You asked for it. You got it.
We gonna get right to it. Writing is therapeutic for me, but reading it can be painful for you, my wonderful and elite six readers! The 2020 Penn State football season schedule has been announced, and here it is (with comments, of course):
On October 24, the season kicks off at Memorial Stadium in Indiana. Talk about starting big! I don’t know what the Covid-19 rules will be for Memorial Stadium, but they don’t need rules to tell fans to stay away. They do it on their own.
Hallowe’en (October 31) finds the Schmuckeyes wearing the costumes of football players when they ghoulishly descend on Big Beave. The Nittany Lions will be dressed in plain blue and white, never being one to dress fancily. Ohio State is, as usual, the best regarded of Penn State’s opponents, having been ranked #2 nationally in pre-season polls.
And what could be a better follow-up to a victory over the most wellest regarded contender in the Big-10? Why, Maryland, of course. Who’s the coach there, anyway? Anyhow, this contrived “rivalry” takes place on home turf on November 7. We’ll know who our next President will be by then (or not).
The former football team known as Nebraska hosts Penn State on November 14 in the winds and snows of the Great Plains. This should be a great, plain game between the Nittany Lions and Small Red.
Returning home on November 21, the day after my birthday, the Nittany Lions host the Iowa Hawkeyes. Always interesting twists and turns in the Iowa game, with memories of 6-4 always at the ready for storytelling fans. I have a note on my calendar to change my air conditioners’ filters. I don’t know which will be more exciting — that or the game.
To the Big House on November 28. Happy Thanksgiving! This should be a snowy post-Turkey Day event where this Turkey feels relieved as a Thanksgiving survivor for yet another year. I don’t know what to think of Michigan this year, but I’m certain to develop an opinion by then.
We’re not supposed to have any BYE weeks in this Eight Plus One Schedule, but the Big Ten scheduling gods favored us with one anyway — at Rutgers on December 5.
Back home to host the D’Antonioless Spartans of Moo U (our original non-rivalry game), for the “regular season” finale on December 12, if they can find Beaver Stadium under the snow. It is our hope that the obnoxious Land Grant Trophy stays at Penn State, but gets mangled by a snow plow so it can be replaced with something more esthetically pleasing.
And then, there will be a “Plus One” game with the equally-ranked team from the West Division on December 19. Venue uncertain. They’ll figure out how to determine the home team by then. I don’t know how this will work out, or what it will mean. Might just be a ninth game to make up for lost TV revenue.
Anyhow, that is it! What are your thoughts?
Big Al says
Despite my best efforts to get excited about this season, I basically don’t GAF. This season seems meaningless since the composition of the teams can (and probably will) change drastically from week to week because of COVID. Winning the conference will depend more on luck than performance.
I wish the season would start with a cupcake like Rutgers or Maryland instead of Indiana, but other than that it seems fairly decent. Getting the Schmuckeyes in the 2nd week is probably better getting than playing them in the 6th week when their more talented but less experienced players have adjusted to their roles. State doesn’t play back to back road games, the games against tOSU and Michigan are broken up, and we don’t have to play Wisconsin.
Nevertheless, I think the B1G screwed up by not starting a week earlier and including a bye week. There ARE going to be cancelled games and there’s a real risk that the conference champion won’t play enough games to qualify for the playoffs. And the ninth game is kind of stupid – nobody’s going to want to watch that game. It’s too close to Christmas. And if the B1G stays committed to the using the end of season standings to determine the match ups there are going to be meaningless repeats of regular season games – such as a 2nd Penn State – Iowa game.
Belated congratulations on your marriage. Also Shanah Tova.
The Nittany Turkey says
Pardon the belated response. I’ve been busier’n a cat tryin’ to hide shit on a sidewalk.
I understand your not Ging a F. The bright shining first-rounder hope, Micah Parsons, has issued a definitive “no way”, so the one guy who could put on a superior show will be working out with the NFL in mind, and not us. Even so, the crappy abbreviated schedule and no fans makes it pretty borrrrrrring. I (and I think, the players) managed to get up for the NHL’s truncated season, but I think the Stanley Cup Playoffs are indeed the most exciting and demanding tournament in pro sports. Playing for nothing but a ninth instance of TV revenue sort of screws the pooch for me, too. (See K. John’s post below for a realistic assessment of what our “Plus One” game will be).
Thanks for the wishes! I got through the fast in good shape (piece of cake since I lost 75 pounds).
Michael H. Geldner says
I think it will be good to have the teams on the field actively competing. I agree with Big Al that what happens with the spread of COVID-19 and the potential availability of a vaccine at some time in the near future could keep the situation very volatile.
As far as the schedule and outcome for the season is concerned, I don’t think it matters very much because of the extraordinary circumstances. I’m just going to enjoy the play and not worry about winners and championships.
The Nittany Turkey says
I don’t know whether the play will be worth watching, particularly when the Nits have to deal with Rutgers and Maryland. I remember being embarrassed out of my shorts in Chicago last year watching the Rutgers game with Jenny’s relatives. Unfortunately, I would expect to see some less than superb efforts this year due to the circumstances, no fans in the stands, etc. HOWEVER, watching Ciarocca’s offense might be enough to spark my interest.
The Steelers game with the Titans on Sunday is being postponed to Monday or Tuesday due to four new positives for Covid-19 on the Titans team and staff, for a total of nine. I can’t figure out why they’re less contagious on a Monday or a Tuesday, but nevah mind…
K. John says
On one hand, I think this is a lost season for everyone. I don’t see the point in a post-season. Historically, it will be treated like a strike shortened season in baseball. Who cares? Not me, that is for sure. On the other hand, it is good they are out there playing.
Based on what I have seen so far from other teams, those that rely developing players and good old fashion Xs and Os are going to have a season to remember, whereas, those that don’t, won’t. Under Franklin, we fall into the later while a good number of teams on the schedule fall into the former.
If we get to .500 during the first eight games of a meaningless season, I’ll be happy. Right now, I am penciling in losses to Ohio State, Iowa and Michigan. Ohio State mostly gets by on talent but puts more into development than we do. Iowa is Iowa. They get who they get, they coach them up and put them into a position to win.
Michigan is more balanced. They recruit well and develop well but player turnover remains a problem. It is awfully hard to do what Harbaugh wants to do offensively when you lose four players on that side of the ball every year. This is the my predicted loss that I am least confident in.
Nebraska is trending up and could be in for a huge leap but are still two years away. I think the Spartans are going to turn a lot of heads. The defense is still loaded and has decent continuity. The offense has some horses as well. I have them both as coin flips and Indiana is close to one. Maryland and Rutgers are easy.
Overall, I think we’ll go 0 for 3 against Ohio State, Michigan and Iowa. 2 and 1 against Nebraska, Michigan State and Indiana and 2 and 0 against Rutgers and Maryland finishing 4 and 4 setting up a game against 3 and 5 Northwestern in the plus one, assuming I understand how it works.
The Nittany Turkey says
I’ll tell you what, K. John. For not being interested in the season, you’ve sure as hell done a detailed mind-analysis!
I doubt that we’ll get back to Xs and Os, especially on offense with a new OC. He’s going to want to play with his newfound offense. Could be interesting. On the other hand, it could be just another thing to forget from what will be an eminently forgettable season.
I can neither agree nor disagree with your prognostication. However, I did see someone post Franklin’s dismal stats against tOSU, Michigan, and Michigan State on Facebook, which made me cringe. He just ain’t that strong against real teams. Whether Ciarocca changes any of that, time will tell, but not during this wasted season.
I think 4-4 is reasonable, though. I think 6-2 is probably the best they can hope for, but the downside is endless. Hard not to beat Maryland and Rutgers, but they did such a crappy job with Rutgers last year that I’m not ready to call even Rutgers an automatic win.
The “Plus One” game is milking TV revenue, and as Big Al stated, it’s around Christmas so the only fans who will give a shit are those who play the top game, most likely tOSU and pick one of Wisconsin or Iowa. I agree with you that Nebraska is a work in process that better solidify before the bloom is off the rose for Scott Frost.
I guess another reason for the ninth game is to impress the CFP, who no doubt are being lobbied fiercely by the B10 for inclusion of their cham-peen. Another potential three games with nationwide coverage is a lot of TV moolah to slaver over. With ticket sales out the window this year, they are all clamoring for every nickel they can find.
K. John says
I am still going to watch every game I can, I just don’t necessarily care about the outcome as much. If we lose to Ohio State I’ll be annoyed. If we lose to Michigan I’ll be very mad. Anyone else? Meh.
I do like Ciarocca quite a bit and think the offense will improve due to new coaching. However, I think he is fighting with one hand tied behind his back this year. If you look at his history, what he wants to do offensively is very different than what we did under Moorhead. He is a lot closer to Bill O’Brien in terms of philosophy and implementation than what we have seen recently regardless of what Franklin has to say about it. I think we’ll see something more similar to what we saw last year out of necessity, partly due to time constraints but also schedule constraints and the fact that Franklin staff continues to whiff on receivers left and right despite giving that position priority each and every year.