#12 Nittany Lions (3-0, 0-0) at Maryland Terrapins (2-1, 0-0)
When Henry David Thoreau withdrew to remote, bucolic Walden Pond to contemplate life, he wrote that “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation…” He went on to say that they die with dreams unfulfilled.
Why the hell am I invoking Thoreau? Probably because he was on my mind due to some schmuck in our bear-managed community having posted on Facebook, “civil disobedience is a right.” Thoreau wrote an essay on that subject, too, although he did so in connection with slave issues in New England in the 1840s, not bear loving ladies in the entitled
Or maybe it isn’t. Will Maryland merely serve as Cupcake #4, playing to lose as they did in the Temple game, or will they bring their
I’m in a bullshit mood this week. I’m sure I’ll get to the game eventually. (Won’t I?) When I do, I’ll look at some comparisons through the first three games. Any notion of superiority might evaporate before your very eyes, but not if you’re a Sanguinarian.
K John’s Secret Dream
(not so secret anymore)
Before I get into the game (which will never happen if the gross digressions don’t cease), will K John’s secret dream of sending James Franklin to USC be fulfilled? K John has predicted that Franklin won’t bring Penn State to the FBS title game, but his successor will. So he’s anxious to bring in the successor. Am I one who shares the feeling that last year’s big six-year contract extension was a mistake? Why, yes! Yes, I am. I’m also tired of offensive schemes that don’t work — even when playing cupcakes, the
How about a package deal? Lynn Swann, the AD at USC, lost his job due to the great Admission-for-Bucks Scandal in L.A. As the AD who was anointed to lead Penn State out of its own scandal, Sandy Barbour would be a perfect fit as Swann’s replacement! Let’s make a deal: Barbour and Franklin for O.J.’s jersey, two minor league draft choices, and an undisclosed cash settlement. Alas, Sandy might be barred from California due to the stadium cost overruns at Cal during her tenure. I suppose the political climate at USC is not ripe for yet another controversy. (While they’re a private school, so presumably they can do what they want, they really can’t. Like all institutions of higher learning, they are beholden to benefactors and to the almighty virtual endowment through which the Federal Government keeps their stranglehold on higher edumacation, as it were).
OK, let’s hear it for Friday night games!
Yeah, I can remember not too long ago when James “almost a Trojan” Franklin uttered the famous last words, “Playing on Friday nights is not in our best interest.” (Or something like that. I’m too lazy to look it up). So, fast-forward a couple of milliseconds and what do we have? A Friday night game.
To quote my blogging colleague, Dr. Todd A. Sponsler, a PSU MD (1990), proprietor of The Lion’s Den, “My God, our team isn’t ready to play at noon on a Saturday. How in the name of Mother Mary and Joseph V. Paterno are they going to be ready to play on a Friday night????” I wish he could write a prescription to assuage “that dullard look,” the perfect characterization of a team that ain’t ready.
So, yeah, ready or not, the Nittany Lions are playing an away game on Friday night. K John will be in attendance, so we can expect a critical review of the Lions’ efficacy (or lack of same) sometime soon.
Whose Cupcake Schedule is More Daunting?
First game: Maryland beats Howard 79-0; PSU beats Idaho 79-7.
Second game: Maryland whacks #21 Syracuse 63-20; PSU harpoons Idaho 45-13.
Third game: Maryland screws up, losing at Temple 20-17, while Penn State narrowly averts embarrassment, beating Pitt 17-10 at home.
Don’t those three-game records look eerily similar, already? So, like, let’s look at the stats through three games:
Points per game: Maryland is better by six points, 53-47.
Points allowed: PSU is better by 3.3, 10.0 vs 13.3.
Total yards: Maryland 537.7, PSU 473.0.
Yards allowed: Maryland 298.3, PSU 323.3.
And now, let us cast our eyes upon third-down conversions and third-down conversion defense. In conversions, Maryland is head-and-shoulders above Penn State, 44.9% to 23.3%; defending on third-down, Maryland allows 23.9% vs. Penn State’s 29.6%. Get the picture?
What Am I Not Seeing?
Those numbers speak for themselves. For each of Friday’s combatants, their resume includes t
So, you say, Pitt went on to beat UCF for the first time in Godknowshowmany seasons. Suspension of disbelief over “the Pitt Special” notwithstanding, you assert the football transitivity logical fallacy. Keep talking. I ain’t listening. My assessment of our team has nothing to do with football transitivity or any of that pseudo-analytical bullshit. It is strictly pulled straight out of my ass!
And I’m saying these two are pretty even going into this game. Disagree? Prove it!
So what will this game prove? Probably nothing. Barring a loss in Maryland (which could easily happen) or a loss to Purdue, we might have to wait for October 12th’s game at Iowa to see what the Lions are made of. I’m waffling again, I know.
Da Wedda in Maryland
It looks like fine football weather in College Park, with an afternoon high of 81 and an overnight low of 62. The game will be played under the lights, as the sun sets approximately an hour before kickoff. No precipitation in sight, according to Da Wedda
Da Bottom Line
Do we know enough to predict this game? Maybe you do, but I still haven’t seen enough. I suppose many people are banking on something similar to last year’s 38-3 rout at the Big Beave, which was Trace McSorley’s home field swan song. In fact, the Lions have won the last four times these teams have met. But things have changed. State has a new QB and a new running back committee led by Journey Brown (this week), while the Terps have a new QB and a new, offense-minded head coach.
If Penn State cannot fix its third-down woes, this game is in jeopardy. They’ll also have to contain Anthony McFarland, which is no small feat. I’m thinking special teams play might be the difference between the two teams. I’m still queasy about predictions, but I’ll venture one just for the hell of it.
We’re looking at a 6.5-point spread and an o/u of 60. That suggests a break-even result of 33-27, in favor of the Nittany Lions. Since nobody knows enough to assess these two, I’m not going to rely on the betting public for any clues from people who might know more than I do and are putting their money where their mouths are. That’s because I think we’re all in the same boat right about now. I’m going for the under, and I’m looking at a final score of 27-24, Penn State. And, yes, that’s pretty much straight out of my ass.
I’ll be back after the game with some impertinent, yet assailable comments.