Dum de dum dum!
The #18 Nittany Lions travel to Tuscaloosa to face off with the #1 Crimson Tide Saturday in a 7 PM nationally televised game we’ve all been looking forward to for years. Oh, yes yes yes, finally a non-conference game with a worthy opponent! (As if the likes of Oregon State are not worthy.) So many Penn Staters are out there licking their chops for this one. The clock cannot move fast enough between now and Saturday night.
Why, then, do I have this somewhat sinking feeling of anticlimactitude?
Because I’m the Nittany Turkey, and don’t you forget it!
In Cosellian terminology, this writer tells it like it is. If you can’t take the heat, then get the hell out of the kitchen. We call a spade a spade here, and we’ve got a whole deck of them. If they were tarot cards, they would all be the Hierophant.
What the hell is he talking about?
I’m saying that this is going to be a beat-down, and it’s going to be a bad one. Those of you who are looking for a miracle season, please bring your barf bags. It ends here. (But you perennial optimists will say that the Nittany Lions can still compete for the Still Somewhat Mythical National Championship (SSMNC) with an 11-1 record. Hahahhahhahaha.) Those of you who, like this Turkey, have more reasonable expectations—I predicted a 7-5 year and an appearance at the Toilet Bowl in Kohler, Wisconsin—will be able to sit back and enjoy the show. View it as an opportunity to see how much strength of character your team has while going down in flames. View it as an opportunity to home in on all the weaknesses of the offensive, defensive, and special squads. View it as an all-out mind battle between focused and astute coaching staffs. View it as a learning experience. View it as anything but a victory. Because it won’t be, not by a longshot.
But that’s why they play the game, right?
Yeah, sure. That’s why Temple comes to Beaver Stadium every year. Just in case the Nittany Lions forget to show up, they’re ready to claim the victory. Otherwise, they’ll claim their fat paycheck and go home happy.
This is not to suggest that PSU is going to Tuscaloosa for the paycheck. No, I’m just saying they’ve got about as much chance of winning as Temple has against them. They’ll play their asses off. They’ll still lose.
“I do my ivory hunting down south,
because in Alabama, the Tuscaloosa.”
I looked at a breakdown in Blue-White Illustrated. They gave the advantage to the Tide in all categories except special teams, where it was a toss-up. That’s pretty much the way I feel about it, except that the special teams haven’t yet played under such adverse circumstances as they’ll face in Tuscaloosa. It would be great to see Chaz Powell running back a few kickoffs for 100 yards, as unlikely as that seems, although the more kickoffs he fields, the more chances there’ll be (and I get the feeling that PSU will be fielding a lot of kickoffs). Anthony Fera, by the way, has punted exactly once in his college career, a 45-yarder against incompetent Youngstown State. He’ll have quite a few more opportunities to punt on Saturday, and his coverage unit better be good.
So, the chances of winning are slim and none. However, just in case I’ve driven you to the brink of buying a ticket to San Francisco so you can jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, here’s a nice post by an optimist, Bill Kline of the Nittany Line, giving us five ways the Nittany Lions can win. Read it and come back for more pessimism from me—or stay there until you stop laughing, if you want. Come back next week and we’ll get serious about Kent State, if you’ve had all the Turkey you can take for this week. Anyhow, here’s my armchair analysis. [Read more…]