Some pre-game observations while waiting for the real season to start:
It will be interesting to see how Joe Paterno plays it today.
Presuming another lopsided victory, this time against Temple, this marks yet another chance to not play the regulars deep into the second half.
The double-edged sword, though, is said players have not been overly taxed thus far this season and will be needed for four full quarters beginning next week against Illinois.
If they aren't used to playing longer than they have been - the starting receivers didn't play at all in the second half at Syracuse - will that be a negative when the Big Ten season begins? Or will they be more fresh?
Such are the dilemmas of a coaching staff, which given the tenure of Penn State's should be a plus.
* For the past couple of years, Paterno made no secret of his desire for the Big Ten to include an open date, which kicks in this year. The problem for Penn State is it's Nov. 1 - after the Lions' difficult stretch that sandwiches an Oct. 18 home game with Michigan around road trips to Purdue, Wisconsin and Ohio State.
* If Penn State doesn't/can't/won't play Pitt, at least there are plenty of common opponents (Syracuse, Temple) to have some fun comparing scores. Today marks another with Iowa's visit to Heinz Field.
* One of these days, probably not today, don't be surprised if the Lions dust off a reverse on a kickoff return and get the ball in the hands of A.J. Wallace, whose speed hasn't been fully exploited because he's playing mainly on defense.
* Terrelle Pryor may start for Ohio State against Troy today, but if he doesn't, he's likely to play even more than he did last week at USC. Wouldn't it be something if Pryor is taking the majority of the snaps when the Nittany Lions land in Columbus on Oct. 25? Despite Pryor's budding greatness, that scenario may actually help Penn State because its adrenaline will be flowing that much more.
* It's conceivable that neither coach today will be on the sidelines for their respective teams next season, what with Joe Paterno in the final year of his contract and facing uncertain status and Temple's Al Golden having already been impressive enough to draw interest from a larger program. This could be a year of significant job changes that could have a ripple effect throughout the East. By my count, the following jobs may open: PSU, Temple, Syracuse (Greg Robinson is surely out), Rutgers (Greg Schiano may replace Paterno and/or realize the time is now), Pitt (depending on Dave Wannstedt's success this year), Buffalo (Turner Gill is ready for a bigger stage), Virginia (Al Groh's team lost 45-10 at UConn), Maryland (Ralph Friedgen beat Cal but lost to Middle Tennessee State) and UConn (Randy Edsall is an attractive candidate). Stay tuned.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He'll respond to brief comments in Gameday.