Penn State Match-Up May Decide the Outcome of Alabama's 2010 Season

Patrick FerliseCorrespondent IAugust 8, 2010

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 7: Defensive tackle Jared Odrick #91 of the Penn State Nittany Lions walks off the field after warm-ups  before a game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on November 7, 2009 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. Ohio State won 24-7. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

The Alabama Crimson Tide, the champions of the BCS in their 2009-2010 season will face the Penn State Nittany Lions in their second game of this coming season. It has been recognized by the fans and coaches for possibly being one of Alabama's toughest games this year. Nick Saban's talented team taking on Joe Paterno's northern boys should be one of the greatest coaching battles of the 2010 season.

One of the biggest problems that many fans see with Alabama's 2010 roster is that the defense lost many seasoned players to the 2010 NFL Draft, which over 14 players overall were signed with professional teams. Many defensive backs went into the draft, leaving the secondary to move up or placing incoming freshmen in to fill the spots.

In the defensive backfield, Alabama lost cornerbacks Kareem Jackson and Javier Arenas. On the line, they lost defensive tackles Terrence Cody and Brandon Deaderick. Along with those, the Crimson Tide lost the most key leader on the defense-linebacker Rolando McClain. All of these losses could be detrimental to Alabama's rigorous playing style.

Penn State is coming into the September 11th game against Alabama with a seasoned coaching staff and Joe Paterno that has more years under his belt and more wins than any other college football coach in the NCAA. Alabama struggled with a very young team in previous years and tripped more than a few times in seasons past, but at that time they didn't have Nick Saban coaching. In the quarterback realm, Penn State has two quarterbacks fighting for the starting spot. These two players are Matt McCloin and Kevin Newsome.

Both quarterbacks unfortunately have some inexperience with regard to playing time, even though McGloin was second to first-string Newsome last year. Comparing both team's quarterbacks, Alabama's Greg McElroy has never lost a football game since the seventh grade (but that can always change,) and two Penn State quarterbacks that raise questions about who will be leading the offense this season. It will be interesting to see how all of these talented players finish the job on September 11.

There will also be changes to Penn State's offensive line up. Wide receiver Brett Brackett had trouble last year, catching just three passes. He will be moving to the tight end position in the hopes of being a much more effective player for the offense. Wide out Derek Moye will also have fans focused on him in the hopes of having yet another successful year. He will probably be one of the main concerns for Alabama defensive backs on September 11th.

Senior running back Evan Royster might be the deciding player on the Penn State offense to keep the ball moving this season against big-time opponents. He is the real player in question to help hold the team together to score points this season, it's just a matter of will Alabama's defensive line shut him down. It should be a good match up between Alabama's defensive play and the Nittany Lions talented offense.

Summing up the analysis, this will be an all or nothing game for Alabama to help solidify a good start to the season. If they lose it could send a domino effect through out the year, reflecting on a loss against the Nittany Lions. Penn State is a talented football team and gets a lot of credit. But coming off a perfect season, Coach Saban needs to keep his team level-headed and ready for possibly another perfect season.