Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Maryland Terrapins
Date and Time: Saturday, November 25, 2017, 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Maryland Stadium, College Park, MD
Opening College Football Odds: Penn State -21
Penn State vs. Maryland TV Coverage: Big Ten Network
Does anyone even remember when Saquon Barkley was the runaway favorite to win the Heisman Trophy at all of the best college football sportsbooks? It feels like eons ago that Barkley was shut down by Ohio State and Michigan State, and now, there's a good chance he doesn't even make it to New York as a finalist.
Barkley is still the most dynamic player on the Nittany Lions, of course, but now that PSU is off the national radar, he's hard to really deem as a top-flight star.
Penn State just hasn't put 60 minutes of football together very often of late. Even in last week's 56-44 win over Nebraska, the game was 42-10 at halftime and 56-24 with 10 minutes to play.
It's not Maryland's fault that it isn't getting to a bowl game this year. This team was ravaged by injuries all season long, and the bottom line was that it wasn't going to compete with the likes of Ohio State, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Michigan or Michigan State. That's five teams that are completely superior in every way that showed up on the schedule. Even a non-conference game against UCF feels like it was impossible even though the Terps laid four-points in that game.
The one loss that was totally inexcusable was the one against Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are much-improved, but they shouldn't be beating a team like Maryland, even in Piscataway.
The good news for the Maryland defense is that it has started to show a pulse right at the end of the season. This team doesn't look anything like the club that allowed 39 points to Indiana, 62 points to Ohio State or even 38 points to UCF. These last two games against Michigan and Michigan State, the Terrapins conceded under 600 total yards.
Even though Trace McSorley has some decent numbers as a passer, he and DaeSean Hamilton aren't running this offense efficiently without Barkley doing some serious damage. If the Heisman hopeful is held under 100, or even 150 yards of total offense, the Terrapins are at least going to have a shot to stay in front of this relatively large spread.
Penn State vs. Maryland Free Picks
This is a really tricky point spread to try to handicap. The Nittany Lions haven't beaten anyone by three touchdowns since blowing the doors off of Michigan on October 21, and that includes games against Rutgers and Nebraska that were far inferior teams to Maryland.
Maryland, meanwhile, was crunched by all four of UCF, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan by more than three touchdowns, and two of those three games were played at home.
The talent on this Maryland offense is a lot better than you might suspect. D.J. Durkin has some legitimate players to work with, but he just doesn't have enough of them, particularly in the trenches to be able to keep this offense operating at a high level.
The weather report isn't looking great in College Park over the weekend either, and that could play a big role in this game. Penn State is perfectly content playing a game in some nasty weather, but that definitely would make this spread a lot more unpredictable.
We're not going all-in on the Terps by any stretch of the imagination, but given the options, taking the points feels like the slightly better option.
College Football ATS Pick: Maryland +21 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Penn State 38, Maryland 20