Da Big House’s Latest “Game of the Century”
The Big House: that’s what state and federal prisons were referred to in old gangster movies, back in the days when gangsters wore suits, not droopy shorts exposing their boxer-clad asses. Focus, Turkey! We ain’t talking about getting sent up da river (that one referred to going to the New York State Penitentiary at Ossining, better known as Sing-Sing). Nay, mateys, we’re talking about Michigan Stadium at Ann Arbor, 50 miles from yet another gangsta capital.
That’s what the entire football world will be watching this weekend, as #5 Michigan hosts mighty #10 Penn State, in a battle of Big Ten East unbeatens. After this weekend there will be only two unbeaten so-called schools, better known as semi-pro teams loosely affiliated with universities, in the division. #2 Ohio State has a bye, so the only thing that will be beaten there is “the meat”. I don’t want to keep you in suspense, so I’ll hit you with it right at the top: Michigan will remain unbeaten after this week.
Lead with Your Chin
Sure, the Sanguinarians® are clinging to their hopes for a perfect Penn State season, as they have done since 1995 to no avail. For the past twenty-eight years, the bubble has always burst for them; sometimes early, sometimes tormentingly late. Last year and this year will be similar for the Nittany Lions. Last year, the Lions went into the Iowa game undefeated and ranked #4 to Iowa’s #3. Penn State lost and started a downward slide that saw them lose five of the remaining seven games. This year? Well, I think after losing to Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio State, they’ll fare a little better. Perhaps they’ll lose only three games after Michigan, finishing 8-4. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
Yes, I know, Sanguinarians (Sangs, for short)! The games are yet to be played and anything can happen.
Anything WILL happen. It’s just that you probably won’t like what “anything” is, Sangs.
Who’s Da Man
While arguably the only coach crappier than Franklin against the spread is Harbaugh (I’m shooting out of my ass here — haven’t so much as looked that up), I think the Wolverines have the type of team that will beat Penn State to submission in the fourth quarter, if not before. Their punishing running game is at the core of their offense, with Blake Corum having gained 735 yards on 118 attempts thus far through six games. They’ve scored an average of 43 points per game and they’re at 45% third-down efficiency. They average 212 rushing yards and 246 passing yards per game. And they’ve given up only 11.3 points per game.
On the other hand, Penn State’s stingy defense could have something to say about that. They’ve given up only 79.8 yards rushing per game, slightly better than Michigan’s 81.7. Despite the vaunted Penn State secondary, they’ve allowed 262 passing yards per game. And third-down efficiency is a putrid 33.85%.
Yeah, But Who They Played?
Good point. Penn State hasn’t faced anyone yet who can run the ball. You could say Auburn, but I’d say, “Against who has Auburn’s offense been effective this year?” Answer: Nobody. As for Michigan, throwing out the first two games against Hawaii and Connecticut, I would say they have faced a tougher schedule.
Both forgettable. PSU coughed up the ball innumerable times against Big Ten West bottom-dweller Northwestern while winning unconvincingly, 17-7, while Michigan struggled at first with Big Ten East bottom-dweller Indiana before coasting to a 31-10 victory. I guess one could make the excuse for Penn State that the remnants of Hurricane Ian caused the rampant fumbleitis, but there’s no good excuse for that sort of sloppy ball handling.
Being a nooner, it probably won’t be as warm as the predicted high of 58 on the forecasted partly cloudy day. Interestingly, from a Jake Pinegar standpoint, the steady WSW winds of 13 mph with gusts to 25 should guarantee a couple of missed field goals.
(Feel better now?)
Da Bottom Line
I tell jou songseen… this one is very clear in my mind. The Sanguinarian euphoria ends here. The Official Nittany Turkey Poop Forecast is nigh. Cover your eyes, laddies, for it won’t be pretty.
Michigan is favored by a touchdown, with an over/under of 52, suggesting a Michigan win of 29-22. I think the Penn State defense will wear down under the relentless Corum running attack, enabling J.J. McCarthy to pick apart the vaunted PSU secondary as the game wears on. Lots of errant passes by our boy Sean Clifford will seal the deal, as the PSU offense sputters. And, as I mentioned before, Jake Pinegar will miss at least a field goal or two, if not an extra point. I’m going for Michigan 34, Penn State 17. Take the under, barely.
I’ll be back after the game with some grousing and some more irreverent bullshit, straight from the Turkey’s cloaca.