The Nittany Lions of Penn State have lost the first two games of the post-Paterno era. They'll take their third shot at that first victory this Saturday when they host the the Navy Midshipmen (3:30 pm ET, ESPN2).
Earlier this week, Penn State was favored by anywhere from 5.5 to 8.5 points, depending on the book, but as of Friday afternoon, most betting shops tracked by OddsShark.com were listing the Lions at negative seven.
With their Week 1 loss to the Ohio Bobcats, PSU is now 1-7-1 ATS in their past nine home games, according to the matchup report data. Meanwhile, the total on this game started off at 46 at most places, and that number has held steadily in the early betting.
Playing under the huge cloud of what went down over the offseason, Penn State lost their season opener at home to Ohio 24-14. Penn State led the Bobcats 14-3 at halftime, but got shut out in the second half.
Though Penn State beat UVA 121-32 in the rushing game and was able to cover the spread as 10-point underdogs, the Lions wound up giving away a late lead and missing a potential game-winning field goal at the buzzer.
In the 17-16 loss to the Virginia Cavaliers last week, the Lions led most of the game, but allowed the Cavs to score with a minute and a half to fall behind. Penn State then drove 50 yards into field goal range, but kicker Sam Ficken missed at the buzzer.
Those two missed possible field goals, in addition to the extra point blocked, turned out to be rather costly mistakes by Ficken.
Navy opened its season two weeks ago with a 50-10 loss to Notre Dame in Ireland, and then they had last week off. The Middies gave up scores to the Irish on a 56-yard run and a 77-yard fumble return in falling behind 27-0, eventually turning the ball over four times.
Navy also came up well short in trying to cover the point spread as 14-point underdogs.
The Middies returned 13 starters this year, which is actually a lot for a service school that lost seven games last year, five by three points or less. But they did have to replace their starting QB and six linemen, three on offense and the other three on defense.
Penn State, meanwhile, after the transfers, had just six returning starters for its first season under new head coach Bill O'Brien.
These two teams last met back in 1974 when Navy went into Happy Valley and upset Coach Joe's Lions 7-6.
Free Pick from PickShark.com: Penn State has outplayed its opponents for six of eight quarters so far this year, and even with the dearth of returning starters, the Lions should be able to handle Navy on Saturday.