Some notes and quotes from around these internets about Saturday's big game.
Chris Wells is putting on his "he hate me" jersey and playing the old no one believes in us card.
"I definitely feel we're underdogs," Wells said. "We've not been producing up to the expectations of the media or whoever it may be. A lot of people are thinking we're not a great football team."
Well, you are underdogs, actually. Two and a half points. An, no, you haven't been producing up to the expectations of "whoever". We talked about it yesterday, but if you want to prevent people from claiming you aren't a great football team, score an offensive touchdown against Purdue.
The Post-Gazette has a post-October observation:
Long before the season began, many were predicting a Red October for Penn State.
The gloomy forecast was based on the Nittany Lions' past performances against Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio State and the fact that the Lions had to play those three traditional Big Ten powers during a three-week stretch.
Penn State was a combined 5-16 against that trio since 2000.
But now with Penn State rolling though October, winning their Illinois-Michigan "gauntlet" games by an average of 24 points, November is actually shaping up to be a tougher month (in fact, according to this arbitrary list, all four of the teams that preceded this weekend's showdown are part of the Big Ten's four biggest disappointments). Iowa has found a running back in Shonn Greene and appears to have fixed their offensive woes. Then, the Land Grant Rivalry might end up being Penn State's second biggest game, as MSU has shown that they are probably one of the top three teams in the league.
It wouldn't be a big game in the Big Ten without reporters using stats from 1993 to prove the Nittany Lions are doomed this Saturday:
Penn State's 0-7 record here is only part of the story, however. Whereas the eight games between the schools in Penn State's Beaver Stadium have been competitive -- five decided by seven points or fewer and three wins by the Buckeyes -- the average score of the games in Ohio Stadium is 28-7. Penn State has not scored more than 10 points in any of them.
Penn State had combined for six points in their last two visits to Madison: how'd that work out for the Badgers? This is a different team, in fact every season every team is different, so bringing up statistical trends like that are, well, dumb.
This kind of stuff isn't going away, though. In fact, twenty bucks says someone on the Gameday set uses this exact same line on air in Columbus.
What bothers me about Penn State's current success is that Paterno's not the sole reason for it. Rather, it's his staff and the tradition of the program that have the Nittany Lions in the running for another national title, and Paterno seeking his eighth undefeated season since 1966.
Paterno built the tradition, so for him to ride his own coat-tales is hardly a criminal action. In fact, I think that's called earning respect and reaping the rewards. Also, I'm pretty sure a statement like "[the head coach] is not the sole reason for [recent success]" applies to every team in every sports. Why does Penn State's variety bother you so much?
The Trans-World News is showing off some of their geography skills, a story in which they set up the old hero-faces-old-hometown routine:
Pryor, the nation's top high school player last year, had arguably the most-hyped recruiting process in recent history and became a YouTube sensation. His final list included Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State.
After selecting OSU, it is easy to see why this rivalry has an added edge to it as the Buckeyes took Pryor from Jeannette, a suburb of Pittsburgh which is 120 miles away from State College.
Um, 120=hometown? What's really a shame is that they could have gotten a double whammy out of this one. Clark's hometown of Youngstown is only 170 miles from Columbus.
To end on a positive note, guess who's rooting for Penn State this weekend? Everyone.
So it will have nothing to do with sympathy or well-wishing for Joe Paterno's swan song next week when an entire nation aligns itself with Penn State in Columbus for what amounts to the de facto Big Ten Championship Game. Lion love will be purely self-interested: please don't make us consider these guys for another championship.
So no pressure or anything, Lions, but suddenly a Buckeye-weary nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
So it's love for all the wrong reasons, but at this point I'll take it.