Pre-season Countdown: #12

Each year, I try to put together a countdown of the Penn State season, starting with the game we are most likely to win (the easiest opponent) at #12 and ending with the game we are most likely to lose (the most difficult opponent) at #1.

As is the case most seasons, the #12 game is not a highly disputed spot.  The nominees for #12 are Indiana State, Temple, Eastern Michigan, Indiana and Alabama.  Okay, I’m just kidding about Alabama.

And the winner is . . .


The Sycamore Defense–good for blocking field goals; not much else

Unfortunately for the Mighty Sycamores, this game will be played on grass and not inside the Bryce Jordan Center.

When this game was first scheduled, the Sycamores had won just one game in four seasons.  They doubled their wins to two games in five seasons, and last year, they had their first winning season (6-5) since 1996.

The Sycamores have been to three bowl games all-time, the Shrine Bowl in 1949, and the Pecan Bowl in 1983-4.  They have never won a bowl game.  In the championship subdivision, they have made it to the play-offs twice (1983/4) with an overall record of 1-3.  Not much to cheer about since the early eighties.

Not only are we playing a team not in the Bowl Subdivision, but we are playing one of the worst teams in the Championship Subdivision.
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Season Wins Losses
2000 1 10
2001 3 8
2002 5 7
2003 3 9
2004 4 7
2005 0 11
2006 1 10
2007 0 11
2008 0 12
2009 1 10
2010 6 5
Totals 24 100

Can ISU build on that winning season of 2010?

The answer really has no bearing on whether Penn State will win this game or not.  Seriously, this is not Appalachian State we are discussing here.  Even if the Sycamores ARE better than a year ago, or any other season this past decade, they will not be able to defeat Penn State.

Don’t Holy Toledo me here.  This is not the Penn State team of 2000, and this Sycamore team is not the Toledo team that went to a bowl game in 2000.

Penn State has never lost to an FCS level team and this will not be the first. 

So do you even need to watch this game?  No.  But you should nonetheless.

The excitement of this game will be to see who has won the starting QB job.  That’s it.  Nothing else to see here.  The game should be over by halftime and the stadium will never be full.  The game itself will be plain vanilla.  There is no way Paterno is going to show Saban anything on tape that will be remotely useful for the next week.

I’m not sure I agree with that theory completely.  It might be nice to show something just to make them worry about things, but not the enough to know our entire gameplan.  I type this as if other teams DON’T KNOW our gameplan!  I sometimes wonder if WE know our gameplan.  Further, whichever QB is selected, he needs some quality reps.  Just dinking the ball to the sideline and handing off will be enough to win this game, but not enough to prepare for the Bama defense.

On the other hand, whichever QB is selected, that person likely sees better competition week in and week out in practice against our own defense, than anything he will face from ISU.

This game isn’t even worth the bandwidth to discuss X’s and O’s.  So let’s discuss their mascot.

Originally, ISU was a teacher’s college, but the fighting teachers apparently didn’t make opponents shake in their cleats like the mighty Sycamore.  Thus was born the Fighting Trees with a Tree mascot.

A tree named Woody????

In 1969, or thereabouts because who really cares outside of Terre Haute, Indiana, they voted Chief Quabachi (cookin’ on his Hibachi) as their mascot.

Unfortunately, the University bent to PC pressure and ditched the Indian Chief for no mascot at all.  But in 1995, Sycamore Sam was born.  They didn’t win a game that year.  You do the math.  Sam is a woodland animal, like a fox, but not a fox.  Whatever.


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Filed under analysis, football, Indiana State, mascot, Penn State, Pre-season, prediction

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