WWN PENN STATE PREGAME #7

#8 Penn State at MICHIGAN

It has been three years since the Lions played the Maize and Blue and sadly, nine years since we beat them. Two entire generations of Penn State students have gone from their freshman to senior year without seeing a Penn State victory over the sanctimonious school in Ann Arbor. Let’s hope that ends Saturday.

LAST WEEK

Penn State battled their mirror image, Ohio State, and won 17 – 10. With teams so similar, victory went to the team that got the turnovers. You can read all about it in the WWN Post-Game #8.

THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT: MICHIGAN WOLVERINES

Simply put, under Lloyd Carr, Michigan has had our number. Since the last win in 1996, Michigan has beaten Penn State every time they played each other, including two shutouts. The most recent meeting was the game that finally got the Big11Ten to look into instant reply. That game ended 24 – 27 in overtime.

This week, the odds are looking a little better. Michigan is down, only 3 – 3 thus far, losing to Notre Dame, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. They have lots of injuries, but then again, who doesn’t? The Lions should be able to run on them better than they did against OSU. Also, Michigan has shown to be vulnerable to a QB who can run (CDT).

A major subplot of the game is Chad Henne (Patriot-News), their quarterback. Lots of fans were fawning over him and convinced that he was going to Penn State and were very upset when he choose maize and blue over blue and white. So far, it has worked out quite well for him, having led the Wolverines to the Rose Bowl as a true freshman.

PRESS CONFERENCE RECAP

Here is the transcript from the Post-Gazette. Audio is available at FightOnState.com.

Paterno’s main point — even at 3 – 3 Michigan is tough, especially in Ann Arbor. Makes a lot of sense to me.

FANS GOING TOO FAR

Sadly, Penn State is not much better than their Big11Ten brethren when it comes to treatment of visiting fans (CDT). Of course, that happens for day games at a lot of places too. At Penn State, really bad fans, like Edgar Winter, only come out at night. Throwing stuff at a marching band is inexcusable wherever it happens.

DON’T ROLL ‘EM UP JOE!

Somebody noticed that JoePa is not rolling up his pant legs (AP/CDT) for home games any more. Paterno said he would start again. When you are 6 – 0, you have to keep doing what you are doing, so let them get a little dirty, coach!

MORE ARTICLES

MAN OF IMPACTPatriot-News
Dave Jones of “The Courtship of Derrick Williams.”

Penn State midterms: A study in RevivalPost-Gazette
So far, Chico Harlan says Penn State has 3.2 GPA this season.

A ‘revolution’ in helmetsYDR
Did you notice how weird looking and misshapen Penn State’s helmets look this year? It turns out they are using a new model called the Schutt DNA Skydex. It is supposed to be much safer.

THE HOT LISTPatriot-News

Also, as Maryland Bureau Chief Sam noted, Paul Cronin is off the team for a punk in drublic citation or something along those lines. As my father would say, “TURKEY!”

BEANO WATCH

Who’d of thought that Carroll H. Cook (’54 Pitt) would correctly pick two consecutive Penn State victories? I know I did not and frankly, I do not know what to make of it. Perhaps I ought to make nothing of it and just enjoy the Lions being ranked #8.

Pitta (Miami): Should we expect a letdown by PSU at Michigan this weekend?

Beano Cook: Penn State will not suffer a letdown. If they lose that game there is no excuse. If they win that game, I feel they will finish 11-0. Michigan has been a disappointment, clearly.

I would not as far to say that losing to Michigan in Ann Arbor is inexcusable, but maybe that is the proper attitude, but coming from Beano, it is very self-serving. If the Lions win, he says “of course they did;” if they lose “No excuse!”

Dave (NH): Beano, I owe you an apology. I said there was no way my alma mater could handle Ohio State last weekend. I will never doubt your weekly pick again.

Beano Cook: If I was you, I would keep my wallet in my pocket. I am 3-3 this year, and I don’t sell myself as a tout. I try to have fun, nothing more.

Beano’s recent streak is confusing to me too and has made me question other truisms in my life. Well, not really, but his precision prognosticating is puzzling.

Kid who got maced by cops at Beaver Stadium: Big Bean, the PSU student section was pretty impressive Sat. night with their organized white out. Where’s the best student section you’ve ever seen?

Beano Cook: Hard to say. There have been a lot of great student sections I’ve seen over the years. The one in Florida is pretty good, the West Point Cadets are good.

Fair enough, one game does not make Penn State the greatest student section of all time.

AP Reporter: Bigger Story in 2005? Notre Dame winning a lot or Oklahoma losing a lot?

Beano Cook: I would say Joe Paterno and Notre Dame are the two biggest stories so far. I predicted before the season that those would be the two biggest stories, so far so good.

So far, I agree with him, but there is still over 40% of the season to play.

Kevin, Atlanta: Beano…the better offense…PSU ’94, USC ’05?

Beano Cook: That’s a good one. That’s like asking who is the better president, Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Jefferson. The difference is Reggie Bush, but you could make a case for both. Just my opinion, but I would go USC ’05.

Once again, too early to tell.

In his weekly column, Beano also noted:

Ironically, all this excitement about Penn State doesn’t exist if Michael Robinson doesn’t hit Isaac Smolko for 20 yards on fourth-and-15 deep in PSU territory with two minutes left at Northwestern. If PSU finishes unbeaten, that will be the most important play of the year.

Once again, Beano is on the mark.

MORE CHATS

Mike Robinson was on ESPN Insider today and The Post handled a lot of Nittany Lions questions in their weekly College Football chat.

TELEVISION

D.C.’s Channel 7 WJLA must have heard about the kind of ratings (second highest in the network’s history for college football) that ESPN got for last Saturday’s PSU game and wised up, because they are televising the 3:30 p.m. game. Way to go WJLA! Just do not take the wrong feed like the last time the two teams met in 2002.

The Penn State Newswire has posted the ABC Coverage Map

PREDICTIONS

Another tough task for the Nittany Lions this week. Michigan, while down (3 – 3) is still…Michigan. The game is at Ann Arbor, which may not be after 100,000 quietest college football fans after all the press Penn State got last week. They are having a MAIZE-OUT as well, so expect to see lots of people wearing yellow.

Despite this and a sure to be fired up Wolverines squad, I predict that Penn State will end the nine-year losing streak by a score of…let’s say 31 – 24. Look for Issac Smolko to have a bigger factor in the passing game.

MORE LINKS

Here are the old reliable links to coverage:

  • Penn State Football Official Site – from the “Kremlin”
  • CDT coverage
  • Patriot-News coverage
  • Post-Gazette coverage
  • Tribune-Review coverage
  • 50 Yard Lion Blog – an Altoona dentist; daily
  • PA Sports Blog – mostly recruiting, if that is your thing
  • Nittany Lines Blog — sports ed. from The Morning Call
  • Dan Victor’s Front Row — student football columnist at the CDT
  • Ask Jeff Q & A
  • FightOnState.com — free
  • Blue White Illustrated — Phil Grosz, subscription required

    IN CLOSING

    Go STATE, beat Michigan!

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