Week after week, I write about the poor results of this team, yet in the back of my mind I am always telling myself that there is hope. I have just about reached my limit. I can’t keep beating my gums about good performances by the defense and lousy performances by the offense. There aren’t enough thesauruses to give me the descriptive words for yet another loss. So, today, I’ll be talking more about the underlying problem—a very stubborn head coach.
I won’t be talking much about the Ohio State game, because it isn’t really worth talking about. For the record, the Nittany Lions lost it 21-10, to drop to 2–6 overall and 0–5 in the Big Ten. What I will say is that the defense turned in another good performance, actually giving up only one touchdown—and that touchdown was set up by our crappy special teams allowing a 62-yard kickoff return. The other two touchdowns were not attributable to the D-fence: a punt return and a Michael Robinson interception. So, kudos to the defense.
Before the game, I predicted that if Ohio State—who had been pretty anemic this season—would put up more than 10 points, the Lions wouldn’t be able to outscore them. Damned if I wasn’t accurate with that one!
OK, where is this week’s column going? This turkey is going to risk taking buckshot up the ass, because he’s going to be bashing a veritable untouchable icon of pristine college football beneficence and glory, our own Joe Paterno.
What in the hell was the PSU administration thinking when it rewarded Joe’s three losing seasons in four years with a four-year extension of his megabucks contract? Was it seen as a reward for past performance with little promise of future efficacy? Was it designed to match Bobby Bowden’s coach-for-life deal at Florida State? The Nittany Turkey, along with great flocks of PSU boosters, fans, former fans, students, players, prospective recruits, sports announcers and sports writers, etc., etc., etc., finds this action by the University Gods completely unfathomable.
This team is arguably the most talented group of underachievers we have ever had, yet it is destined to wind up with the worst record.
When I lived in the Bahamas, I picked up a Bahamian expression: “The fish stinks from the head.” Joe must go!
Some web sites are being developed with the aim of advancing this cause. For even more vitriolic diatribe than I am capable of and links to more of the same, take a good look at the official “Fire JoePa” site. Another, smoother looking site with the same intent but which is not yet completely developed will be www.firejoepaterno.com. If you want to provide any material, the site gives an email address for submissions. I’m sure there will be other, similar sites popping up in the coming weeks and into the off-season. I would appreciate you, my faithful readers (both of you) letting me know about any that you come across.
In the meanwhile, another Joe from Pennsylvania suggests that season ticket holders boycott the final home game of the season. He regrets having signed a contract for the expensive club seats, and he has informed his season ticket representative that he will take whatever legal steps are necessary to break the contract on the grounds of non-performance of a tacit assurance of product quality. The Nittany Turkey supports his boycott initiative. The administration needs to be hit between the eyes with a 2 x 4 with a rusty nail sticking out. Something’s gotta give. JoePa should step down before the noose tightens around his neck.
Leave with your dignity intact (almost), Joe!
Looking forward, there’s nothing to look forward to. Northwestern has shown that it belongs in the middle of the Big Ten pack this year while we battle with Illinois and Indiana for the bargain basement. Looks like another home loss. We haven’t won on the road since 2002, and that was against Indiana, whom we play on the road after Northwestern. That would normally be a good sign, but not this year. That game is shaping up to the the Battle of the Lilliputians. Indiana, however, at least has one win in the Big Ten. Our final game, at home, will be lightly attended—with no disrespect meant toward our opponent, Michigan State, who just narrowly lost to Big Ten leader Michigan in triple overtime. Count that one as a loss, too, with the spartan crowd (pun intended) booing through most of the game.
I think I might want to start writing about the Steelers again. After all, when their starting quarterback went down with an injury in their second game, their risk-taking coach, Bill Cowher, decided to replace him with a raw, untested rookie, Ben Roethlisberger. Although he took his lumps in that game with the Ravens in which Tommy Maddox was injured, Roethlisberger was given the interim starting job for the next game. Cower took a chance on a highly recruited, first round draft pick. A rookie. An NFL freshman. (See any parallels?) Well, Roethlisberger has gone on to win his first five starts, the most recent one, a convincing victory over the vaunted New England Patriots. He is now the leading candidate for rookie of the year. Cowher made himself look like a genius by putting his faith in a young quarterback, even though people such as All-Pro tackle Alan Faneca made negative comments about not liking to be led by “some young kid” right out of college. Now, Big Ben leads and the team follows.
So, what’s there to lose if Joe starts highly recruited Anthony Morelli? If he doesn’t start Morelli, what will be lost is one year of eligibility, which was blown by his two appearances in early games this year. Come on, Joe, we can’t get any worse than we already are. Are you afraid that you’ll permanently traumatize the kid if he throws an interception or something? Jesus H. Christ, is he going to become less fragile in a year? Are you afraid that he won’t remember the playbook? So what? Even if he developed total amnesia, we couldn’t screw up any worse than we do now. If Morelli is the quarterback of the future, get him some game experience now before he becomes another Jeff Hostetler and bolts to West Virginia. (I won’t mention John Sacca. Oops, just did!)
That will wrap it up for this frustrating week. This anguished turkey will pop out of the roaster for more increasingly cynical comments after the loss to Northwestern. See you all next week!