In a previous article, I outlined how it's possible that the 2012 Penn State Nittany Lions could start the season 6-0. While there is a lot that needs to go right for that to happen, it's not impossible.
But in looking at that the second half of the schedule, things will be much different. The final six games are all Big Ten games, including a visit to always dangerous Iowa.
Penn State could easily end the season winning only two of the last six games.
The second half kicks off on October 20th with a prime-time kickoff at Iowa. The Hawkeyes were down last year, but always are a tough test for Penn State.
The fact that it's a road game in a hostile environment makes it even more challenging. This one has loss written all over it.
Game 8 brings a visit from Ohio State. This is never an easy game, even when it's in Beaver Stadium. The Buckeyes return many starters and will be looking to avenge a loss on their home turf last year.
The home crowd will make for an electric atmosphere, but this one looks too tough for the Lions. Back- to-back losses look very possible here.
Things get a bit easier as the calendar turns to November. Penn State heads to Purdue, where the Nittany Lions have had much success in recent years. Playing a road game may prove to be a bit of a challenge. However, this should be a solid victory for Penn State.
Then Penn State visits Lincoln, Neb. The Cornhuskers figure to have a strong team and should not have much trouble with the Nittany Lions in this one. This game could be a repeat of the last time the NIttany Lions visited the 'Huskers in 2003. Nebraska defeated Penn State 18-10 in a game that was not as close as the score indicated.
The Lions end the season with two straight home games. The November 17th contest against Indiana should be a fairly easy victory. Indiana has given Penn State a scare in recent years, but the Hoosiers remain near the bottom of the Big Ten.
The 2012 season wraps up at home on November 24th against Big Ten Leaders Division favorite Wisconsin. The Badgers pummeled the Nittany Lions in Madison last year and look to do the same in 2012. Running back Montee Ball slashed the PSU defense last year for four touchdowns. Again, Beaver Stadium will be rocking, but the Lions will struggle to compete in this one.
While the first half of the 2012 season looks promising for Penn State, the second half does not. A 2-4 record seems likely in the last six games.
College football always provides us with surprises each year. I just don't see any coming in the second half of the season for Penn State.