OK, guys, fess up—who got this Penn State season right and who went down in flames?
For a change, this Turkey was right on the money with his season forecast as expressed in “The Long Road Ahead” last August. Bragging rights accrue to the Nittany Turkey. To the victor belongs the spoils.
My regular season won-loss prediction was 7-5, right on the old beameroonie. I wrote that that record would be good enough for a fourth place finish in the Big Ten. Lo and behold, it was so! I successfully predicted the losses to Alabama, Iowa, Ohio State, and Michigan State; however I slightly fumbled the ball when I predicted that the remaining loss would be to either Michigan or Northwestern instead of lowly Illinois.
I incorrectly predicted that McGloin would be the starter for the Youngstown State game because I felt that Bolden and Newsome were in no way ready to play. I suppose the coaches had to wait for a while to figure that one out for themselves. They didn’t bother to ask me.
I predicted that Joe Paterno would get his 400th—all right, I know this one was a mathematical slam-dunk—and I expressed doubt about whether reaching that number would induce him to retire. He got to 401, and he ain’t retiring, at least for now.
Then, I jokingly wrote that the Lions would turn down a Motor City Bowl Bid, then added that they were likely to get a warm weather bowl due to their huge following who bring big bucks. Chances are that they’ll be invited to the Gator Bowl (or perhaps the Outback Bowl, in view of Iowa’s tragic loss to Minnesota), so that waffle looks good, too.
I expressed concern about the linebackers, which didn’t take a genius. Mauti proved to be worthy of Linebacker U., but none of the others impressed me. Neither was a savant necessary to predict troubles for the offensive line, which I felt would hinder both the running and passing game. For some reason, though, the pass protection wasn’t absolutely awful, but the run blocking was abysmal.
On the other hand, I didn’t mention the defensive line at all in my prognostication. I thought it would be solid. I had expected a big year from Jack Crawford, at least. No such luck. The defensive line struggled. The whole front seven struggled and tackling was Pop Warnerish. The McCabe sisters could have wrapped up people better than Colisanti and Gbdayu.
I thought punting would be an issue after the crappy punting performance at the Blue White game. On the contrary, Anthony Fera was pretty effective most of the year, both punting and kicking off. This was a pleasant surprise. It is a shame that he had the emergency appendectomy and subsequent complications, which ended his year prematurely.
The only two things I completely failed to predict were the Stanley/Redd Double Urinegate and the Jenn Sterger/Brett Favre fiasco. Who woulda known? Epic fail, man.
I called this a mediocre Penn State year, and I think you’ll all agree that that’s what it was. After the sad homecoming debacle of the Illinois game, it looked like all was lost and many didn’t believe that the Nittany Lions would win another game during the remainder of the year. However, hope was restored after the Michigan win. Then it looked bleak again after blowing the 14-3 lead to Ohio State. Just goes to show you that you’re never as bad as you seem to be when you lose, and you’re never as good as you think you are when you win. I believe that the boys did as well as could be expected this year and further, I think this team has a lot of potential to do good things next year, especially if McGloin remains the starting QB. So I’m going to congratulate them on giving us some good memories this year, even if they’re not the greatest Penn State team to ever tie on the cleats.
And to the seniors, thanks for the thrills you’ve given us through the years and good luck with your futures, in football and beyond!
I haven’t recapped the Michigan State game yet. I’ll do that in a subsequent post. It’s late and I don’t want to rush through it, being my last chance at biting commentary for the regular season. Speaking of Moo U., I predicted that they would win at least 10 games this season. They won 11. Hey? Huh? Give it up for the Turkey, who really doesn’t get to brag all that often.
Hope you all had a happy and safe Thanksgiving weekend!