Penn State To Come Out On Top In Rivalry Game Of The Week vs Pittsburgh

Joe Gavazzi

Wednesday, September 7, 2016 7:15 PM UTC

Wednesday, Sep. 7, 2016 7:15 PM UTC

The two biggest schools in Pennsylvania clash this Saturday for the first time in 16 years, and the anticipation is high. Our capper provides his insight and college football pick for the Rivalry Game of The Week.

What a fantastic start to the 2016 football season on this site!  Combined with a 3-0 ATS mark on NFLX games, the College Football selections in Week 1 went 7-1 ATS for a combined mark of 10-1 ATS to begin your football season! I assure you that every weekend will not be that good. But, if you follow the advice in my analyses this season, there is an extremely, high probability you will have more winners than losers.


Penn St. vs Pitt (-6) Noon ET ESPN
It may seem strange that I would have named this the “RIVALRY GAME OF THE WEEK,” between a pair of teams who have not met since the year 2000.  But when the 2 largest universities in the State of Pennsylvania collide this Saturday (at a sold-out Heinz Field), it will clearly mark the resumption of one of the greatest natural rivalries in all of College Football.  

These teams have each been through their 'glory years', as well as suffering a downturn in recent seasons. This year, when the teams meet for the first time in 16 seasons, there is good reason for them to have hope that their respective seasons will culminate with a winning record and Bowl bid.  

The Pitt Panthers have struggled through multiple coaching changes in recent seasons. In the last 6 years, they have been led by Dave Wannstedt, Todd Graham, Paul Chryst and now, Pat Narduzzi, the former Michigan St. DC, who is in his 2nd season. And, that isn’t even counting the interim coaches! Narduzzi appears to be the best fit of the group, as his nickname of nails harkens back to the Pittsburgh steel era, when teams like these Panthers and the Pittsburgh Steelers made their mark with a running game and defense that was hard as nails. 

This year’s Panther edition has 8 returning starters to each side of the ball for the 2nd straight year. QB Peterman returns to hand off the ball to RB Connor (now healthy) and Ollison in what figures to be an outstanding Panther ground attack. But, this M.O. does not lend itself to blowouts, witness the record of 1-5 ATS last year on this field. Last week’s opening victory against Villanova was a microcosm of this Panther edition.  As 28 point chalk, they won 28-7, while gaining just 261 yards.  

For the visiting Nittany Lions, they are also in a return to stability in the 3rd year under HC Franklin and with finally a full allotment of 85 scholarship players, following the Paterno/Sandusky era. In an effort to break from the offensive doldrums that have seen the Lions average just 22/342 on offense in the first 2 years under Franklin, new OC Joe Morehead has been hired from Fordham, where he led the Rams to 3 FCS playoffs. The explosive offense was hardly evident in the 33-13 win over Kent St. last week, when the Lions could total just 354 yards. The brief pointspread history of Franklin is a bit perplexing, as he is just 2-9 ATS away in his first 2 years and 0-4 ATS as underdog last season. Yet, behind the emergence of QB McSorley and RB Barkley, the offensive breakout of the Lions is imminent.  

These are a pair of teams that are clearly on the rise, yet in a return to their glory years, it will be no surprise if this game plays out as smash-mouth football with the winner fortunate to total 20 points. As such, there is clear value on the Nittany Lions in our Rivalry Game Of The Week.


Our Capper Jay Pryce Had A Different Take On This Game, Read It Here


I invite you to put the College Football odds in your favor and join me in my College Football pick on Penn St. this afternoon.



Free College Football Picks: Penn State +6 
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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