Matchup: Penn State vs. Central Florida.
Spread: UCF -1.5 / Total: 48 (From BetMayor Sportsbook)
Date & Time: Saturday, August 30, 2014 @ 8:30am EST
Location & TV Network: Dublin, Ireland (airing on ESPN)
2014 Week 1 Penn State vs. Central Florida Game Prediction: The dark days in Happy Valley are now in the rear-view mirror. Just two short years ago, Penn State football was left with some major hurdles due entirely to some serious NCAA sanctions. Bill O’Brien quickly rebounded a program that appeared to be in dire straits. Under coach O’Brien, Penn State overcame a multitude of obstacles in 2013, (including bowl in-eligibility & scholarship losses). The Lions managed to string together an inspiring winning season, and an overall 7-5 record. The opportunistic O’Brien was rather quick to exit the college game, parlaying his success into an NFL head-coaching gig. Immediately following the coach’s exit, Penn State didn’t waste any time hiring a replacement, bringing in the young James Franklin to take the reigns. Franklin will be looking to build on the momentum that O’Brian left with the program. But, make no mistake about two things; 1) Penn State wasn’t without talent under Bill O’Brien; & 2) Penn State made a calculated hire when they brought in James Franklin. Franklin is one of the hottest up-and-coming coaches in college football today. In just under three seasons, we watched Franklin revitalize a Vanderbilt football program that really had absolutely nothing going for them prior to his arrival. The first step for Franklin and his young Nittany Lion squad will be across the Atlantic (in Dublin, Ireland), where they’ll face Central Florida in this year’s Croke Park Classic. Motivating his squad for his coaching debut shouldn’t be a problem for Franklin, as Penn State’s returning starters will be looking to get revenge on a team that beat them (in their house) last season. Yes, there are absolutely times when the “revenge factor” is an over-hyped and over-played scenario when it comes to handicapping college football games. However, this is a case where I believe it shouldn’t be under-appreciated due to the . This Penn State team is loaded with a lot of young talent. This is a group that can make a lot of noise and build on their program’s momentum. I foresee the young Penn State squad being more-than-ready to play this big test across the pond in Ireland. I also boldly predict that the Saturday afternoon storyline will be Penn State’s surprise performance and their BIG win over Central Florida. Look for young motivator, James Franklin to get his first win here, firing up a Penn State squad that will be looking to get some revenge. I also see a slightly over-valued UCF program which may end up taking a step backwards this year.
2014 Week 1 NCAA Football Picks: Penn State +1.5 & Under
PSU/UCF Final Score Prediction: Penn State 34 – Central Florida 12