Tag Archives: Michigan

Michi-gunned Down

For an entire week I endured the media hype.  Michigan has the best defense in the country.  They were going to shut down Barkley.  Penn State had no offensive line.  McSorley was going to be running for his life and making mistakes.  Blah, blah, blah.

blahblahblah

Did they know this was 2017 and not 2016???

Jim Harbaugh actually looked shell-shocked in his post-game interview.

I can’t believe their coaching staff only looked at last season’s 49-10 game to prepare for last Saturday.  Yet, they looked unprepared.  They couldn’t stop Barkley.  They couldn’t cover him as a receiver.  They actually looked slow on defense (or we looked really fast–take your pick.)

Of course, there is the possibility that they did prepare but I guess their best wasn’t good enough.

Before a record-setting white out crowd of 110,823 exuberant fans, the second ranked Nittany Lions proceeded to methodically dissect, out man, and out play the vaunted Wolverine defense.

It didn’t take long.  On the second play of the game, Saquon Barkley (for those of you who are Michigan fans, he is a running back that plays for Penn State, a school that is not Michigan nor Ohio State if you can actually believe the concept that there are other schools out there) shifted to take the direct snap out of the wildcat formation.  He then proceeded to take the football 69 yards untouched for six points and our kicker made the point after.  Saquon Barkley . . .  say Bye Bye!

Penn State would go up to 14-0 on the team from up north, on yet another run by Barkley, this time from the fifteen yard line.  Georgia State held Barkley to fewer yards than this alleged number one defense.

The first quarter ended as the wolverines got a spark of life support from a Trace McSorley interception, where it appeared the quarterback and receiver weren’t on the same page.  But one-time PSU commit Quinn Nordin would miss the extra point.  Wouldn’t mean anything in the final analysis but it was just a bit of karma in his face.

To their credit, the maize and blue would try to make a game of it with a second touchdown in the second period, but the score was 21-13 at the half thanks to a 7 play, 75 yard drive engineered by Trace McSorley (for Michigan fans, he’s a quarterback who plays at Penn State, blah, blah, blah, he’s pretty good outside the town of Ann Arbor or so I’ve heard.)  The drive took all of 52 seconds and the team never looked back.

Let’s do some Michi-gun bullets baby:

  • Penn State amassed 506 yards of offense against the “number one defense”
  • Penn State only punted twice.
  • Penn State never had to kick a field goal
  • The Lions averaged 7.2 yards on first down plays
  • The pathetic Penn State line allowed only two sacks
  • Penn State sacked O’Korn seven times
  • McSorley ran for 78 yards
  • Penn State has still not allowed a point in the first quarter
  • If you think that’s impressive, PSU has outscored opponents 72-3 in the third quarter
  • Penn State shut-out the wolverines in the second half.
  • The loss drops the University of Michigan out of the AP poll

The final score was 42-13 as Penn State rattled off 28 unanswered points.  They are 7-0 on the season and still ranked number 2.  This was one of the best whiteout games and certainly one of the most entertaining.  I still put Ohio State 2005 at the top of the list because that game was close, it was an upset victory, and Penn State was resurging from the dark years of 2003-4.  This game was never really in doubt but was just plain fun.  Michi-fun.

THE BIG (TEN) PICTURE:

The Buckeyes had a week off to prepare for Penn State.

Wisconsin badgered the terrapins 38-13.

The Spartans outlasted Indiana 17-9.

Northwestern fricaseed the Hawks 17-10.

Rutgers beat the Boilers 14-12.  Wait?  What?  Let me check that.  Wow.  They won one.

And the Gophers defeated Illinois 24-17.

Outside the conference, the Irish embarrassed the Trojans 49-14.

LOOKING AHEAD:

The Nittany Lions travel to Columbus next week to face the 6th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.  Kick-off is 3:30.

The Buckeyes struggled a bit with Indiana in the opener, trailed at the half, but ultimately put the Hoosiers away 49-21.  If you recall, we beat Indiana 45-14.  Kind of a wash there.  That is the only common opponent to date.

The Bucks have scored no fewer than 54 points in their last four games, against the likes of UNLV, Maryland, Rutgers and Nebraska.

Their one loss was a night-time, prime time loss to the Sooners, 31-16.  This was the second game of the year on their schedule and no game since has been even close.

Ohio State opened as a 7 point favorite.

I think we win.  Their front seven will keep Barkley in check, although I still see him breaking free at one point.  However, our offensive line is getting better, and I think McSorley will have a good day against the Buckeye secondary.  This will be one of the better if not the best offenses we have faced so far so it will be a test for our defense.  I think they will rise to the occasion.  It won’t be as lopsided as this week, but we shall see.

And I leave you with this . . .

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Bye week Bye-byes!

Weakestlink

Four teams in the top ten tanked this weekend.  Doesn’t anyone want to play Alabama????

Both Washington teams lost, as well as Auburn, but the shocker of the weekend was the Friday the 13th horror flick that played out in the Carrier Dome starring an unranked Syracuse team.

Friday13thClemson

While you might think that would end the Tigers’ hopes for a repeat title, think again.

Just like Jason continues to resurrect himself film after film, Clemson is poised to return to greatness; to arise from the ashes like a football Phoenix.

Clemson dropped all of FIVE spots in the AP poll.  FIVE!

Let’s look at other teams and how a loss affected their top 10 ranking:

Florida State opened the season with a loss to #1 Alabama.  Is there shame in losing to a number one team?  No.  But it did cost them 7 places as they plummeted from 3rd to 10th.  Of course, the Seminoles are now unranked, but that level of discredit was not evident after one game.

Ohio State.  The Buckeyes only dropped four spots, but that was to a team that was highly ranked at the time (Oklahoma.)

The rest of the nation does not fair so well with losses.

Southern Cal dropped 9 spots after losing.  Oklahoma dropped 9 spots despite their victory over the Buckeyes earlier.  Michigan dropped 10 spots after their loss to a now ranked Spartan team.  Washington State and Washington both dropped 7 spots.  And Auburn, bless their little hearts, fell 11 spots after losing this past weekend.

So where is this love for Clemson coming from?  Do they pass they “eye test?”

ClemsonEyeChart

Before the bye week, there was a lot of talk about whether a one-loss Georgia team (the presumptions being that Georgia wins out but loses to Alabama in the SEC title game) could jump an undefeated Nittany Lion team for a spot in the playoff.  I guess now the Bulldogs will have to worry about Clemson jumping them (assuming PSU wins out!)

Which reminds me . . .  Penn State has the first installment of a critical three game series of challenges.

THEM

As in The-M.  The Big Block M that marches across the field to the victors valiant.

The guys with wings (but not a  prayer) on their helmets (did you know that some maxipads have wings too?) come to Beaver Stadium for a 7:30 PM game.

The weather?  Meteorologists are calling for White Out conditions.

The betting line was 11 points favoring Penn State this morning.

The key to this game is simple really.  Penn State has to find a way to score against the Michigan defense.  Period.  Michigan has shown nothing offensively all year to suggest that they will put up many (any) points against the PSU defense.  The wolverines best hopes for an upset hinge on a combination of their defense scoring (pick six or scoop and score), a red zone defense that forces Penn State to kick field goals we can’t make, or a poor day by McSorley that allows the front line to bottle up Barkley.  Success in any one of those goals probably won’t be enough to win.  But two out of three could be disastrous for the Nittany Lions.    Multiple turnovers and missed field goals would be a nightmare.

Yet, I am very optimistic.  I’m not sure we’ve played our best game yet.  There is a lot of room for some improvement in things which are very improvable.  The bye week allowed us to evade the horror-filled losses that other top teams suffered, and allowed us to heal and work on our weaknesses.

We will know Saturday if we pass the eye test.

PennStateeyechart

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Anticipation . . .

Remember this commercial (OK, I’m dating myself a bit here):

I can’t remember the last time I was looking forward to a Penn State football game like I am looking forward to this weekend.

Maybe 2005?  Or 2010 when Joe Paterno won victory #400 over Northwestern?

Since the sanctions in 2011, however, PSU football changed.  No matter how well they performed on the field, there was no ranking.  No polls.  Who cares who won the Ohio State-Michigan game?  Or if Washington wins?  I didn’t even pay much attention to the polls the past five years–until a few weeks ago.

Bill bless-his-heart O’Brien made watching the games fun.  He might go for it on fourth down on his own twenty yard line.  You might be elated by a 4 OT win over the wolverines.  But you might witness Penn State’s first and only loss to Indiana in football.

I was getting tired of the old argument . . . the sanctions.  No depth.  Not enough talent.  Will take time to get back on top.  Anticipation . . .

Yet, here we are.  Tied at the top in our division.  Almost to the Big Ten Championship game.  Perhaps even a few lucky breaks away from a bigger prize . . . .

Spartans.  Spartans.  Spartans.  Focus, Todd.

Must.  Beat. Michigan State.

One game at a time.

The team that really has the conundrum is Michigan State.  I may be going out on a limb here, but even despite the ugly Land Grant Trophy that is up for grabs, a win over Penn State this weekend would be bittersweet.  The Spartans aren’t going anywhere in the post season regardless.  And a Spartan victory would send Michigan or Ohio State to the title game, and possibly a national championship.  I may be wrong here, but I doubt Michigan State fans loathe Penn State as much as they loathe their in-state rival, or the long history with Ohio State.  If I were a die-hard MSU fan, I might actually root for Penn State this weekend.

Of course, a Michigan win over the Buckeyes will put a considerable damper on things, but all will not be lost.  I almost feel kind of dirty rooting for the Buckeyes.  But these are strange times we live in.  I’m no fan of the wolverines either, and I can enjoy a victory over Harbaugh as much as one over Urban Meyer.  In this case, I could really enjoy it.  A happy Meyer begets a happy Lion.

So . . . .

GO STATE!  BEAT SPARTANS!

and LET’S GO BUCK-EYES!

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Weekly Game Guide: Hackenberg on the starboard side! Edition

Penn State has a bye week which gives us a chance to relish again the 4OT victory over the previously undefeated wolverines last week.

You can see a panoramic view of the game here.  I tried to find myself, but I was blocked by some people standing in front of me.  Down in front!  So much for my fifteen minutes of fame.

The game was far from perfect, but in the end, Penn State made one less mistake than THEM.  But the game was not about the Four OT’s, the blocked field goal or the miss by Gibbons.  It was everything about losing a lead, and fighting back against all odds.  The team never quit.  The coaches never quit.  The Devin squared tandem of Gardner and Funchess are going to score points on a lot of teams.  And although Gardner was playing Funchess while our secondary seemed to be playing Funcheckers, our coach made some gutsy calls late in the game while Hoke seemed to be reading Paterno:  By The Book and playing conservatively not to lose.

Was the QB sneak in regulation brilliant or a poor call that just worked out?  It had already failed earlier in the game, albeit I think that fourth down was slightly more than a yard, rather than inches.  But what if Hackenberg hadn’t made it?  What if it took them twenty seconds to unpile the mass of bodies on the goal line, with no touchdown signal.  With no time outs, the clock may have run out on what is now one of the best wins in the O’Brien era.

It’s funny how Sunday Morning (or Thursday evening) Quarterbacking works that way.  When you win, you tend to forget about the bad calls.  When you win, there are no bad calls.  If the players execute, the coach looks like a genius.  If the kid boots the field goal wide, the coach looks like a conservative jerk who should have played to win.

But even some visiting fans had a good experience, the outcome notwithstanding.  Although not this guy . . .

What’s worse than losing in 4 OTs?

From the above article . . .

This weekend was a different story. As the few Wolverine fans trickled into Beaver Stadium they realized that the structure was possibly even more impressive than our very own Big House.

The white out stands for what separates the Penn State game environment from that of Michigan. During a maize out, Michigan Stadium has one maize section where the students stand and a mixed bag of maize and blue throughout the rest of the bowl. Fans don’t put much stock in participating in the game atmosphere but simply want to watch their team win. It’s tradition.

But in Happy Valley every single fan is ready to cheer like crazy for Penn State from the opening kickoff. The white out was breathtaking. Over 100,000 strong were decked out in all white and shaking white pompoms as Bill O’Brien led his team onto the field. This scene was unlike anything our little group of Michigan students had ever experienced.

Though it has a smaller capacity than the Big House, Beaver Stadium is built entirely above ground and is much more intimidating both inside and outside. Second and third decks keep all of the sound in while reaching up much higher than the final rows in Ann Arbor. If you’re wondering how a structure like this can be safe, you aren’t alone.

Penn State’s famous chant is the Zombie Nation cheer, which gets the entire audience involved in jumping and screaming along. Because it was one of the things I was really looking forward to, I asked our host, a senior at Penn State, about Zombie Nation.

“There’s a new rule that we can only do it two times each game,” he told me. “We were doing structural damage to the stadium so they had to limit us.”

At the suggestion of damaging a concrete structure like Beaver Stadium I was astonished, but when Penn State came back and tied the game with under a minute remaining in regulation, Zombie Nation blared and the back wall of the stadium was visibly wavering back and forth with the Nittany Lion faithful.

It was the most incredible atmosphere I’ve ever been a part of, and I wasn’t even in an appreciative mood.

Following such an emotional win I expected to be mercilessly harassed by the Penn State students all night, but was surprised when they continued a trend set before the game. . .  It was extremely strange. We weren’t sure how we felt about the hospitality because it didn’t feel right, but it was much better than being harassed in Columbus or East Lansing. After the game there were fans that laughed and jeered at us, but the number that told us good game probably outnumbered them.

Even though they always seem to beat Michigan in recent years, and they ended our undefeated season, it’s hard to hate Penn State fans because of how cool they were; both when they were sure they would lose and after they had won.

I have been to Michigan Stadium thrice, and have been a-maized at how quiet those games have been except for the odd play or two every now and then.  My experience outside of the Penn State section was BAD.  The two games I sat with other PSU fans were positive experiences, except for one loss.  The stadium is built into the ground, so it doesn’t look like much outside on street level.  But it is a really big bowl that doesn’t hold the sound in well.  We’ll see how Indiana fares in that venue this week.

Speaking of this week, in the Big Ten . . .

THEM is favored by 9 points in Ann Arbor over the Hoosiers.  After losing to Indiana, I guess we have to root for the wolverines.  Did I just type that out loud?  Even if we can’t win a Big Ten Title, that doesn’t mean we can’t win a fantasy title, does it?

Iowa travels to Columbus to take on the Bucks who are favored by 16.5 points.  GO HAWKS!

Northwestern is favored by 12.5 and expected to bounce back against the Gophers.

The Boilers travel to face the Spartans in East Lansing.  Sparty is favored by . . .wait a minute till we add this all up . . . 26.5 points!  I hope Purdue wins, but I gotta say, Sparty wins this one.  No OTs will be required.

The Badgers, favored by 11.5, head to Illinois.  ON WISCONSIN!

Penn State and Nebraska are both off again.

Future Big Ten Team Maryland is favored by 6.5 over Wake Forest.  GO TERPS!

Rutgers is off.

In games around the country:

Miami (FL) is leading UNC 13-7 in the second quarter, but quite frankly, I’ve been watching the Pens who are up 2-1 on the Cryers at the end of two periods.  Philly accidentally scored a goal with 2 seconds left to actually make this a game!

Notre Dame is favored by 3 over Southern Cal.  GO TROJANS!

Stanford is favored by 5 over UCLA.  Hmm.  GO BRUINS!

Alabama is favored by 28.5 over Bret Beliema’s Hawgs.  ROLL TIDE ROLL!

F$U is favored by 3 over Clem’s son.  GO TIGERS!

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Unscientific Data

ChestPainGraph

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October 14, 2013 · 10:21 pm

FAIL! To the Victors!

FAIL!  FAIL! To Michigan!

What a game?!  Seriously?!  YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

Penn State blows a 21-10 half-time lead to fall behind 34-24?   YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

Ficken misses a 40-yard FG in the first OT?!   YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

Penn State blocks a FG in the first OT to send it into a second OT?!  YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

Both teams manage to kick field goals without incident in the second OT?!  YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

Allen Robinson fumbles on the first play of the third OT?!  YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

Gibbons misses a field goal from the 33 to send this game into a FOURTH OT?!  YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

Gibbons kicks a field goal.

THEM kicks a successful field go to go up 40-37?!  YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

O’Brien goes for it on fourth and one in the fourth OT?!  YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

And Penn State makes it?!  YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

A PI call against THEM?!  YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

Touchdown PSU on a sneak that failed to get a first down in the first quarter, which seemed like a couple of days ago?!  YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

I AM SERIOUS!

This was the BEST GAME ever.  Not the best win (think OSU in 2005, or Nebraska in 2002, 1982, or the 1987 Fiesta Bowl) ever, but the most exciting up and down, back and forth, hit the other guy in the face, make a mistake and then atone for it game I have ever witnessed in person.  BAR NONE.  And the fact that it was against THEM?  Priceless.

I feel sorry for the fans that left to get a jump on traffic when it looked like the referines were going to find a way to make sure this previously undefeated THEM squad came out with another W, earned or not.

You left to beat the traffic?  YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

I am not going to discuss the officiating in any detail, suffice it to say that is was another stellar performance by the Big Ten crew.  They did their best, but their best just wasn’t good enough.  So many games against this team have been swayed by bad and, quite frankly, atrocious calls, that nothing surprises me anymore.  The crowd hailed loud boos on the crew late in the game, and there was a poetic justice, a perverse irony that a pass interference call against the wolverine defense helped set-up Penn State’s winning touchdown to end the game 43-40.  I was sitting above the north end zone and it certainly looked like PI to me.  But I had already seen plays more egregious than this one not flagged, and plays far less obvious flagged.  You just never know what these Big Ten officials are going to call.

For years, THEM fans have told Penn State fans to stop complaining and stop being whiners.  Bad calls equal out.  I’m not sure PSU actually benefitted from any bad calls yesterday, but for once, they didn’t hurt us.  I have nothing to complain about.

I can’t remember when the last time PSU came back from a 10 point deficit in the final quarter to win a game.  I’m sure it has happened (OSU for win #323 maybe).  Actually, against Northwestern last year we scored 22 points in the fourth to win 39-28.  But in the Big Ten JoePa era, those kinds of wins were few and far between.  And this win/comeback was all the more difficult with a freshman QB and only 50 ticks left on the Timex.

Allen Robinson almost pulled a Tony Johnson 2002, but replay overturned the bad call on the field this time.  Ain’t modern technology great?  And then, in one of the “plays of the game” Allen Robinson grabbed the jump ball at the six inch line to set Penn State up for the tying TD in regulation.

And if the 2002 flashback catch/non catch on the sideline was not frightening enough, it appeared as if Penn State left too much time on the clock.  With 29 seconds left, Penn State elected to kick-off instead of squibbing.  The ghost of 2005 reared its ugly head, and THEM returned the ball to the 35 yard line.  One play later, the wolverines were on the PSU 40 and inching towards a game winning FG try.  The wolverines would get as close as the PSU 35 yard line, but with 7 seconds left, and only third down, Hoke opted to kick the FG instead of running another play to get a few more yards.  Bad choice for THEM; good one for us.  In what would be a foreshadowing of the ensuing OT conflict, Gibbons missed the 52-yarder, leaving it short instead of wide.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

“History belongs to the victors, legends to the people, fantasy to literature. Only death is certain.”  –Péter Esterházy

Only the victors valiant wore Blue and White on this night.

BY THE NUMBERS:

The stats from GoPSUsports:

THEM PSU
FIRST DOWNS………………. 21 24
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)………… 54-149 44-85
PASSING YDS (NET)…………. 240 305
Passes Att-Comp-Int……….. 29-15-2 45-23-2
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS….. 83-389 89-390
Fumble Returns-Yards………. 1-24 0-0
Punt Returns-Yards………… 0-0 3-26
Kickoff Returns-Yards……… 6-154 2-39
Interception Returns-Yards…. 2-5 2-32
Punts (Number-Avg)………… 6-40.8 4-44.8
Fumbles-Lost……………… 2-1 2-2
Penalties-Yards…………… 7-62 5-56
Possession Time…………… 36:13 23:47
Third-Down Conversions…….. 4 of 18 3 of 16
Fourth-Down Conversions……. 0 of 0 2 of 3
Red-Zone Scores-Chances……. 2-3 5-6
Sacks By: Number-Yards…….. 4-16 3-22

Above, I put “plays of the game” in quotes, because there were several.  The fumble by Zwinak to open the second half was one.  Not good for us, but sparked the wolverine resurgence.  The Allen Robinson fumble in the third OT.  Again, not a great play for us, but it could have been disastrous.  The blocked field goal by Baublitz.  Great!  The catches by Allen Robinson in the final drive–exceptional.

The defense held Toussaint (Mr. Halloween) to 27 yards.  Unfortunately, Gardner posted 121 yards to make their offense look presentable.  The wolverines controlled time of possession–a lot of good that did THEM.

Technically, his name translates to All Saint's Day, but close enough to be funny.

Technically, his name translates to All Saint’s Day, but close enough to be funny.

The key stats, which you don’t see above–are the missed/blocked field goals by both teams.  Penn State (read Bill O’Brien) again gambled on fourth and short fairly deep in his own territory–and lost.  But this week, it did not cost us any points directly, as the defense held and forced a punt.  However, it set-up bad field position and THEM eventually added a field goal to go up 10-7.

INTANGIBLES:

Penn State won the toss and deferred.  After fumbling the first possession away, that didn’t work out so well.  THEM won the toss in OT.  Didn’t work out so well for THEM either.

The homecoming crowd numbered 107,884.  Most stayed until the very end.

According to a television announcer I heard, this was the LONGEST game in Big Ten history.

The drum major stuck both flips and the half time show featured the a cappella group, The Statesmen, as well as the Alumni Band.

One of the people in our group wore a THEM jersey (at least it was white!)  He is a student at PSU Altoona.  Don’t ask me.  My daughter brought him.  Some girls bring home dead beat derelicts with tattoos and piercings.  My daughter brought home a THEM fan.  What can I say?  She tells me he is just a friend–not a boyfriend.  So I’ve got that going for me.

Why do opposing fans have to be so obnoxious?  Such as asking all the white-clad PSU fans why they are no longer standing and cheering after the wolverines made a play?  You can’t possibly be THAT stupid, so it must be asked for the sole purpose of being annoying.  My brother-in-law’s friend was behind us, and he asked my daughter’s “friend” what his name was.  After telling him, he said.  “Nice to meet you, ___.  Now shut the [bleep] up.”  He felt sorry, though–he thought he was only thinking it, but he actually said it out loud.  Our win made the trip home much more tolerable, although his tears were annoying at times.

The Goodyear Blimp sailed over Beaver Stadium in a rare appearance.  This must have been a B1G game!

Penn State is 4-3 in OT games, riding a four game winning streak in post-regulation play.

The B1G PICTURE:

The Cornhuskers threshed and thrashed Purdue 44-7.  Michigan State had no problem against the Hoosiers, winning 42-28.  And Wisconsin went all Bret Bielema over Northwestern, running up a 35-6 victory over the Wildcan’ts.

Speaking of Bielema, Arkansas was smothered by South Carolina 52-7.  Schaudenfreude, baby.

Illinois, Iowa, the Suckeyes, and Minnesota were all off.

SHEDDING TEARS:  (plenty to go around this week–“upset” Saturday)

1.  Stanford falls to Utah, 27-21.

2.  Georgia falls to Mizzou 41-26.  Five offensive starters for Georgia were out.  Boo Hoo.  Try playing with 65 scholarships, bulldogs.

3.  Oklahoma lost the Red River Rivalry to Texas, 36-20.

4.  Virginia Tech beat Pitt 19-9.  Oh, wait.  That wasn’t an upset.

5.  Temple (0-6) loses to Cincy 38-20.

6.  Rutgers falls to Louisville 24-10.

7.  Virginia loses to Maryland 27-26.  Hope they missed an extra point! 😉

LOOKING AHEAD:

This is a big one, Billy!

Bye Week.

The Buckeyes at Columbus are on deck.  The Bucks face Iowa next week in Columbus.

This is a big one.  Gotta pull out the old Billy (O’Brien) Baroo.  Oooo, Billy, Billy, Billy.

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Weekly Game Guide: Us versus THEM Edition

For those who have followed this blog, THEM refers to the Wolverines.  That “team Up North” was already taken by Woody Hayes, and from a Penn State point of view, Ann Arbor is Up Northwestern.  And there’s already a Northwestern, so that didn’t make any sense.

Hence, THEM.  As in, THE M.  You know–that big block “M” that marches to the fight song that makes 110,000 idiots pump their fists in the air while yelling about concrete heroes and liters of the best.  They are too sexy for their helmets.  Their helmets have wings.  Like a maxipad.  Whatever.

THEM is favored by 2 over the Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium.  Two weeks ago, I thought this was a pretty sure win.  We seemed to be improving each week.  Our defense seemed capable.  THEM was struggling to beat the likes of Akron and UConn.

But then a funny thing happened on the way to that sure thing.  We played one of our worst games top to bottom of the Bill O’Brien era.  Nothing seemed to go right in Bloomingdale.  I racked my brain to come up with a positive and this is the best I could do:  We didn’t have any serious injuries in a TWENTY point loss to a team that had never beaten us in the history of college football.

Now, I’m not so sure how we’ll handle THEM.  But with a few beers and watching Louisville struggle a bit against Rutgers, I’m confident that we are not in Indiana anymore Toto.

I’m not sure where we’re at, but I do know this . . . WE ARE . . . PENN STATE!

BEAT THEM!
In the Big Ten (favorite noted in parentheses with points):

Michigan State (9 pts.) is favored over the Hoosiers.  Was last week a fluke, or is Indiana that capable?  The Spartans may have a better defense than PSU, but MSU is averaging 21.5 points per game against FBS schools (they scored 55 against Youngstown State that I didn’t include because they are FCS and it didn’t help my argument here.)  I’m leaning toward the Hoosiers on this one.  GO INDIANA!

Nebraska (14.5 pts) is favored over the Boilermakers.  GO BIG RED!

Wisconsin (10 pts.) is favored over Northwestern at Camp Randall.  ON WISCONSIN!

The Illini, Iowa, Minnesota, and the Buckeyes are off this week.

In Games from around the country:

Alabama (27 pts) returns to their old Kentucky home.  ROLL TIDE ROLL.

Can Rutgers beat Louisville tonight?  They’re down by 10 heading into the fourth quarter.  Looks like Papa’s in the house tonight.  The Rutgers QB–Nova?  Shouldn’t he be playing for Villanova?  And doesn’t Nova mean “it doesn’t go” in Spanish?  Hopefully the Cardinals don’t speak Spanish.  I hope Rutgers pulls this out.  After watching the Pirates, I’ve seen way too many happy Cardinals recently.

Maryland take son Virginia (no line.) GO TWERPS!

Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain, takes on Mack Brown’s Texans in Dallas.  GO SOONERS!

LSU (7pts.) plays Florida.  GO GATORS!

Temple (0-5) is playing worse than the Steelers (0-4) at least to this point.  They are 21.5 point dogs to Cincinnati on Friday.  I guess the Owls are hoping for a #1 draft pick next year.

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