Thursday, August 4, 2011

Poll Dancing

The USA Today PreSeason Coaches Poll is out and Penn State has made it to the dance, so to speak, coming in at #25.

Rank Team (first-place votes)2010 recordPoints Final 2010 rankingDelta
1Oklahoma (42)12-21,45465
2Alabama (13)10-31,414119
3Oregon (2)12-11,30930
4LSU (2)11-21,29684
5Florida State10-41,1161611
7Boise State12-11,06570
8Oklahoma State11-2933102
9Texas A & M9-48852112
12South Carolina9-57792210
13Virginia Tech11-3767152
16Ohio State12-16315-11
17Michigan State11-253614-3
18Notre Dame8-5440NRN/A
20Mississippi State9-430117-3
25Penn State7-6161NRN/A

Five teams are ranked that didn't make the final ranking last season: Notre Dame, Georgia, Florida, Texas and Penn State.  Not bad company, the Irish notwithstanding.

Two teams had losing records last season:  Texas and Georgia.

Number one and two fell significantly, dropping 13-18 spots.  Number three remained the same.

Big movers (+8 or more) include F$U, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Nebraska and Alabama.

Big droppers (-8 or more) include TCU, Ohio State, and Auburn.

As a conference, the Big Ten has 5 teams:  Wisconsin, MSU, Ohio State, Nebraska and Penn State.

The SEC has 8 representatives:  Alabama, LSU, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, Auburn, and Mississippi State.

The PAC-12 has 2:  Oregon and Stanford.

The ACC has 2 teams:  Va Tech and F$U.

The Big-XII has 5 teams:  Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Missouri and Texas.

The Mountain West Conference has 2 teams:  Boise State and TCU.

The Big East has NONE.

As a Penn State fan, I think just making the rankings is a significant achievement for a 7-6 team that really struggled at times last year.  I think our defense will be able to keep most games close this year, but there are a lot of questions regarding the line and the quarterback position.

To put this in some perspective, the 1986 undefeated Nittany Lions never gave up more than 19 points in any game, averaging 11.1 points given up per game.  They averaged 28.3 points per game scoring.

Last year, our offensive managed 24.5 points per game while the defense gave up 23.6 points per game.

With a margin of 17 points between what your offense can do and what your defense allows, it is easy to see how an undefeated season comes together.  Keep in mind, though, that in 1986, Penn State squeaked by Maryland 17-15.

But with a margin of less than a point per game last year, the result was a believable 7-6.

What I'm trying to say in a roundabout way is that it is just as important to score points as it is to prevent your opponent from scoring.  The defense can't do it alone.

How enthusiatic are you about our 2011 offense?

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