From a neutral perspective, the idea of the Crimson Tide travelling to Happy Valley is great for the traditions of College Football. Unfortunately, Al Dannity does not expect a classic encounter as Alabama should march into State College and rip the Nittany Lions apart.
Rising Tide Alabama dropped to #3 in the polls this week but through no fault of their own. The Crimson Tide took care of business against Kent State, winning 48-7 in Tuscaloosa. The Tide’s defense stole the show, limiting the Golden Flashes to 90 yards of total offense including -9 yards rushing. Even against a cupcake, keeping a team to negative yardage on the ground is impressive.
This weekend they face the biggest, and arguably only, test of their non-conference slate. The big question is who will start at quarterback against Penn State. A.J. McCarron looked much stronger than Phillip Sims on Saturday. The signal callers gave up two picks each but McCarron went 14 of 23 for 226 yards and a touchdown, compared to a 7 of 14 for 73 yards performance from Sims.
Rebuilding Lions Silas Redd showed against Indiana State that it will be the ground game that gets things done for Penn State in 2011. His 104 yards from 12 carries helped the Nittany Lions to 245 yards rushing on Saturday. Redd’s big play ability will be tested by Bama’s meaty defense and he won’t enjoy the same amount of running room. The passing game remains a work in progress. Neither Matt McGloin nor Rob Bolden gave up any picks but they looked far from threatening against a FCS secondary. This weekend represents a big step up and I can’t see the Nittany Lions doing much through the air against Nick Saban’s athletic outfit.
The verdict Well this is the easy part. Last year it was the Tide’s relative inexperience on defense that kept the blow-out respectable. This season it will be the turn of Alabama’s quarterbacks to ensure the Nittany Lions leave the field with some dignity intact. I don’t like ripping on JoePa’s team but they really don’t have the talent of the last two units he guided to BCS bowls. This will be a whupping and clear cut one at that. The Nittany Lions will be contained on the ground while Trent Richardson should wreak havoc in front of a national audience. College Football betting fans should take Alabama as -10.0 favorites against Penn State.