PSU defending early schedule
College Football Videos
Penn State has taken heat for its soft 2008 nonconference schedule, not all of it warranted.
It's true that scheduling Division I-AA Coastal Carolina -- the 66-10 opening-day victim -- and Temple -- the 1-2 Mid-American Conference team that comes to Beaver Stadium for a noon game Saturday -- falls into the category of virtually guaranteeing wins.
It's also true that while Penn State (3-0) made short work of Oregon State, 45-14, and Syracuse, 55-13, those games were more ambitious opponents at the times the deals were made.
Joe Paterno seemed pleased when he was reminded, after the Syracuse game, that when the two schools agreed on a two-game series, which was announced June 18, 2002, Syracuse was a consistent winner.
"That's right," Paterno said.
Syracuse was 10-3 overall, 6-1 in the Big East in 2001, beating Kansas State, 26-3, in the Insight.com Bowl. The Orange were on a run of 15 consecutive winning seasons.
From that time in the program, to now, has been a dramatic waterfall. But Penn State could be forgiven for not anticipating that.
Likewise, when Oregon State was added to the Penn State schedule in December 2007, the Beavers were in the midst of 9-4 season and No. 25 finish in the final AP poll. A season earlier, Oregon State was 10-4 and finished No. 21.
"Oregon State will provide another challenging opponent during our nonconference schedule," Penn State athletic director Tim Curley said at the time
Ironically, Oregon State was a late substitution for Arkansas State, which stunned Texas A&M, 18-14, in its 2008 season opener. Arkansas State also blew away Texas Southern, 83-10 in Week 2, and lost a close decision, 27-24, to Southern Mississippi in its most recent game.
Temple's 1-2 record will be characterized as deceiving by Penn State and to some extent it is. The Owls beat Army, 35-7, in their opener, then lost, 12-9, in overtime to UConn, and 30-28 to Buffalo on a desperation pass that went for a touchdown last week.
"They'll be tough," Paterno said. "They've got almost everybody back from last year, plus that quarterback (Adam DiMichele of Sto-Rox) is a good player."
Syracuse comes to Penn State next year in the final installment of a home-and-home deal. Temple plays twice at Beaver Stadium for every home game it gets with the Lions. That series will extend through 2012 with Penn State playing at Temple in 2011.
Paterno explained again last week Penn State's need for such two-for-one deals.
"We need seven home games (for financial reasons) and it's tough to do if you've got to play home and home with everybody," he said.
Even with this weak front part of the schedule, Penn State's overall schedule is rated 45th toughest nationally, based on cumulative records of the opposition when only I-A teams are considered, and No. 52 when I-A and I-AA teams are included.
East Carolina, which began the season unranked, has slotted in ahead of No. 16 Penn State in this week's AP rankings as a reward for a tougher schedule to date. The Pirates upset No. 17 Virginia Tech, 27-22, in Week 1, and upended then No. 8 West Virginia, 24-3, in their second game. East Carolina won at Tulane, 28-24, in its third game.
But when the entire schedule is weighed, the East Carolina schedule ranks dead last in strength based on opponents' cumulative record at No. 119 when only I-A is considered, and 173rd when I-A and I-AA are included.Additional Information:
No Murderers' Row
Penn State future, present and recent past nonconference opponents:
2009: TBA, Syracuse, Temple, Eastern Illinois
2008: Coastal Carolina, Oregon State, Syracuse, Temple
2007: Florida International, Notre Dame, Buffalo, Temple
2006: Akron, Notre Dame, Youngstown State, Temple
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates bow meekly to Reds, suffer 5th consecutive loss
- Man found fatally shot in Mercer County
- Butler Area board approves consolidation; 5 schools to close
- Late slump doesn’t faze defending champion West Allegheny as playoffs loom
- Valley grad Nealer’s decorated softball career with Allegheny comes to end
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Reds, May 7, 2015
- Coonelly: McCutchen’s struggles not related to bouts of left knee inflammation
- Steelers’ fourth-round pick Grant relies on smarts to get job done
- Carnegie Museum of Art, VIA come together to spell ‘party’ with ‘art’
- Gorman: Last hero of a lost rivalry
- NFL finds Patriots employees probably deflated balls