Worlds Are Colliding! (Updated)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This is a unique time for me as a sports fan. If you know me you know that I put Penn State football on a pedestal by themselves above all other loyalties. That is true of course but throughout most of my life my other major loyalty has rarely crossed paths this late in the season with Joe Paterno's team. That other loyalty is the Phillies.

The Phillies and Penn State football are the two teams I can talk about year round with anybody and the two teams I would schedule my day around. Here we are almost in to November and my worlds are still colliding. At times I have felt that I have not given enough love to Penn State, having an outstanding season, as the Phillies are looking to end a long championship drought. While the Phillies are one (half) game away from clinching the World Series, Penn State is well on their way to completing a championship season of their own. I may not be going crazy like George would have, but it is very exciting right now.

So in this post I share my much overdue love for the Nittany Lions with you. Even though the Phillies have been given much exposure on this blog (rightfully so), I feel the need to share with you my equally high optimism about Penn State.

Penn State is the best team in the Big Ten and with three games left in the regular season are playing for a chance to play for the National Championship. Last weekend they traveled to Ohio State, where they had not won since joining the Big Ten conference in 1993. In fact they had failed to score double digits there since joining. A week after stopping a nine game losing streak to the Michigan Wolverines, the Nittany Lions ended the horrid streak at the Horseshoe with a 13-7 victory.

If ever there was praise for the Penn State coaching staff, headed by Joe Paterno, it should be spilling their way now as Pat Devlin was more than ready, and more than capable, to step in for an injured Daryll Clark to lead the Nittany Lions to the game winning touchdown. The drive came after hot shot quarterback recruit freshman Terrelle Pryor (the top rated Pennsylvania recruit who had PSU stringing along his rear end for months before shunning them for the Buckeyes and who has since renounced his PA roots) tried to do something a little extra to get on Sportscenter on a third and short. Pryor decided to try and scamper to the outside of a pile for a possible huge gain instead of picking up a sure first down in the fourth quarter. Instead the ball was popped out of his hands and Penn State recovered.

Later Pryor, with thirty seconds left in the game, hurled a ball over 50 yards to the end zone for a game tying touchdown, only to have it intercepted. Afterward Pryor could not handle the fact that he had blown the game to the school he shunned and showed his true self by being unwilling to lift his head to be a good sport and congratulate Penn State players on a well played game. Instead Pryor cried.

And now Penn state sits at the third slot in the infamous BCS rankings, behind Texas and Alabama. It remains to be seen if Ohio State's abysmal performances in the past two BCS Title games hinders voters should either Texas or Alabama stumble, which many believe will happen to at least one of them. Penn State still has to take care of their own business, starting next weekend at Iowa, and then at home against Indiana and Michigan State. This PSU team should not lose any of the remaining games. Iowa may be tough for a while but Indiana has not beaten Penn State since PSU joined the Big Ten and PSU has never lost to Michigan State at home.

So if Penn State does what I expect them to do who would I rather play in the BCS Title game? I'll take my chances against any team out there, but I just do not want to see Alabama in there. It is not that I am scared of them, but I just do not like Nick Saban.

When I see those Nobama bumper stickers, this is what I think of. No Bama!

So Penn State, I am following you and your success week by week, rest assured. Even though the Phillies have dominated this blog, I guarantee you will get your due.

UPDATE: I wrote this post before receiving this week's issue of Sports Illustrated in the mail. Coincidently, here is the cover for this week...

Phillies AND Penn state? Favorite issue ever!

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