B1G Schedule Breakdown: Penn State

Previously: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State

2011 Overall Record: 9-4
2011 Big Ten Record: 6-2

Sept 1Ohio
Sept 8@ Virginia
Sept 15Navy
Sept 22Temple
Sept 29@ Illinois
Oct 6Northwestern
Oct 20@ Iowa
Oct 27Ohio State
Nov 3@ Purdue
Nov 10@ Nebraska
Nov 17Indiana
Nov 24Wisconsin

Do Not Play
Michigan State

Biggest Game
Ohio State. Not as big of a test as Wisconsin could be, but since the Nittany Lions don't play the Badgers until the last game, I think the Ohio State game will be a truer test of where Penn State stands in the Leader division – post-Sandusky.

Non-Conference Loss
No real non-conf threats on this schedule. The road trip to Charlottesville is likely the only place where Penn State could slip up. But I also wouldn't count out Navy. Never underestimate a service academy.

It's a Trap!
Temple gave Penn State all they could handle last year in a 10-14 loss. Of course that was at Temple, and Penn State was fresh off a loss to Alabama, but still. I think Indiana could also sneak up in a late-season game sandwiched between a road trip to Nebraska and the finale against Wisconsin.

The Game Destined for ESPN3.com
Given the media hoopla surrounding Penn State recently, they'll be interesting to watch in September. The opener against Ohio would typically be my pick here, but there's nothing typical about what's happening in Happy Valley right now.

Final Analysis
Penn State is in a very precocious position. It will be interesting to see how things play out once actual football is played again. I remember being very unconformable watching Penn State play at the end of last year. Football seems like it should be the last thing on the minds of the Nittany Lions fans these days. But given how important football is to the culture of Penn State, maybe it will help the healing process of the school, the students, the families, the coaches, the players and the fans to see football games being played on TV and not just b-roll of Jerry Sandusky being escorted out in hand-cuffs.

How the NCAA decides to approach/handle what's happened, and what continues to happen with the Paterno fall-out, will be very interesting to watch. But even with this whole mess going on, I think Penn State salvages a decent season.

Fearless Predictions
Non-conference record: 4-0
Division Record: 3-2
Crossover Record: 0-3
Overall: 7-5
Bowl: Insight

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