Nittany Lions squad taken back by what had transpired. Following the second half kick-off, my not lying, non-fictional sources say the sound of glass shattering will be heard over the PA and the Jumbotron will go dark as a figure parachutes into the stadium and the 1812 Overture begins to play with the Buccaneer pirate ship cannons and huge pillars of flame around the stadium will fire choreographed to the bass hits in the music. The figure will remove his helmet to reveal... a young Joe Paterno!

According to my sources, who I reiterate are very in the know and tailgate with wives of the coaching staff, JoePa uncovered Ponce de León's mythical fountain of youth and upon reassuming the mantle of Penn State head coach from Jon Gruden uses the power of Grayskull to transform the Nittany Lion uniforms back their classic look and leads the team to embarrassingly blow out the Gators and reduces Urban Meyer to tears until Tim Tebow flies in on winged angel to console him. I cannot stress enough how reliable my sources are here.

Penn State-96 Florida-45


This Outback Bowl was supposed to be a solid matchup between two nationally popular teams but now I am expecting the coverage to turn this into "Urban Meyer Bowl". That's right Nittany Lion fans you might as well put the television on mute because I am predicting all you are going to hear about how great Coach Meyer has been at Florida. More importantly the game. Florida has had a shaky season because of one thing turnovers. All season they have forced takeaways and capitalized, but also have given away the ball at opportune times in the red zone.

I am predicting a game with a lot of mistakes which makes Evan Royster the key to the game. Penn State needs to control the ball and control the game clock. Royster needs to run hard to keep McGloin out of 3rd and long situations. Be sure not to be too hungover after New Year's because this 1 o'clock game will be a close one with plenty of big plays on both sides of the ball. This Outback Bowl will come down to the 4th quarter but Penn State's running game will keep them in control.

Penn State 27 - Florida 24

*The 11th Hour Depth Charting is bumped to tomorrow morning sometime. You can figure out why.

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