Penn State will get a good test on Saturday in the prime mid-afternoon ABC slot. Oregon State is coming to the Valley. The Beavers are coming off an 8-4 season that was capped by a win in the Emerald Bowl. Penn State should still be okay when it comes to winning this game. Oregon State has to replace most of its defense, and they opened the season with an eight-point loss to Stanford. None of it points to an upset in the making, but this is still an opportunity for the Lions.
Darryl Clark has been given the reigns of the offense and entrusted with the task of finally producing enough points and time of possession so the Lion defense can get support. The PSU offense hasn't been up to snuff since 2005, when Michael Robinson was at the helm and won the conference MVP. Clark is in the same mold as Robinson--a quarterback who can move and make things happen out of the pocket. He's got an experienced corps of receivers to work with and a veteran offensive line. One year ago at this time, the Lions blew out Notre Dame. But in retrospect, we can see that the offense did not play nearly as well as it should have against what was a lousy defense. Come Saturday, against an opponent with a weak D, but still from a BCS conference, PSU will have to show it can move the ball. Otherwise, a major bowl bid will remain an elusive goal. The Centre Daily Times has a game preview.
Notre Dame will get what they hope will be a comeback season started. There should be no difficulty in beating San Diego State. The Aztecs lost their opener to Cal Poly, a school whose principal claim to fame is having been the destination of Tom Cruise's character in the old football movie All The Right Moves. If nothing else, the Irish will start this year better then last. Eric Hansen of The South Bend Tribune reports that thus far, Charlie Weis has stifled the urge to return to play-calling. My own thoughts? That will last until the first three-and-out. Most veteran coaches are set in their ways, and its human nature for all people to default to natural instincts when a rough patch hit.