The Nittany Turkey returns for another interesting Penn State football season, his sixtieth year of Penn State fanhood and his twentieth year of blogging about it. Well, I’m sorta returning. The posts might be sporadic due to an ill-timed, out-of-town, September event that I must attend because I am an officer in the organization, and I also run a sub-event there, besides. The event occurs during mid-summer most years, but beggars can’t be choosers. It involves a road trip, and it subsequently provides an opportunity to visit some friends and see some other scenery, which stretches it out to a couple of weeks. Preparation for the event and the trip have compromised my drivel-writing time, so I’m just getting around to looking at the season ahead. I’ll write something about the WVU game, but not about the Blue Hens and the Illiniweks. When you’re an old fart going on seventy-seven, you take your opportunities as you see them, and you arrange your priorities accordingly. Warning: rampant digressions ahead!
Eight O’Clock Saturday Classes
Reminiscing with a friend who is a fellow Penn Stater of my vintage recently, the conversation turned to Saturday classes at Penn State. I recalled my Fall Term 1964 Speech 200 class, which was an eight o’clock. Imagine even waking up in time for a boring speech class on a Saturday morning at PSU! Fortunately, the class was in the Wagner Building, right across the street from the brand-new East Halls, where I resided. I’m certain that you can imagine the speeches that the class and its intrepid instructor, Mr. Burns, had to endure! Sobering up by then was impossible, especially on football Saturdays. It got worse. In the Winter Term that year, my Saturday 8:00 was in the Hammond Building, a two-mile march through the snow. Sobering, indeed — if I showed up!
Shout-Out to The Lion’s Den
But I digress! Todd Sponsler of The Lion’s Den woke me up with a Facebook post about kicking off his blog for the year, so I thought I would do the same. Like his, this post is saying hello to old friends who are still alive and kicking and any new friends who are looking for relaxing, albeit sometimes bombastic, prose about Dear Old State and its Culture of Football. We don’t pretend to be experts here, just some guys getting together for some football bullshit and otherwise shared Penn State interests. Check out Todd’s blog, too. He’s an Altoona ophthalmologist who is a DEVOUT Nittany Lions fan with a lot to offer and always an opinion. You know what they say about opinions… Todd’s season opening post draws an uncanny parallel between Penn State Football and the HBO Max series Succession. Anyhow, I provide a link because although Todd’s blog has been around for a lonnnnnnnng time, his lack of search engine presence makes him a needle in a haystack because he chose such a ubiquitous moniker.
Eccentric as Todd might be, he’s a survivor. Other PSU blogs have come and gone, but two kindred old farts who sometimes write about nothing have survived over twenty-years to continue blowing our drivel at you, which will continue until we take the great, celestial dirt nap. A blog about nothing? Hell, yeah, it worked for Seinfeld! (If I lost 100 lbs, I might look like Larry David).
Summer TV Binge-Watching
Speaking of Succession, for our summer TV watching, Artificially Sweetened and Your Turkey have been binge-watching all eight seasons of Suits. Highly engaging — high finance and legal maneuvering with soap opera overtones — and the detestable Duchess of SusSEX, besides! Ew! During last summer’s TV drought, we binged all the seasons of Game of Thrones. So, Todd, I’ll see your Succession and raise you a GoT with a Suits in the hole. Wait, who’s talking about holes? Clean it up!
But, but, but, what about football?
Oops, I digressed again. West Virginia looms next weekend and I am unprepared. I hope the Nittany Lions are in better shape than I am, because although not much is expected of WVU this year, the turnover on the Penn State team, both on the field and on the sidelines, will demand superior organization skills and discipline to be ready for September 2. I came here to talk about that game, but I am ill prepared, so, in the Joisey vernacular, alls I can say is that I am wary, and I believe the outcome will depend on who is better prepared. If we ain’t got all dem ducks in a row, fuggedaboudit!
Now that was certainly uninformed bullshit! But uninformed bullshit is my specialty here!
The season ahead
Some are saying that this season looks like nine or ten wins. They ALWAYS say that. Pre-season rankings are bullshit. Who gives a flying fuck if some clowns claiming to be “sports journalists” (an oxymoron if there ever was one), who use the present tense to describe future events want to waste their otherwise useless time concocting pro-forma pecking orders? (If you don’t know it by now, the current vogue sportstalk elimination of the future tense is an abomination that I despise. Stoopid grammatical crap like that drives my Aspy ass up the wall). Anyhow, they’re saying “Penn State wins 9-10 games this year,” not Penn State will win 9-10 games this year.” BFD. Get over it. OK, I will. If you can’t fight ’em, join ’em!
I say Penn State wins fewer than nine games this year — if West Virginia wins the opener. How does WVU, a much inferior team in the minds of the PSU homeys, aka, the Sanguinarians, pull off the win? (OOPS — I almost wrote “How WILL WVU pull off the win. Not good. Not using vogue sportswriter bullshit grammar. Slap on the wrist! Oy vey!). I don’t know but let’s say West Virginia wins. (Wait, we could try the subjunctive there: “Were West Virginia to win…” Not a chance! Let’s blow some bad grammar!). We can then posit that the setback plus the ill-preparedness that got them there will influence the rest of the season for the Nittany Lions. Everybody factors in tOSU and Michigan as hard-wired losses, and then they say Penn State loses one more. Or half a game more. I say, lose to West Virginia and you have a six- to eight-win season ahead. But the season ahead is all present tense. Penn State wins one here and one there, Penn State loses one here and one there, the season comes, the season goes, and when all is said and done, Penn State goes to a Bowl Game. The Toilet Bowl in Kohler, WI or the Orange Bowl in Miami, as 247 Sports predicts (the kings of bad sportstalk grammar)? No one knows until the season ends.
In the next poorly expressed scenario, Penn State beats West Vagina in the opener, and then they easily knock off the Blue Hens, but beware the Bulimia Boys! I think Bret will has (I couldn’t use the present here, because it would be confusing, so I invented a new tense) his Illiniweks primed and poised. No guaranteed win there. The Nits beat WVU and I can see a potential nine-game winning season, maybe, perhaps, peradventure. On the other hand, Iowa is ranked #25 in the bullshit pre-season polls, but they’re always tough, although we play them in St. Joe Memorial Stadium at Beaver Field this year. So, beat WVU and I’m going to say a minimum of eight wins. We can at least count on Delaware, Northwestern, UMass, Indiana, and Rutgers as sure things. Maryland and Moo U. are not assured. The Lions play at home against Iowa and Michigan, and travel to the Horseshoe for tOSU. The season ends away at Moo U. where the weather and history tell us it could go either way, although the Spartans are currently in perpetual “rebuilding mode.”
I’ll close this opening post by welcoming back my six readers who I hope are alive, well, and financially afloat. I look forward to another fun season of Penn State Football! Go State!
(I’ll be back next week with a preview of the Mountainqueers — ahhh, the return of a good old rivalry where we used to get our asses kicked repeatedly and mercilessly!)