In the year following an impressive Capital One Bowl win against LSU, Penn State fans are happy again the season ended on a high note. Here's some expectations I've put together for the 2010 season:
1. Joe Paterno hasn’t lost a step. Obviously by having one of the best recruiting classes in the country and continuing successful season after successful season, JoePa has made it clear he can still get it done despite his age. Following the success recruiting in seasons 2005 and 2008 have brought us, 2010 looks to be no different. But for how much longer?
Don’t ask, don’t tell. It’s better that way. Let him do his thing.
2. For the first time in a looooong time, Linebacker U is all about the offense. Not to say the defense will be bad: If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times—Penn State will never be bad on defense.
However, we missed out on grabbing new recruits for crucial open positions particularly in the secondary. Drew Astorino and Nick Sukay return at safety, yes. And that’s all well and good, but our corners are the ones that need the help. Who steps up here? Can the new guys along with Astorino and Sukay REALLY handle Big Ten receivers?
3. Evan Royster leads an All-Star offense and creates a name for himself in Penn State running back history. This guy is extraordinary. He reminds me of a Larry Johnson who used to roam the halls on campus but with more power and less negative personality.
Personally I can see him moving himself up quite nicely on the career rushing yards list in Penn State history.
Now, I know Coach Paterno isn’t the biggest fan of a motion/option offense, but how cool would that be?? You’ve got Newsome and Royster in the backfield, both of whom are superb. In the case of an injury, you’re also definitely deep in both positions. I think we could run all day against any defense. Look out, ‘Bama.
4. Third straight 11-win season. This is a toughie, but on the other hand, possible. Assuming the Nittany Lions lose to Alabama, the rest of the schedule won’t be that difficult, minus a trip to Columbus and Iowa City, which could spell out at least one other L.
However, Mr. Paterno is the best when it comes to bowl games, and, given a 10-2 season, the BCS is out of the picture and an easy opponent is likely for a very young and growing Penn State team.
We won’t lose to Iowa again in 2010. Quote me on that.
5. The Iowa curse will be broken. I told you you can quote me on that. That’s two years in a row now that it’s been an Iowa team, NOT Michigan, which has prevented the Nittany Lions from chasing a National Championship dream.
Not this year.
Ricky Stanzi returns to Iowa for another year, yet so do eight of 11 starters on offense for the Nittany Lions. I don’t see this being a defensive battle necessarily, but if it comes down to that, I’d like to take my chances on Linebacker U, even with a rebuilding year.
It’s a hope, it’s a hunch, it’s a die-hard fan’s wish. But with a win away at Tuscaloosa, could YOU have any more doubts?