For the Nittany Lions, it's the chance to go 2-0 against SEC teams in the last five years in Jan 1 bowl games, as well as to prove to anyone watching that they might be worth at least a No.20 ranking and a prayer coming into 2010's game with Alabama (have we mentioned that game yet on this site??). Oh, and it's also a chance for certain players to prove their worth for the 2010 season (cough! cough! Kevin Newsome! Cough! Cough!)
For LSU, it's a chance to prove that without Les Miles' insane sideline clock control and some bad luck/bad officiating against Alabama, it would have been the LSU Tigers in the SEC Title game, not the hated Crimson Tide.
Why Penn State Will Win
1. "What A Great Defense"
Penn State is a superb defensive team that despite a woeful game against Ohio State, was once again the best in the land. Not only that, but it's anchored by Jared Odrick and Navorro Bowman, who are both projected to go in the first round of the 2010 draft. They'll cause no end of problems to Jordan Jefferson, LSU's young quarterback.
2. Darryl Clark - It's Your Time
The last two years have been great ones for Darryl Clark. He's helped the Nittany Lions to a Rose Bowl and a Capital One Bowl, and he's been brilliant almost all season long. He can hang with pressure - look how he's played on the road this season against crowds that hate his guts. However, 2009 was thought of as the great Clark 'choke season', with poor performances against USC, Ohio State and Iowa. Why not come good now - on his last game with the NFL Scouts watching?
That's the name for my fantasy league teams - and if you're a Nittany Lion fan, you'll know why. Evan Royster has been Penn State's best player this season. Despite an inept offensive line, he's run for over 1,000 yards and against a Tiger 'D' that gives up 134 yards per game, he'll do well, thanks very much.
4. Big Boy Derek Moye
Already thought of as the heir to the throne of Butler, Williams and Norwood, Derek Moye made some standout catches last season to come out as one of the potential bright sparks for the 2010 season. And another thing: he's bigger than you are.
5. Joe Paterno Is God.
'Nuff said, really.
Why LSU Will Win
1. Penn State's Offensive Line.....Urghh....
Penn State's offensive line is awful/anemic/ horrible/sucks, and it won't have a prayer against the LSU bull-rush.
2. Penn State's Secondary Is Weak
We'll let you into a little secret, Jordan Jefferson - Penn State's secondary isn't wonderful. Yahoo was nice enough to call it "solid", but we don't think it's been good since Alan Zemaitis left in 2005. If I were Miles, I'd ping the ball up in the air and let LSU's 6 ft receivers cause the problems.
3. LSU Has Trindon Holliday....
While Penn State's defense is incredibly solid, they rank 120th on punt return defense. In other words: feed it to Holliday and he will score. Holliday, who's the 'Usain Bolt' of the SEC, will frighten the Lions all day long. Put him down for 14 points.
4. And Weapons On Defense
As Mississippi State knows, Chad Jones is his own weapon of mass destruction on defense, when he practically won the game by himself. For some reason, the Tigers manage to come up with tremendous late interceptions, and they've clawed Les Miles out of tight situations on more than one occasion. Darryl Clark suffers under pressure, and when you've got gold-helmeted warriors charging at you with the smell of dacquiri in the air, then expect Clark to fail.
5. Les Miles Wins Bowl Games
Under Les Miles, LSU is 4-0 in bowl games and they've stomped on everybody they've played against. Teams play for Les Miles - one of the games true 'mad hatters'. We can't wait to see him get in the face of his players on Jan 1.
Prediction: Penn State by 3 in the game of the Jan 1 Bowls.