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Predictions 101 — TicketCity Bowl

Case Keenum

No. 20 Houston vs. No. 24 Penn State
Jan. 2, Noon ET, ESPNU
At Dallas

This prediction comes courtesy of Marc Doche (@MDoche) from the ever dependable P101 satellite office in Burbank, Calif.

What the Cougars did on the field in the Conference USA championship game against Southern Miss demonstrated that they are not BCS-worthy.

Now, they find themselves facing an opponent similar to what they would have faced in the Sugar Bowl, a team that’s likely to outclass them in what will be their first game without coach Kevin Sumlin, who was hired by Texas A&M.

With the Nittany Lions (9-3) dropping two of their last three games, dashing hopes of a berth in the Big Ten championship game, distraction and disappointment is a similar theme for both teams.

While Penn State owns a 14-0-1 mark versus C-USA opponents, Houston (12-1) has the benefit of playing down the road in Dallas. But the Cougars’ top-ranked aerial attack led by sixth-year quarterback Case Keenum faces its toughest test of the season against a Nittany Lion defense that ranks fifth in the nation, allowing just 162 yards per game through the air.

Having averaged less than 13 points per game over its final four contests, Penn State’s offense will be hard-pressed to extend the margin against what has primarily been a respectable Cougar defense. However, that doesn’t mean the Cougs can win a rugged battle to improve upon their 4-8 record against the Big Ten.

Opening point spread: Houston by 7

The pick: Penn State 27-21

Click HERE to get predictions for the remaining bowl games.

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11 Responses to “Predictions 101 — TicketCity Bowl”
  1. bjg5091 says: Dec 6, 2011 7:43 PM

    I really hope you are right about this. Being a soon to be Penn State alum, I am nervous about the defense being torn apart by Keenum similar to what Wisconsin did. I hope the team can end the season on a great note and help Penn State fans as a whole look forward to next season even if it isn’t known by then who the new head coach is.

  2. mz1383 says: Dec 6, 2011 9:16 PM

    I disagree that PSU’s defense was torn apart by Wisconsin but I do look forward to the task at hand. The offense gave Wisconsin 24 points on turnovers….the defense was on the field to long because of it! This will be a great game and I look forward to being there to see it!

  3. bjg5091 says: Dec 6, 2011 9:48 PM

    Yeah I guess I did exaggerate about the defense but there seemed to be some long drives in the 2nd quarter that seemed like the defense was helpless against the curl and post routes.

  4. cfbfaninbadnfltown says: Dec 6, 2011 10:04 PM

    As an alum I’m surprised by this prediction? I really thought this would be some pick about Case Keenum, ripping apart PSU’s defense all day. Finally some recognition for a team that won 9 games this year on a great defense. I still think the margin of victory will be larger, especially with our O-line & run game.

    @ bjg5091

    If your worried about Case just watch the 2008 Sugar bowl and see how well the previous passing record holder did against a real defense. By the way Good Luck after graduation and welcome to the PSU family.

  5. dietrich43 says: Dec 6, 2011 10:25 PM

    PSU could come out on fire after all the problems this year, and they could come out flatter than a tortilla because everyone knows the staff will be gone the next day.

  6. mnorris0123 says: Dec 7, 2011 5:29 PM

    Penn State shouldn’t even be in a bowl because they harbour child molesters!

  7. cfbfaninbadnfltown says: Dec 7, 2011 6:14 PM

    @ mnorris0123

    They won 9 games they deserve to go to a bowl, look up the NCAA rules next time you post like a moron.

  8. gershonpsu says: Dec 7, 2011 6:59 PM

    Child molesters? As far as I know only one former assistant coach has been accused. No one on the current team or current coaching staff (including Joe Paterno) is facing charges of any kind. Get your facts straight before posting.

  9. itstariq says: Dec 7, 2011 7:35 PM

    Our terrible o-line will be exposed again. Case can pick apart any D with time.

  10. cfbfaninbadnfltown says: Dec 7, 2011 8:38 PM

    @ itstariq

    Don’t expect him to be upright most of the game, I hope he can run, because the Penn State pass rush is coming.

  11. ancientcougar says: Jun 28, 2012 10:16 PM

    Were you guys wrong or what?

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