(5-2, 3-4 ATS)
Penn State Nittany Lions
(4-3, 2-5 ATS)
Arch rivals from the Big Ten meet in what should be one of the best games of the year in this conference, as the Michigan Wolverines take aim at Happy Valley when they try to topple the Penn State Nittany Lions in college football betting action.
With a full week off to rest, Denard Robinson appears to be back in the saddle and ready to go against a stout Penn State defense on Saturday night. Robinson might not be anything more than a dark horse candidate to win the Heisman Trophy right now, but one fantastic game, especially on national television, can change all of that. Robinson is leading the nation’s No. 2 offense at 532.0 yards per game and is putting 36.0 points per game on the board as well. He has 1,096 rushing yards and 1,319 passing yards, putting together nine TDs both through the air and on the ground. The trio of receivers of Roy Roundtree, Junior Hemingway, and Darryl Stonum each have at least 320 yards receiving this year, and all three are incredible deep threats. Hemingway leads the nation with 21.5 yards per reception. All three have a pair of TDs. Defensively is where this team really struggles. Big Blue has the third worst pass defense in the country at 296.3 yards per game, and this ‘D’ has suddenly allowed a whopping 33.0 points per game since beating both the UConn Huskies and Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and as a result, the Wolverines are just 3-2 SU and 1-4 ATS in that stretch.
With really not a single cupcake left on the schedule, it is important for HC Joe Paterno to bang as many wins as possible to try to make it to a bowl game. That loss back on October 9th to the Illinois Fighting Illini seems to have been forgotten, especially after winning in Minneapolis 33-21 over the Minnesota Golden Gophers last weekend. Freshman QB Robert Bolden was injured last week after going 11-of-13 for 130 yards with a TD in what might have been the best start of his career if he could have finished what he started. Though everyone is expecting Bolden to play, he is still listed as questionable. RB Evan Royster has clearly fallen off as the Nittany Lions’ top rusher, and he is obviously nowhere near the Heisman Trophy discussion as was expected at the start of the season, but he is right near a milestone in University Park. At some point in the first half of play, Royster should become the all time leading rusher for Penn State, as he will surpass the great Curt Warner for that distinction. Though the Illini really did a number on this unit, don’t forget just how good this defense really is for the Nittany Lions. Teams are only averaging 331.7 yards per game against them this year, and Illinois was the only opponent, including the Alabama Crimson Tide, to score more than 24 points on this defense all season long.
This day will belong to Joe Pa. There are just too many things going positive for the Nittany Lions on Saturday to ignore, especially with the dark cloud looming over the head of HC Rich Rodriguez in Ann Arbor. It could be a real story of gloom and doom for the visitors in this one, and we are making our NCAA football picks on Penn State to send the sea of white home happy in a rare primetime game.
College Football Free Pick: Penn State Nittany Lions +3