Monday, September 28, 2009

Iowa at PSU (9/26/09)

Anyone on Penn State's campus with a pulse, even those without, have noticed over the past few weeks the vibe and mounting excitement surrounding the Iowa weekend. Arguably the biggest tailgating weekend of the year and easily the second biggest game of the year, second only to Ohio State. The only reason I give the nod for biggest tailgating Saturday is the fact that Penn State students, faculty, alumni and Hawkeye fans (even with a late start time of noon) have more than 7 hours of tailgating with an hour available to watch pre-game warm-ups. With that amount of time to get yourself riled up, who can deny the fact this is a BT (big time) weekend. Yes, the OSU kick-off time hasn't been announced yet but we will most likely get a 3:30 or 4:30 kick-off. That said, can anyone argue the aura surrounding game day at Beaver Stadium?! This weekend was the perfect testament to the fact that Penn State tailgating is second to none. In the horrible weather we come to love as Penn Staters there was a massive turnout of more than 300,000+ fans to tailgate from the early hours (8 a.m.) to right before kickoff. The aerial seen of Happy Valley must be breathtaking on game day: cars and RVs for miles in each direction and Penn State pride emanating from each one. The craziest thing is, Beaver Stadium only holds 110(112),000 fans, so what do the rest of the 200,000+ fans do? Keep tailgating of course! No where else is the excitement of a football game enough for people to tailgate in the pouring rain for hours on end without tickets. Love it.

Iowa. Oh, Iowa. With the Hawkeyes, it was more than just beating us the last 6 of 7, it was the heartbreak of last year's loss they handed us in a sloppy game that ended all hope for a BCS National Championship. Ferentz has JoePa's number? Doubt it. Maybe it's the pink locker rooms of Iowa that mess with your mojo heading into Kinnick Stadium? Who knows? But it was tough, JoePa says we can't dwell on it though so I won't. So I say this is this second biggest game of the year (ahead of Michigan and behind OSU) because a loss of that magnitude isn't easily forgotten. Ask Michael Robinson: 2005 at Ann Arbor, about 2 seconds gets put back on the clock near the end of the game, why? No one has a GOOD reason. Nonetheless, with a little under 1 seconds left in the game Chad Henne rifles a ball to Mario Manningham on a slant into the endzone, game over, bye-bye National Championship hopes. Tough losses, the only losses of promising seasons, don't go over well. Ohio State is always huge because they represent all that is wrong with college/college football :) and it's our biggest rivalry. And Michigan, they're the new West Virginia, no doubt they are a good team and their offensive scheme is tough to beat, but it's Rich Rodriguez. Gotta beat him

The stage was set: Lee and Kirk had made their picks, liquor and beer (of course not in glass bottles) was saturated into the thousands of tailgaters just like the unrelenting rain. It was game time, 8 p.m., Beaver Stadium, Whitehouse. Yo.

If you want a synopsis of the game, check out the coverage on I'm here to rant, not to give you highlights of the game you shouldn't have missed.

It wasn't a normal Penn State loss. It was sloppy. JoePa's teams don't lose sloppy, if you're going to come into our house and beat us you need to earn it. Was it ugly? You better believe it, there were students in the stands calling for Daryll Clark's head (more on that later). But a blocked punt!? You gotta be kidding me. Sound special teams are a PSU staple. And Royster fumbling and dropping a pass that lead to an INT?! That never happens, he is the most fundamentally sound RB in the country. Clark had a sloppy game, tough. It happens. Sometimes it's not your day, and Saturday wasn't the Nittany Lions day. So what? It was a wake-up call and Joe Paterno's teams don't pack it in. But it happened and Iowa knocks off 5th ranked PSU. Did we deserve to be ranked 5th? Probably not, but then again that brings up the discussion of "should rankings not come out until the 3rd week of the season?" I believe the answer is "NO," but with all the money (and we know it's all about the money) that hippity-hop ESPN and other sporting-news companies brings in through marketing and debating over the rankings, a delayed system will never happen.

Southern Cal (and Pete Carroll) have made a name for themselves losing a game a year to a crap Pac-10 team and yet, at the end of the year they are said to be the best team in the country. I don't agree that they're the best each year, some years, yes, but not always. But what do all their losses have in common? They lose early in the year. Voters forget about it because it's easier to make up ground after and early season loss. My point is that Penn State is just fine. Last year we lost late, that'll kill you. We win out in an underrated Big-10 and this season is a HUGE success given the talent we lost after last year. We won't make it to the National Championship due to the lack of respect given to the Big-10, but a BCS birth makes this loss bearable, somewhat.

More on the the students calling for Clark's head. SHUT UP. Nothing makes me angrier than you and your 150 pound frame yelling to our star players that they have no right being on a football field. Obviously you know better than 2 of the longest tenured coaches in the history of college football (Joe and Tom Bradley), that's why you're in the stands. I understand the die-hard fan who wants to hold their beloved team accountable, but it's different when you curse at the players like they can hear you. Football is a simple game, yes, but by no means is it easy. These are some of the best athletes in the country, they had a tough game, but if you think you can do better, strap up and walk-on.

Coach Paterno's big motto is "act like you've been there before," same to us fans. The guys who curse at their own college team are the same guys who haven't been there before. And it makes it obvious when you make a fool out of yourself in the stands. Your friends won't think you're any cooler if you curse out Evan Royster and say you could do this or do that better than him. And if they do, find new friends. All the greats (of sports or what have you) are understated and humble. So are we PSU fans, we cheer hard and we're behind our team. We're Penn Staters, we don't flip off opposing fans and we don't call out our players. That's what makes us the program that's been honorable forever and kids want to play for.

Welcome again to the STATEtorialist and enjoy!

For the glory....

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