Roar Lions Roundtable: Biggest Trap Game

By Matt de Bear on August 29, 2018 at 8:30 am
Sep 9, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; General view of the Penn State Nittany Lions logo outside of Beaver Stadium prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Panthers. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

There's no doubt that one of college football's greatest draws is the potential for practically anyone to beat anyone else on any given weekend. The Nittany Lions' opening week opponent proved as much 11 years ago in Ann Arbor. Last year, Penn State was tripped up in East Lansing a week after a heartbreaker in Columbus. That same week the Buckeyes were run out of Kinnick Stadium. Does a similar fate await the Nittany Lions somewhere on this season's schedule?

Craig Fritz - Pittsburgh. It's the Panthers' Super Bowl in front of a raucous primetime crowd. The Lions will have to absorb the biggest shot Nard-dawg's bunch can muster.

Dan Smith - Wisconsin. Everyone is obsessing over Ohio State and Michigan, but Wisconsin concerns me. Penn State has question marks up the middle with replacements at defensive tackle, middle linebacker, and safety. Meanwhile, Wisconsin returns its offensive line with four all-conference players and a top sophomore running back. It's not an ideal matchup for the Nittany Lions.

Bill DiFilippo - Pitt. Don't get me wrong, Penn State is a better football team than Pitt, and unlike the 2016 game between these two sides, I think the Nittany Lions are walking into this game as the established better team. I am just wary of road night rivalry games — how will Penn State respond to a hostile environment against a team that will approach this game like its own personal College Football Playoff? Add in that the Panthers have knocked off several top-10 teams in the last few years and Penn State has to bring its A-game.

Nick Polak - As far as a trap game goes, I think Iowa is a clear choice. It comes right before the Nittany Lions get set to face Michigan on the road and Wisconsin at home in consecutive weeks, making it a prime spot for a letdown lookahead. The other key for me is the presence of Nate Stanley. Any team that wants to pull off a big-time upset needs stellar quarterback play, and that's something that Stanley is capable of providing.

John Morgan - Pitt is coming off a disappointing season, but a night game on the road is always tough. They should be better this year, but PSU will come in as a decent sized favorite. That being said you know Pitt will show up looking to knock off their in-state rival.

Kevin Fay - If they make it past Ohio State and Michigan State, at Indiana could be tricky, even if I don't think they will be very good.

Joe McIntyre - Indiana. Is the trap game ever not Indiana or Northwestern? Until proven otherwise the trap game will always be one of these two teams.

Kaitlyn Dividock - My gut wants to say this season's trap game will be Iowa back home in Happy Valley as a sort of revenge ploy by the Hawkeyes to counter their heartbreaking 2017 loss at the impeccable hands of Trace McSorely and Juwan Johnson at the literal last second, but that early date with Pitt back at Heinz Field is looming in my mind. Iowa has the chance to be incredibly good and finally knock Wisconsin off the Big Ten West pedestal, but the Panthers are that annoying little brother that won't go away until the clock hits zero.

Dan Vecellio - Iowa. If Penn State can beat Ohio State and Michigan State, they'll be 7-0 heading into a matchup with the Hawkeyes, but they'll undoubtedly have their eyes looking ahead to Michigan and Wisconsin.

Matt de Bear - A year ago, the trip to East Lansing screamed danger after back-to-back biggies against Michigan and Ohio State. This year's red flag comes at the start of a brutal stretch. Over three straight weeks, the Lions will host Iowa, travel to Ann Arbor, and return to face Wisconsin in Beaver Stadium. Iowa is typically a different team away from Kinnick, but with two huge games looming after, Penn State would be well served not to be caught looking ahead.

What game worries you this fall? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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