Four Downs: Penn State

Sorry for no updates this week. There were some technical issues that prevented me from doing any video analysis for the Akron game. Probably for the best because that game was just horrendous. Anyways, moving on to this weekends loss to Penn State. Here are four big questions heading into Saturday’s showdown:

1. How badly are the Orange going to lose?

One of my friends at work is a Penn State grad. Last Saturday he asked me for my honest opinion on the outcome of the game. I told him that PSU would win by 62 points. I have yet to change my answer to that question whenever anyone else has asked me for my thoughts on this weekends game. Will it be that bad? Probably not. But would I be suprised if the final was 72-10 Penn State? Not really.

Say what you will about Joe Pa, but he has kept the talent level at Penn State since these two “rivals” ended their relationship. Syracuse, obviously, has not. It will be very apparent on Saturday.

So how have the Orange performed against ranked opponents under Greg Robinson? Well, the results shouldn’t be surprising. A combined 1-11. The lone victory was the victory over Louisville last year, who was ranked at the time, but ended up having a horrible year.

2007: 1-3 (win versus Louisville; Losses to UConn, Cincinnati and West Virginia)

2006: wins: 0-4 (Losses to Iowa, West Virginia, Louisville, and Rutgers. The Iowa loss was especially painful, as the offense had about 7324 chances to score a touchdown from the one yardline to win.)

2005: 0-4 ( Losses to Virginia, Florida State, Notre Dame, and Louisville)

This is the first game against a ranked opponent this season, and the results should be more of the same.

2. Will the defense give up less than 478 yards?

That is the low mark they’ve given up so far this year. I think the answer to this question is no. The defense has looked awful for two weeks and I don’t see it getting better in the near future. Certainly not this week.

Penn State has put up 111 points in wins over Coastal Carolina and Oregon State. Tailback Evan Royster already has 6 touchdowns on the year. I bet he gets at least 3 this week.

3. Will there be any bright spots in this game?

Other than the fact that Greg Robinson could get canned if the Orange lose by 100? Well, if I had to pick one it would be the play of Curtis Brinkley and Delone Carter. Both looked great last week and Syracuse will need them to play well to take some pressure off of Cameron Dantley.

4. How long does Greg Robinson have left?

Personally I think he will last through the season, but the talk has heated up a lot after last week’s loss. Syracuse.com says it is just a matter of when, not if Greggers is fired. Syracuse Chancellor Nancy Cantor says the team is performing below expectations.

There have been pleanty of coaches fired during a season (courtesy of Donnie Webb), but I think Cantor and Daryl Gross would wait until later in the year, if not until the end. I don’t think Gross wants to admit how bad of mistake hiring Robinson was, as well as bringing back a lame duck coach who realistically had no shot at winning enough games this year to save his job.

If they do fire Robinson they would hopefully give Mitch Browning a chance to guide the team for the rest of the season. If Mitch can lead the team to some victories, or at least have them playing a little bit better, maybe he becomes a viable candidate to become more than an interim coach. Or maybe the next coach will realize that having some semblance of continuity is good and will keep Browning on, as long as he is a fit to the offensive scheme they want to run.

Irregardless of what happens this weekend, it has become obvious that Robinson is gone. I just hope that we don’t get beaten too bad this weekend. But I’m still not backing down from my 62 point prediction.

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