This might be the most anticipated match up of the year. Two of America’s best wrestlers turned coaches with talented and deep coaching staffs, training centers and teams.
What are some of the factors that might affect performance? Both teams are used to the competition time. Will the travel affect Penn State? Both teams are used to big crowds. If I was forced to pick, Penn State has been in more high profile situations the last couple of seasons. Oklahoma State is an older team and at home. Does that help or apply more pressure? I think that home helps but the seniors might feel more pressure.
125lbs: #2 Nick Suriano Fr. Penn State) vs. #10 Nick Piccininni Fr. (Oklahoma State). I’d say major for Suriano if they were at home. Suriano by 7 points.
133lbs: George Carpenter (Penn State) vs. #2 Kaid Brock Fr. (Oklahoma State). The only real question for me here is what kind of bonus points. I’m taking Brock with a 5-point tech fall.
141lbs: #15 Jimmy Gulibon Sr.(Penn State) vs. #1 Dean Heil Jr. (Oklahoma State). Heil owns a victory over Gulibon last season. I don’t see Heil being able to bonus here and I don’t think Jimmy can pull an upset either.
149lbs: #1 Zain Retherford Jr. (Penn State) vs. #2 Anthony Collica Sr. (Oklahoma State). Zain owns a couple of wins over Collica, one last season. I think Retherford opens up the margin of victory but will it be enough for a major?
157lbs: #1 Jason Nolf So. (Penn State) vs. #6 Joe Smith So. (Oklahoma State). Nolf has victories over Smith in folk and freestyle. The real question here for me is what kind of match does Smith wrestle? His ability to block with head and wrist control is very good. If Smith is going all out I think that Nolf gets bonus. Nolf has so many attack angles it’s impossible to stop. Smith would have to be focusing on counters to be more competitive. I have Nolf winning by 9 points.
165lbs: #5 Vincenzo Joseph Fr. (Penn State) vs. #7 Chandler Rogers So. (Oklahoma State). I see this as a toss up. Freshman against sophmore. Does the pressure or travel affect Joseph? I think Joseph’s attacks from neutral from different angles are smooth yet powerful and he will get at least a couple of takedowns. Rogers might be better from the top or with counters but I think VJ hips are to heavy for the crazy stuff. Joseph was able to deal with Chad Walsh’s crazy attacks at the Keystone Classic. Both guys have lost matches that they should of or could have won this season. I think that Joseph pulls out a close one with a late takedown.
174lbs: #9 Mark Hall Fr. (Penn State) vs. #7 Kyle Crutchmer Sr. (Oklahoma State). Hall beat Crutchmer at the Scuffle 6 weeks ago. Both guys lost to Meyer this season. I think that nerves of the big stage at Iowa won’t have the same affect on Hall this time around but will he be able to go a hard 7 minutes? Crutchmer can lead with his head out of position in scrambles which make him vulnerable to a big move. Hall by 6 points.
184lbs: #2 Bo Nickal So. (Penn State) vs. #5 Nolan Boyd Sr. (Oklahoma State). Nickal has been on a tear this season. Anyone that doubted his move up from 74 has to be eating crow. He’s improved his bonus point rate and his closest match was a 5-point win. Boyd can score points with a bunch of 5-point tech falls this season. The only way I see Boyd winning is catching Nickal on his back attempting a big move, even then Boyd isn’t really a pinner and Nickal comes back. I see Bo putting on a show for those that made the trip up from Texas to see him, major decision victory.
197lbs: #9 Matt McCutcheon Jr. (Penn State) vs. #8 Preston Weigel So. (Oklahoma State). It might sound funny but Weigel might be the most improved wrestler to take the mat. I also think that McCutcheon has trouble staying out of some bad positions and has displayed some issues with pressure or something that leads to evidence of under performance at times during his PSU career. I think that Weigel’s rate of attack might cause some trouble for MM as well as his inconsistent top game. Weigel wins by 4.
285lbs: #5 Nick Nevills So. (Penn State) vs. #6 Austin Schafer Sr.(Oklahoma State). It’s fun and exciting when the likely last match of the night is between quality foes. I’d call another toss up. The difference will be Nevills’ ability to attack anywhere on the leg and his cardio. Nevills gets 3 takedowns and 1 escape and wins by 3.
I’d prefer a system like other sports where the best or highest ranked competitors go at the end of the night. I’ve been to so many great duals that have had fans walking out early during a very boring 285lb match. It changes the energy of the event and the taste left in the average non-devotee memory. Tradition is only good when it makes sense.
I have it Penn State 7 matches Okie State 3 matches.