HERE IT IS!!! The biggest dual of the year is this Sunday inside Gallagher Arena against the #1 ranked Cowboys of Oklahoma State! This is a rematch of last year's NWCA National Duals Championship series which Penn State won handily at Happy Valley. Both teams come in undefeated, looking to capture the NWCA crown! There are marquee matches up and down the lineup, but let's make the match of the night at 149 between #1 ranked and returning undefeated NCAA champion Zain Retherford and #2 ranked Anthony Collica.
125: Nick Suriano vs. Nick Piccininni- We'll kick off the dual (if it starts at 125) with some Nick on Nick crime! 4X New Jersey state champ vs. 4X New York state champ. Suriano has looked absolutely incredible as a true freshman, and has only gotten more offensive and confident as the season has progressed. Piccininni has had a solid freshman campaign as well, although he has suffered several losses this year. Suriano should control this one on their feet, as well as on top, and I look for him to win comfortably, even if he doesn't pick up bonus points. Suriano by decision, 3-0 PSU.
133: George Carpenter vs. Kaid Brock- George's job will be to prevent the fall, which I don't think he'll do. Brock is a pinner, and George is an Adam doll. Brock by fall, 6-3 OSU.
141: Jimmy Gulibon vs. Dein Heil- These two have history going all the way back to high school, but while Dean has gotten significantly better, Jimmy has struggled finding the same success at the collegiate level that he enjoyed in high school. I still think it has much more to do with his refusal to lose weight than it does with his ability on the mat, but it's too late now. Heil never wins big, and I don't see him wracking up the points here, either. I'll take Heil with a 4-1 or 5-2 victory. Heil by decision, 9-3 OSU.
149: Zain Retherford vs. Anthony Collica- The unstoppable force versus the immovable object! If doing nothing at all was the key to wrestling, Collica would be the second greatest wrestler of all time (behind only Sorensen). Unfortunately for Anthony, you have to be able to score to win in wrestling, and he never does. He's defensive enough to keep it close, and I highly doubt they'll ding him for stalling as much as they should since it's his home mat, so I'll go with Zain winning a low scoring affair. Retherford by decision, 5-2. 9-6 OSU.
157: Jason Nolf vs. Joe Smith- Round three! Nolf has completely separated himself from the rest of the pack at this weight, and Joe has really struggled to find the success he enjoyed last year as a freshman. I don't see this one even being close. Nolf by major decision, 10-9 PSU.
165: Vincenzo Joseph vs. Chandler Rogers- Another great matchup here. Cenzo has had a very solid freshman campaign, losing only 1 match to a wrestler not in the top 3. He lost in the closing seconds against Isaac Jordan, and kept it respectable against IMar. Chandler is a big move guy, but if you can stay out of the throws and his big moves from bottom, he is very beatable. I think Cenzo keeps this match simple and just beats Rogers with singles and doubles from his feet. Joseph by decision, 13-9 PSU.
174: Mark Hall vs. Kyle Crutchmer- This one got ugly in the Scuffle finals, but a lot of those points came right away from a 4 point tilt by Hall. Still, Hall took him down several times easily, and I don't think Crutch has the speed or athleticism to stay with Hall on their feet. I'll take Mark again pretty comfortably. It may be bonus points again, but I'll play it safe and just go with a regular decision. Hall by decision, 16-9 PSU.
184: Bo Nickal vs. Nolan Boyd- Bo is quietly having one of the best seasons in the country right now. He's undefeated, and has big wins over a returning NCAA champ, Martin, and a returning NCAA runner up in Dudley. He's also pinned 12 of his 17 opponents. I don't think this one is going to be close. Actually, I think Boyd will be in danger of being victim number 13. Nickal by fall, 22-9 PSU.
197: Matt McCutcheon vs. Preston Weigel- Great match between two guys who are right in the mix of being All Americans this year. Matt has been outstanding wrestling up a weight this year, and almost picked off #4 ranked Kollin Moore in the Ohio State dual. Weigel is significantly bigger than Matt, but Matt is very strong and difficult to score on. Preston makes a living on top, but I've rarely seen Matt get turned by anyone. I think Matt finds a way to win this match against the bigger man on his feet. McCutcheon by decision, 25-9 PSU.
285: Nick Nevills vs. Austin Schafer- I doubt this match will happen, as Austin has been in a walking boot for a few weeks and I highly doubt they risk any further injury here in a pretty much meaningless dual, especially if the dual is out of reach. So I'll take Nevills by fall, not over Schafer, but whomever the backup is at heavyweight for the Pokes. Nevills by fall, 31-9 PSU.
And there you have it. Of course, a mild upset here or there could make the match much more interesting, but after seeing what Penn State has done to the rest of the competition this season, I don't see enough upsets happening to give the Cowboys the victory. After being disrespected for most of the year, Penn State will FINALLY be the consensus #1 ranked team in the country in all the rankings.