We've been pirating the Roundtable questions for years... I remember when RUTS used to suggest that they didn't need a round table, as there were only 3 of them... and now we're an official contributor (although we were sent the questions in an "oops, I think you were forgotten/purposefully omitted" email)!!!
The questions this week are authored by Devon at Nittany Whiteout.
So, here we go...
1. As this week's matchup with Iowa represents not just Penn State's first conference game, but their first real test, take a look back at the 3-game preconference schedule. What was the one thing that stood out to you most, either as a success or a failure?
Ack. Well, I had thought that the passing game looked a little better than I had expected, before the Temple game, and I had been really, seriously, concerned about the running game, before the Temple game. It appears that our inexperienced offensive line can only focus on one aspect of the game at a time. Wisniewski needs more experience at center - there are still some exchange concerns. Not a failure - or a success - but a work in progress.
2. Iowa, on the other hand, has been tested twice already this season, both by D1-AA Northern Iowa and by Arizona, a solid Pac-10 team. How much of an advantage, if any, will the Hawkeyes have over Penn State as a result?
Iowa is going to have some confidence coming into this game, both from their own play and, most likely, from watching the PSU film.
3. It seems like both Penn State and Iowa have been hit pretty hard by the injury bug early in the 2009 season, with Iowa losing the services of RB Jewel Hampton, LT Bryan Bulaga, TE Tony Moeaki and WR Darrell Johnson-Koulianos and Penn State potentially without both Sean Lee and Navorro Bowman, along with Graham Zug. How will both teams adjust to playing without some of their star players?
Penn State has had some key injuries this year - I'm hopeful that Lee, Bowman and the Zug will be able to heal quickly and return to the field soon - but we also have had some more serious injuries in the off season that have shallowed our depth chart - such as Mike Mauti and Darryll Clark's brain.
That said, I do feel, if Clark stays healthy, Penn State has the talent and the drive to fill the gaps and get the job done.
FWiW, it's been reported on Twitter this morning that Bowman is back in practice - Lee is not.
4. Last year, a loss to Iowa knocked Penn State out of the championship race. This year, they're in a similar place, as they largely control their own destiny. Do you see Penn State running the table in the Big Ten, and if not, where is the most likely slip-up?
I think it's a little early to say that PSU controls its own destiny - there are still teams ahead of PSU in the polls and 9 games to play. Penn State needs to win on Saturday - every Saturday - and then teams in front of them need to lose as do the teams (currently) ranked below them.
I think that this team, given the schedule has a very good chance of winning a lot of football games - but the players and the coaches can't just sail through the season - they have to work for it - they are the defending Big 10 Champions and everyone is going to be ready for them.
5. This will be the fourth year that Beaver Stadium hosts a White Out, and it's universally regarded as one of the best traditions in the NCAA. What suggestions would you have to further improve gameday conditions at the Beav?
Move the Blue Band back to the south end zone - we can't hear them in the East stands. Other than that I'd cut back on the canned and reactionary music. We don't have to hear Song 2 or Kernkraft 400 after every play - especially against teams such as temple. I love the enthusiasm - but let's not waste it.
Who runs for more yards, Iowa or Penn State?
Last year's Whiteout game drew 109,626 people to Beaver Stadium. How many come this year?
If you had to win just one of the two, would you rather Penn State beats Iowa or Ohio State?
Luckily for me I don't get or have to make these choices - I'll just say that I'd rather the Lions win one rather than none.
Does Corso put on the Lion or Hawkeye head?
Good question. hawkeye?
Does Penn State get revenge, or does Iowa make it 7 of 8 against the Lions?
I know that the notion of "revenge" can be motivating, but I hope that the Penn State players focus on the game, and win it.