I’m writing this off-line, hoping that I will be able to upload it to the blog sometime today. I’m thinking I might have to go to Starbuck’s or Panera or something. It is absolutely amazing how a connectivity deficit such as this changes everything!
OK, so right now I’m sitting in Panera’s parking lot, glomming onto their Wi-Fi from here because I’m too cheap to go in for a sandwich, as my cable broadband connection is kaput and the cable guy cannot get here until “between 1 and 4”, which probably means it will be out until 2011 or so. Thus, I will offer a briefer than usual preview of the Illinois game, to which we’re all looking forward as a test of whether “these guys are for real.”
First, though, I was impressed with the job Oregon State did on USC last night. According to one of my most respected readers, Artificially Sweetened, the Beavers’ victory means that by the Commutative Law of Football, Penn State is better than USC. Will this be reflected in the rankings on Monday? Probably not. While it is always great to see a #1 knocked off by an unranked team, this one seemed particularly sweet because of the big hurt PSU put on Oregon State a few weeks ago.
Jaquizz Rogers racked up 186 yards against the vaunted USC defense. Recall that the depleted Penn State defensive line corralled ‘Quiz pretty well in the Nittany Lions’ rout of Oregon State.
I tuned into the game with 11 minutes left and the Beavers leading 21-14. I wish I had watched it from the beginning.
Our old friend, long-time grudge holder Craig James was up to his usual Penn State hating ways in the aftermath of last night’s game, during the recap by ESPN’s broadcasting team, of which he is regrettably a part. Chris Fowler, the lead announcer, was discussing the implications of USC being knocked off to other aspiring teams. Obviously, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Florida would benefit. Then Fowler asked, “What about Penn State?”
James responded, “What about Wisconsin?”
“Yeah, but Wisconsin didn’t play Oregon State,” said Fowler. “Penn State took them apart!”
“Wisconsin has a heck of a team this year…,” retorted James.
To say that James is a Penn State fan would be akin to saying that Ahmedinejad is a fan of the state of Israel.
Let’s move on to Illinois. They’ve lost Rashard Mendenhall and J Lehman to the NFL, but they still have Juice Williams. They had a great season last year, a phoenix rising from the ashes of a long-time Big Ten whipping boy program to a season capping stint in the Rose Bowl. Mendenhall was responsible for much of their success. The Illini have no replacement for him. However, they still can score points, as they showed in their game against Missouri earlier in the year. They’re coming off a bye week, so they’ll be healed and rested.
Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions are looking more and more “for real.” Last night’s Oregon State performance against USC, just 12 days after USC creamed Ohio State, gives PSU fans the feeling that dear old State is the best of the Big Ten. Not so fast! Let us see how this one plays out. We cannot retroactively declare Oregon State as “a test” now that they’ve finally come together in their own backyard. They were a mess in Beaver Stadium earlier in the season. What I can say is that the Lions are looking more and more like a real team. The offense is replete with sophisticated and effective weaponry—for a change, our offensive geniuses seem to be using the entire field. In spite of the depletion, our defensive line is looking good. It will be even better this week with the return of the Ganja Three Minus One—Evans and Koroma are expected to play, returning from a brief suspension.
With apologies for the less than detailed preview, it is now time for the Official Turkey Poop Prediction. When last I looked, the gambling line favored Penn State by 14 and the over/under was like 57. Gamblers seem to be thinking that lots of points will be scored in this game. This Turkey agrees. However, in Beaver Stadium, the Nittany Lions will prevail, but they won’t cover the spread. Penn State 31, Illinois 24.
We’ll be back after the game—and with any cooperation from the cable guy, it won’t be from Starbuck’s—with our usual insouciant comments. Our guest reporter has bailed out on us, telling the Turkey’s staff that between working on the bailout bill in Washington and having to fly to Mississippi for tonight’s debate, Senator Obama is far too busy multi-tasking to offer us a few words of wisdom about the performance of his home state’s flagship university football squad. Our people are working feverishly to find a replacement.