Those sneaky Greeks! The Spartans snuck their best warriors into Beaver Stadium . . . we welcomed them amidst cheers and jubilation!–under the guise of a wooden Lion– a fake gift of a homecoming foe in the throes of a mediocre season.
And we fell for it.
What can you say after a 21-17 loss that saw PSU tumble from the lofty rank of 8th in the nation to 18th place in the AP poll (16th in the Coaches who felt sorrier for us.)
I don’t know what to say. I don’t even know where to begin.
So I asked myself, as I pondered this dilemma . . . what do my readers want? (I only have like 5 regulars, and I think a couple of them are on heavy medications.) Jimmy might by 45 and living in his mother’s basement, But I digress.
Do you come here for the brilliant analysis of a post game? I highly doubt it. I’m not an X’s and O’s kind of guy. (I hate Tic-tac-toe.) I know less about the game than the talking heads on ESPN that we all make fun of. But at least most of them either coached the game at some level, or played the game themselves. I have done neither. If I’m no longer your hero, I understand.
Is it the humorous repartee that keeps you coming back?
A Michigan State fan walks into a bar. The Penn State fan ducks.
Nope. Can’t be that.
I’m not really sure I know why you come to this site, but I’m going to go out on a limb here. It’s Fellowship. Kinship. An exchange of thoughts and emotions that only armchair quarterbacks and true fans of the game can understand. Misery loves company, and celebrations are better with more than one person–your mother upstairs doesn’t count Jimmy. My weekend is ruined–ruined Andre, we’re ruined!–when Penn State loses. The sun may come up Sunday morning, but I really don’t give a flying fart if we lost. I’d rather live a dark Sunday after a win, than a beautiful day that mocks my mood after a loss.
We can over-analyze the facts–the stats, the outcomes, until we’re blue and white in the face. It won’t change what happened. But there is a catharsis in the discussion; a cleansing of our football souls.
We should have won that game. And the one before it, but don’t get me started about that again.
Are we over-rated? Apparently. Thank you Mr. Obvious.
After last week’s loss, Coach Franklin spoke about Penn State not playing at an elite level. We were a great team, but not quite at that elite level. Well, James, I’ve got news for you. We are not a great team. Whereas the Buckeyes can make a pretty sound argument for being an elite team, Michigan State? Not so much.
We lost to a very pedestrian, very mediocre Spartan team on Saturday. And while the score looked close, we were not very good and quite frankly, we deserved to lose. I think we are capable of playing better than we did the last two games, but the results do not support that.
And therein lies the rub.
My anger, frustration, dismay, pain . . feel free to throw in whatever adverse emotions you felt as you watched that game play out . . . really comes down to a mismatch between my perception of reality . . . and reality itself.
I thought we were a great team. I thought we had a chance to go to the play-offs. I thought this was going to be a special season (and I’m sorry if you are one of those fans that thinks 10-2 is a special season, because IT IS NOT.) There will be no Big Ten Title. There will be no play-off game. No National Championship.
At Penn State, we fans have been spoiled by our school’s historical success. In any given year, there is only ONE team (in the past before the BCS and play-off committees, there could be multiple titles based on different polls) but even if you allow 2 teams per year to win, the odds of a school winning a title are pretty dismal. If there are 120 Bowl Division teams, that chance is one in 120.
Yale has the most titles–18–but has not won a national trophy since 1927.
Alabama is second with 15. Five have come within the last nine years.
Only 60 colleges can claim at least 1 national football title. Only 43 have more than one. In addition to Yale and Princeton, that list also includes these schools that either no longer play football, or won’t be considered for a title ever again: Chicago, Centre, Washington & Jefferson, Detroit, Dartmouth, Lafayette, and Colgate.
Winning a championship is special. My oldest child was born in 1994. She has never seen Penn State play for a national championship.
And when a 10-2 season comes down to five points, that is really too close to just dismiss off-handedly. (I am assuming we win the rest, but hey, don’t bet your money on my predictions.)
Dammit, we were so close. And with Georgia, Washington and West Virginia losing, we really could have moved up in the world.
As it is, we are what we are. And it’s not special.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Out of 15 drives by MSU, 7 drives were less than 5 plays. For PSU, not counting the knee to end the first half and the 13 second “drive” to end the game, the Lions had 14 drives, with only FOUR going for more than 4 plays.
MSU had 25 first downs. We had 14. I just shake my head.
Which explains the lopsided time of possession, which the Spartans won by 34:12 compared with our 25:48.
The Box Score listed only 6 penalties for PSU for 41 yards, It seemed like a lot more than that because some of them were key penalties that kept MSU drives alive without actually yielding much yardage. MSU had 3 penalties for 20 yards, and two of those were false starts possibly related to the crowd noise. None of the reviews went in our favor.
Michigan State out gained us 418 to 397 yards. Just incredible.
There was not one single intangible that did not favor PSU. Home game. Homecoming crowd of 106,685. Stripe out. Saquon Barkley and Michael Mauti on the sidelines. Revenge for last year’s late loss. The drum Major stuck both flips. Ranked freaking 8th in the nation with an outside shot at making the play-offs.
We should be glad the NCAA doesn’t penalize us for wasting our advantages.
And to the “next year is our year crowd” . . . Bull. Shit. THIS WAS OUR YEAR!!! Senior QB. Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan State at home with Michigan being the only road game of any contention. Next year’s home schedule is Idaho, Buffalo, Pitt, Purdue, Michigan, Indiana and Rutgers. Woo freaking hoo. If you are a season ticket holder that likes to sell their tickets, I wouldn’t bother buying next year. There’s only one game there you’ll be able to sell for any real money.
THE BIG (TEN) PICTURE:
The F*CKEYES are still number one. You don’t need to waste any more time worrying about it.
That’s all I got.
Fighting for a place in that Taxslayer Bowl. Or maybe James Franklin will take us to the Franklin American Mortgages Music City Bowl. Cocktails at Mike Reid’s house.