With that USC fight song still fresh in our heads, it's time to expound on the 2009 Penn State football season that lies dead ahead.

Sept. 5 vs. Akron: Let the month of beatdowns begin!

The highlight in this game may be how Zips QB Chris Jacquemain exposes a Penn State weakness: The defensive secondary.

PICK: PSU 35, Akron 17

Sept. 12 vs. Syracuse: Excitement is finding out former Duke point guard Greg Paulus will start for the Orange.

Here's wondering what will happen when Jack "The Ripper" Crawford comes off the end and finds Paulus, a man who hasn't played football since high school, all alone.

That's right, Paulus takes the charge, like a good Dukey should.

PICK: PSU 45, Syracuse 3

Sept. 19 vs. Temple: Here's some news from the Temple media guide. The Owls recorded the most wins (five) in 18 seasons last year.

Former Penn Stater Al Golden may just turn the Owls into a winner. Big props considering the program begins the season 141 games under .500 all-time.

PICK: PSU 28, Temple 9

Sept. 26 vs. Iowa: Does anybody remember what happened in this game last year?

Word is Penn State alum Anthony Scirrotto shows up for this one, but he gets there early.

PICK: PSU 17, Iowa 12

Oct.


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3 at Illinois: Halfway through the game, Larry Johnson walks to the opposing sideline to join offseason suitor Ron Zook, but explains after the game "The GI" disorder hit him.

PICK: PSU 17, Illinois 10

Oct. 10 vs. Eastern Illinois: The directional school searches for the next Tony Romo.

PICK: PSU 27, Eastern Illinois 10

Oct. 17 vs. Minnesota: Remember when the Golden Gophers gave the Nittany Lions fits, sending an endless supply of 1,000-yard rushers?

Now it's time for Minnesota to say hello to Evan Royster.

PICK: PSU 17, Minnesota 7

Oct. 24 at Michigan: Rich Rod once again points out after the game that JoePa has had 40-some years to build his program and he's only had two years.

PICK: PSU 17, Michigan 6

Oct. 31 at Northwestern: This is a classic letdown game.

Sandwiched between a program that used to be a powerhouse and Ohio State, Northwestern finally avenges a last-minute loss at the hands of Derrick Williams in 2005.

PICK: Northwestern 15, PSU 12

Nov. 7 vs. Ohio State: Lions need to generate pressure on Terrelle Pryor off the corner.

Games in this series are usually won by the home team, but Pryor has not yet matured into a quality passer. Think about a young Troy Smith.

PICK: PSU 12, Ohio State 10

Nov. 14 vs. Indiana: What? Indiana has a football team? Since when?

PICK: PSU 29, Indiana 0

Nov. 21 at Michigan State: Not so much a prediction as a prayer: Please football gods, save us all from a Rose Bowl rematch. Let the Spartans win.

Sparty goes over the top to score the game-winner in OT.

PICK: Michigan State 20, Penn State 17.