Successful major college football coaches typically have one trait in common.

They're control freaks.

That may seem odd in a sport where so much is beyond anyone's control. After all, the ball can bounce in bizarre ways, officials can (and do) make poor calls and the weather can be extreme and unpredictable.

The single most uncontrollable element, however, is the players themselves. We're talking 18-to-22-year-old young men. To call them mercurial would be an understatement.

Still, coaches love to control whatever they can. It's in their very nature. They're almost universally Type A personalities.

That explains why Penn State coach Bill O'Brien, and Syracuse coach Scott Shafer, have decided not to reveal their starting quarterbacks for Saturday's season opener at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

They want to control any and all information about their teams.

They also want to make their counterpart's job just a little harder.

So we'll have to wait until 3:30 p.m. Saturday to find out who will guide the Nittany Lions -- true freshman Christian Hackenberg or junior college transfer Tyler Ferguson.

Syracuse will start either Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen or third-year sophomore Terrel Hunt.

By now, both O'Brien and Shafer almost certainly know who they plan to start at QB. They've had weeks of practice to figure it out. The quarterbacks and the other players on the team may know, too.

But the public will have to wait.

The main reasons they're not revealing their decisions are simple.

No. 1, they want to make the opposing coaching staffs work a little harder in order to prepare for two different quarterbacks with two different playing styles.

No. 2, they want to exert a little control over the pesky media. Coaches always love to prod the journalists who cover them. It's fun and relatively harmless.

The first reason is by far the most important, however.

Coaches want to know everything they can about their opponent. It's the unknown they fear the most.

Not surprisingly, especially in season openers when there is no previous film available, coaches want to keep information about their own teams to an absolute minimum. If lack of information bothers them, it will certainly agitate their opponents, too.

So, we'll have to wait until Saturday to find out if Hackenberg or Ferguson is O'Brien's guy.

Members of Nittany Nation can only hope that the wait is worth it.

Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dis patch. He can be reached a sheiser@yorkdis