But despite everything going on, the game is tomorrow. PSU V. UF. Paterno V. Meyer. North V. South. Big Ten V. SEC. Tastes great V. Less Filling.
So how do we match up with these Gators?
Both teams are 7-5. Like PSU, the Gators did not beat a ranked team on their schedule (PSU did beat THEM when they were ranked 25th in one poll, but who's counting?)
Here's how Florida fared:
|South Florida||W 38-14|
|Miss State||L 10-7|
|Georgia||W 34-31 OT|
|South Carolina||L 36-14|
|App. State||W 48-10|
In the only common opponent, at Alabama, neither PSU nor Florida fared well.
In terms of NCAA rankings, here are how the two teams compare:
|NCAA Stats Comparison|
|Passes Had Intercepted||55||47|
|Pass Efficiency Defense||79||23|
|Fewest Penalties Per Game||3||111|
|Fewest Yards Penalized Per Game||3||94|
|Punt Return Yardage Defense||43||71|
|Kickoff Return Yardage Defense||42||34|
|Offense Third-down Efficiency||42||73|
|Offense Fourth-down Efficiency||75||63|
|Defense Third-down Efficiency||8||54|
|Defense Fourth-down Efficiency||14||86|
|Tackles for Loss||87||41|
|Offense Tackles for Loss||6||74|
|Pass Sacks Allowed||12||60|
|Time of Possession||44||90|
|First Downs Allowed||35||26|
|Red Zone Efficiency||76||116|
|Red Zone Efficiency - Defense||118||53|
|Average NCAA Rank:||52.16||57.54|
|Weighted Avg. Rank:||57.5||42.17|
Penn State has a slight edge in average overall ranking, but the weighted rank, which gives more weight to important categories like Total Offense and Defense, and less emphasis to categories like total penalties, we see that Florida has the better team on paper.
Neither offense is very good, but PSU has a slight edge, especially in scoring. Uncharacteristically, the PSU defense is struggling this year and the numbers reflect that. Florida has the edge here and defense is usually the more important factor in winning these games.
But what about the intangibles?
Will the Florida players be motivated to send Urban off with a win? Or will the uncertainty of their future and the hoopla surrounding the resignation be a distraction?
For Penn State, are the rumors true? Will Paterno step down afterward? (I don't think so.) Are the rumors a distraction, or will they fire up the team the way it seems to have fired up both Joe AND Sue Paterno?
Paterno has done well in bowl games over his career. Generally if you give Joe enough time, he will have his team prepared. There have been exceptions to this rule, including the last bowl game against Florida, although PSU played without two of its star players in that match-up.
Penn State is 0-2 all-time versus Florida.
The line favors Florida by 7.5 points.
I think Paterno finds a way to put things together, hopefully using the bowl game as a springboard to a great season next year. I pick PSU in a close one--somewhere around 20-17.
GO STATE! BEAT GATORS!