Maryland at Penn State
If there’s an intriguing game in the Big Ten this weekend — and I’m not saying there is — then this is it. We all saw last weekend how Penn State gave Ohio State absolutely everything it wanted and then some. We saw for ourselves that the dominating Nittany Lions defense wasn’t solely a product of playing bad teams; it really is a solid unit. And we also saw for ourselves that Penn State’s offensive line might as well be five orange rubber traffic cones this year.
Now comes Maryland, which has played eight games and is still impossible to figure out. The Terps were as putrid as month-old gravy against Wisconsin last week, just one week after an impressive (but not quite dominating) win over Iowa. Maryland doesn’t have an explosive offense but is always a threat to stretch the field.
But can it do so against Penn State? Isn’t there a tremendous convergence of dangers here for the Nits? It’s a classic hangover game for them, the sort where you’d expect Penn State to come out looking flat and spent after fighting so hard and coming one bowling-ball block short against Ohio State. Maryland, meanwhile, will want to prove that it’s not as bad a team as it appeared to be last week. How on earth is a person supposed to pick a game like this?
It’s easy. Penn State’s defense has shown up for every game except maybe Northwestern. Maryland has been inconsistent and streaky. I think I’ll take the Nits here, though I hope it’s the sort of game that gets a good rivalry going.
The pick: Penn State 16, Maryland 7