MotSaG Live Podcast #10 – Polls in College Football & Previewing Ohio State-Penn State

Time for episode #10! If you missed last week’s episode of MotSaG Live, you can watch it by clicking here. It airs live every Tuesday at 6 pm ET.

As always I will be hosting the podcast this week and be joined by fellow MotSaG writers. For this show, the following MotSaG writers will join me: Shannon, Andrew, and Chip. On this show we’ll talk about Ohio State’s big win over Rutgers, the Big Ten’s performance from this past weekend, polls in college football and preview the biggest upcoming games around the country along with the slate of Big Ten games this weekend. We’ll also of course preview and predict the outcome of Ohio State’s prime time matchup with Penn State this weekend. Our special guest this week is Kevin McGuire, a writer for nittanylionsden.com and a contributor for NBC Sports College Football Talk.

Now I’m going to list the following ways to view this podcast. Below is the video player to listen to the podcast. You will be able to listen to it here on the site every week. Don’t fret if you can’t listen live. Once the podcast is over with you will be able to view it as many times as you want, just like any YouTube video. If you’re unable to view it here on the site for some reason we also have you covered if this happens. I’ll link to our YouTube channel right above the player every week and you will be guaranteed to be able to view it there. You can also listen through our Google+ page or follow the main @MotSaG account on Twitter. I will also have the link posted on my Twitter page (@SchottJosh).

You can also subscribe to MotSaG Live on iTunes. You can find our page by typing “MotSaG Live” in the iTunes search box or click here. This episode should be on iTunes later tonight.

It’s going to be a fun and informative show as always! Hope you tune in!

To view it on YouTube, click here.

To view the Google+ event page, click here.

College Football is Finally Here: B1G Preview for the Weekend Ahead

After many long months of waiting college football season has finally arrived! As much as I love baseball, college football holds a special place in my heart. I especially enjoy watching B1G football.

Every year the B1G is expected to step it up and produce some impressive results on the field, with this year being no different from the rest. Last year the conference was hurt by two of its most illustrious programs, Penn State and Ohio State, being punished with bowl bans. Now that the Buckeyes have served their penalty, high expectations return to Columbus. Ohio State is the consensus favorite to not only win the conference, but run the table and play for it all in Pasadena. As far as the next best team in the B1G? That’s anybody’s guess.

In the Leaders Division Wisconsin lost Montee Ball, but have 10 other Wisconsin-like running backs waiting in the wings (namely James White and Melvin Gordon). Penn State is in year two of their bowl ban and break in two new quarterbacks. Indiana has a lot of starters returning to the team and the pressure is on head coach Kevin Wilson to get the team to a bowl game. Illinois head coach Tim Beckham is already on the hot seat in Champaign, despite the fact that its only his second season with the program. Purdue breaks in new head coach Darrell Hazel (former Buckeye coach) and look to begin rebuilding their program.

In the Legends Division Nebraska has Taylor Martinez return for what feels like his 10th year in the program, but their defense is a huge question mark. Michigan State is the exact opposite of Nebraska. They have a great defense, but four different players competed for the QB position. Northwestern is receiving the most preseason hype in decades, but many are unsure if they can handle the high expectations. Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz has been getting bashed by the media and fans all offseason and looks to silence the doubters. Minnesota looks to continue to build off their 6-6 season last year and move up the ladder in the conference. And the team up north finally has an actual quarterback again, but do they have enough to be considered an elite team?

Enough chatter, let’s get to the opening week games:

Thursday, August 29

Indiana State @ Indiana – If this was a basketball game taking place in the 70’s, with Larry Bird lacing it up for the Sycamores, I would be pretty psyched about this game. But instead it’s a football game in 2013. Even though I’m not thrilled about this match-up, these two actually played a tight game last season in the opener. Indiana only won 24-17 and only led by a touchdown at halftime also. I expect Indiana to learn from last season and dispatch Indiana State with ease.

UNLV @ Minnesota – This is another non-conference rematch from last season. And it was even closer. Minnesota needed triple overtime to defeat the Rebels, 30-27. Close games like this are what make the B1G look bad. B1G teams aren’t supposed to have close games with teams like UNLV. I hope the Golden Gophers win this game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is another close game.

Friday, August 30

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The Best of the B1G, #6 Allen Robinson

Allen Robinson Jr WR Penn State

Penn State wasn’t suppose to be any good after the sanctions were handed down. Players were allowed to transfer without penalty of having to sit out a year. Not MotSaG’s Number 6 player in our B1G Top 25, a receiver that only had 3 receptions for 29 yards and zero touchdowns.

Allen Robinson, a tall target at 6ft 4in, had a break out season in 2012. Under Bill O’Brien’s pro style offense he has flourished. Robinson was a key weapon that helped Penn State finish ranked 2nd for passing and touchdowns in the B1G last season. He lead the Big Ten with 77 receptions and 1,021 yards receiving, having 9 receptions and 200 yards better than any other player in the confrence, also hauling in 11 touchdown catches.

Robinson is going to be only 1 of 7 returning receivers in the NCAA with 1,000 yards catching, 10 plus touchdowns, and over 75 receptions. He is a fast wide receiver with the skills of great hands, crisp and precise route running. During the off season Allen has added 10 pounds of muscle and has worked even more on his route running.

Allen has put himself on the national stage as one of the best not only in the B1G but in the NCAA.

The only down side to Robinson might be the added attention from opponents secondary and not knowing who the starting QB is this year. Being one of 8 starters on offense and in the second year under Bill O’Brien, Allen is poised to take on the leadership role and help out his QB whoever that may be. It’ll help that Penn State only has to face 2 of the top 5 B1G secondaries this year possibly allowing Robinson to roam free and put up great numbers again in 2013.

Previously on MotSaG’s Best of the B1G
#7 Jake Ryan
#8 Carlos Hyde
#9 James White
#10 Trevor Siemian/Kain Colter
Best of the B1G, #15-11
Best of the B1G, #20-16
Best of the B1G, #25-21

Penn State, On Paper

Statistically Speaking
Ohio State
Value (Rank)
Value (Rank)
Penn State
Advantage
Rushing Offense (ypg) 187.3 (28) 84.1 (5) Rushing Defense (ypg) Push
Passing Offense (ypg) 188.8 (94) 170.7 (12) Passing Defense (ypg) Penn State++
Pass Efficiency 128.3 (60) 95.6 (6) Pass Efficiency Defense Penn State+
Total Offense (ypg) 376.1 (63) 254.8 (5) Total Defense (ypg) Penn State+
Scoring Offense (ppg) 31.0 (29) 9.3 (1) Scoring Defense (ppg) Penn State
Rushing Defense (ypg) 86.4 (6) 182.0 (33) Rushing Offense (ypg) Ohio State
Passing Defense (ypg) 173.6 (14) 247.1 (34) Passing Offense (ypg) Push
Pass Efficiency Defense 97.0 (9) 146.6 (20) Pass Efficiency Offense Push
Total Defense (ypg) 260.0 (6) 429.1 (24) Total Offense (ypg) Push
Scoring Defense (ppg) 11.7 (6) 30.7 (33) Scoring Offense (ppg) Ohio State
Turnover margin +0.89 (14) +0.56 (34) Turnover margin Push
Penalty Yards/game 38.4 (6) 36.4 (3) Penalty Yards/game Push
Sacks (/game) 2.89 (12) 1.11 (18) Sacks Allowed (/game) Push
Sacks Allowed (/game) 1.67 (52) 3.56 (4) Sacks (/game) Penn State
Redzone Offense (%) 72.9 (103) 57.1 (1) Redzone Defense (%) Penn State+++
Redzone Defense (%) 80.0 (51) 86.5 (30) Redzone Offense (%) Push
3rd Down Conv. (%) 41.9 (47) 31.3 (10) 3rd Down Conv. Def (%) Penn State
3rd Down Conv. Def (%) 32.3 (15) 51.6 (5) 3rd Down Conv. (%) Push
 Legend
  Difference <25 in National Rank = Push   Difference >25 in National Rank = Ohio State
  Difference >50 in National Rank = Ohio State+
  Difference >75 in National Rank = Ohio State++
  Differences >100 in National Rank = Ohio State+++

Week #9: Penn State University – Open Thread

Let’s do this thing!

Let’s get this out of the way: we Big Ten fans think this game is pretty much as good as it gets. The “Big Ten Bashers” see this as a worse-case-scenario. An Ohio State victory puts them in good shape to climb the ranks as attrition claims other teams above them. This is pretty much everyone’s nightmare. Maybe even for a few OSU fans.

I’m not exactly sure where I stand with that whole ball of wax.

No need to worry about that now, there’s a game to be played tomorrow night. Let’s look at some previews. First, from the other side of the field: A couple previews from Black Shoes Diary, one statistical, one not so much. And just to get things riled up, here are a couple PSU blogger predictions: PSU 24, OSU 21; PSU 30, OSU 24. I think everyone is looking forward to a close, hard-fought game.

Now, a few previews from the good guys’ side of the field. As always, Buckeye Planet has the match-ups and low-down on the game. The O-Zone has the depth chart and Tony Gerdeman’s preview. My paranoia level was pretty high yesterday, but after reading Tony’s preview, my nerves were actually calmed a bit. A couple nuggets:

Penn State has faced three conference opponents who run the ball. Against those three opponents (Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan), they gave up an average of 180 yards rushing. The Buckeyes come into this game with the top rushing attack in conference play, averaging 201 yards rushing per game.

The amazing thing is that those three opponents put up that average while getting blown out. How much better would those numbers have looked had Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan been able to run the ball all four quarters?

That sound you hear? That’s Beanie licking his chops (and sharpening The Stiff Arm of Justice®)

Michigan attacked the Penn State defense by running Steven Threet, but they mainly stayed within the hash marks with him because he didnt have the speed to get outside. Pryor has the speed to attack Penn State all over the field, but he must do it quickly. Like last week, go forward as quickly as possible and get positive yardage.

Confidence rising.

The QB match-up is interesting for numerous reasons. Clark wanted to come to OSU and Penn State wanted Terrelle Pryor. Clark helped with the recruitment of Pryor. There are other match-ups, but what if it comes down to junior Daryll Clark vs. freshman Terrelle Pryor?

The weather. Does it play a factor?

There’s no need to hype this game anymore. College Gameday will be in Columbus tomorrow. LeBron James will be there. Primetime, Horseshoe, National TV.

Long waits.

Your completely random change of pace link: Baconnaise.

So it’s prediction contest time once again. This week we’re giving away a copy of 100 Things Buckeyes Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die (Available at Triumph Books and Amazon.com)Currently, the line is favoring Penn State 2.5 points. Who you got? (I know the answer, but I have to ask). Which defense rises up to the challenge? Does Ohio State’s defense hold Penn State’s offense to a smaller number than Penn State holds OSU’s?

Let us know! And let us know how you’ll be passing the time waiting for the 8 o’clock kick off.

el Kaiser’s prediction:
OSU: 30
Penn State: 24

Ohio State’s defense wins the battle, but still gives up chunks of yards early.

sportsMonkey’s prediction:
GAH! This is hard hard hard. I am absolutely befuddled about this game. Penn State owns the stats coming in. But they haven’t won a road game against a ranked opponent in six years. Every year there’s supposed to be a “great” matchup, it ends up being an OSU blowout.

The only constant in all these games is that everyone is always surprised at something. So I guess we’re doomed from the outset at trying to make predictions.

One thing is likely: a PSU win would probably put them in position for the BCS title game. OSU would then likely be selected as an at-large for the Rose. A win against Penn State would put OSU in position… to go to the Rose. So OSU won’t have the same pressure that Penn State is going to have, since win or lose, the Rose Bowl is (right now) the likely destination for this team.

Earlier this week, I was planning to pick PSU by 10 points, but as the week has progressed… (I can’t believe I’ve convinced myself of this…)I’m thinking OSU wins 23-17. Here’s two reasons why:

  1. PSU’s (relative) weakness is primarily the rush defense. They’re going against the best rushing attack in college football. The offense has played inconsistent through Beanie’s absence and recovery, but if there’s one shining, awesome fact about Ohio State over the past three seasons, it’s that Beanie plays his best in big games. And they don’t get any bigger than this, in this type of environment (home/night/conference championship on the line).
  2. For whatever reason, Tressel seems to have JoePa’s number recently. True, it’s a different year, but the players, coaches, etc. are still the same from the past two years, when OSU cruised to easy victories.

So there you have it. I’m probably wrong, though. But like I said, the one consistent thing about this mini, diet-flavored rivalry (sorry PSU fans) is that the outcome usually surprises us somehow.