October 24, 2019

Sparty No

...as in, no, I won't talk about this game until it's over.

As for the Michigan win, I'm probably happier with the performance than many fans. During the game it was stressful as fuck, especially when Michigan answered Penn State's fourth touchdown. That was when I thought "it's happening again." But it didn't.

Penn State finished a game after jumping out to a big lead and watching it melt away. Was Ronnie Bell's drop the difference between winning and losing? Sure, mostly. If Penn State doesn't run up a 21-0 margin, the Nittany Lions probably lose that game, as Michigan had great adjustments that would've been able to overcome a two score deficit.

For the second week in a row, against a ranked opponent, Penn State didn't turn the ball over. That's crazy. Such a young team would surely lose a fumble somewhere, even in garbage time. Sean Clifford even threw a pick against Maryland. The idea that Michigan outgaining Penn State is "Fire Ricky, Fire Pry" bad is ridiculous.

Winning by any method is how a team wins championships. It's purely anecdotal, but Miami outgained Penn State 445-162 in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl, including a 93 plays by the Canes to just 59 for PSU. Just saying... win the game, doesn't matter how. Penn State did that against Michigan. Just shut up and enjoy 7-0.

I'm still not going to talk about the Michigan State game. But I will make my pick: Penn State 23, Sparty 20. I honestly have no fucking clue what's going to happen.

October 17, 2019

You thought last week was important?

Penn State could embarrass Michigan
under the lights... again.
Ok, it really was important. The win at Iowa, the first for a Franklin-coached Penn State team over a ranked opponent on the road, was a big hurdle for the program and its prospects the rest of the season. But if this season were a 110-meter hurdle race, there's still about 70 meters to go, and the rest of the hurdles just get bigger and bigger.

For the second week in a row, I came close on the score prediction. I expected Penn State to put more points on the board. Should have known better.

Moving on to this Saturday night. I won't be there. The pain is real, but I've had to miss big games in the past. Nothing will compare to missing the 2016 Ohio State game. I debated going right up until it was too late to go. Never forgive myself for that one.

All signs point to Penn State over Michigan... big. The trip to Kinnick prepared this very young Penn State team for a dogfight, for which I think they're ready. Michigan looks fragile. The Wolverines got past Iowa, in the Big House, by scoring 10 in the first quarter and riding it out. That will definitely not fly in Beaver Stadium.

As Michigan has struggled all season to find its identity and rhythm, Penn State is now approaching cruising speed. The Nittany Lions were able to overcome a very slow start last week, so anything short of that this week bodes well for the home team. Sean Clifford won't have the same anxiety that showed at Iowa. With Noah Cain emerging as a ball-control beast, the formula seems right for a dominant win. Minimize the turnovers and penalties, and this one could get out of hand quickly.

I just can't imagine Penn State losing this game, at home, in front of a White Out crowd, with GameDay in town, and millions more on TV. The pick: Penn State 45, Michigan 17.

October 10, 2019

Win and get out of Kinnick

No more cheat codes for Penn State against Iowa.
Will it be a big win, or another cardiac episode under the lights of Kinnick Stadium? Predictions almost never come true when Penn State plays Iowa, so I'm just going with a nice comfy blowout. Everything on paper says Penn State should have little issue handling an anemic Iowa offense while having enough firepower to overcome a good Iowa defense. On paper.

Two years ago, on paper, Penn State was in a similar position, with the best two players in recent memory on offense. The Nittany Lions scored 15 points until the last play. And that's what will determine this week's game: Can Penn State score often and force Iowa to do the same? I think so.

If Penn State scores less than 28 points, I can't imagine this being a smooth ride. What I fear most is that PSU jumps out to a big lead like they did last week vs Purdue (which I actually came close on the score prediction!), then get shut down the rest of the way. Iowa lives for those moments. The Hawkeyes let you feel good about how things are going, then slowly, methodically carve your heart out with a spoon.

For all the talk about how Penn State hasn't played anybody yet, here's the chance to show what this team is capable of. Beating bad or mediocre teams by respectable margins is what a good team does, but it could end up just being a paper tiger when it plays a night game in Kinnick.

The pick: Penn State 29, Iowa 13

October 4, 2019

On LawnBoyz, White Shoes, and Purdue

You can get this in a few shirt styles.
Buy one for the White Out vs Michigan.
Last weekend was a case where I'm glad I was wrong. It was the most complete game I've seen this team play since James Franklin took over, possibly since well before that. Sean Clifford, despite the pick, is showing us one of the reasons Tommy Stevens transferred. It's a great way for this team to enter the Big Ten schedule.

In victory, particularly when it's that dominant, fans choose to get upset over things that might be obscured somewhat if the team stunk. This time it was the LawnBoyz chain the running backs wear after good plays. I love it. I made it into a shirt (I'm not the only one) and you should buy one. But many other fans who are mostly the "I'm not racist, but..." types, had a big problem with it, including that the chain was "ghetto." We know what that really means, and those people can suck it.

Then came the Generations of Greatness uniforms for this week vs Purdue. Overall I like the throwback mashups they do, but for the white cleats. I hate them on any team. Seeing them on Penn State is of course going to annoy me. Plenty of fans love the look, and the players do, too.

I'd caution them to chill out when attacking people like me who don't like the white shoes as if we're the same group as those who don't like the LawnBoyz chain. We aren't. Most of the people I've seen who don't like the white shoes say it's purely aesthetic reasons. That's the camp I'm in. I also don't like that they're wearing them to "honor" the 1979 Sugar Bowl team. Let Bama honor that team.

If Penn State wants to wear white cleats, fine. But don't do it under the veil of honoring a team that lost the biggest game to that point in Penn State football history. Just make some alternate uniforms and wear white shoes that way.

I'm still waiting for the truly great throwback design--pinks and blacks. Give me them, and you can have your white shoes.

As for this week, I'm assuming Penn State will win comfortably. Without Rondale Moore, Elijah Sindelar, and others, Purdue can hope to scare the home team a bit, but pulling the upset would be too much for such a depleted starting lineup.

The pick: Penn State 38, Purdue 14