Central Florida vs. Penn State (in Dublin, Ireland)
The Knights surprised the Nits last year, though to be fair it was long before anybody realized UCF was actually going to be pretty good. Now Bill O’Brien has left Penn State for the first NFL head coaching job he could find. That move surprised exactly six people, none of whom have left State College since 1973.
That’s OK. I liked Bill O’Brien, but even though I haven’t seen James Franklin coach a game yet he seems like an upgrade. Throw in the grudge he’s bound to bear against Maryland and he might actually make the expansion interesting. The Nits weren’t a bad team last season and have only grown more experienced.
Central Florida should have some concerns since it will have to replace Blake Bortles. He was easily UCF’s best quarterback since Daunte Culpepper. He had to be, since he’s the only one I can remember. I’d say he must have been something special, but he was drafted by Jacksonville so I’m not really sure.
As for the game, I like Penn State’s chances — a lot. But let’s face it, if the Knights got over on Penn State and the Nits wound up trapped in Ireland for two weeks by the eruption of an unpronounceable Icelandic volcano, that would be the last decade of Penn State football in a nutshell, wouldn’t it?
Pick: Penn State 37, Central Florida 31