There was so much good about last night it's hard for me to take it all in. Two gutsy, tough, prideful football teams in an absolute slobberknocker of a game. Two outstanding coaches that got 100% effort from their teams for the entire game. And one Penn State victory. Take nothing away from Ohio State because they gave us everything they had and it was almost enough. But take nothing away from Penn State either.
They were the better team tonight, just as they have been the better team every single time they've stepped onto the field this season.
What I liked best about the Ohio State game is that we just lined up and smacked them around and won the game at the line of scrimmage. We didn't get too cute and we didn't do anything gimmicky; we just outmuscled and outplayed them. Wins like this are what Penn State was built on and it's very nice to know that with the Spread HD, and with more and more teams all over the country slinging the ball like a hot potato, that Penn State still values blocking, tackling, and hitting, the philosophy that made Penn State great and perhaps the same thing that made one Terrelle Pryor famously claim that Penn State was "too country" for him.
The most ironic thing of all, to me at least, is that I always think of the Big Ten as a mid-western, corn-eating, bruiseball, smash mouth kind of conference. It has always been a "country" conference hasn't it? If that's not what Terrelle Pryor wanted, he shouldn't have attended Penn State, Michigan or Ohio State or anyone else in this conference. Since he chose Ohio State though, I bet he woke up with a headache this morning. Here's to hoping he has plenty of nights like last night for the next 4 years.
And to anyone with an AP vote: please think twice before you write off this entire conference. With the latest victory Penn State has proven they can beat you any way you want to play. They can win at home and on the road, in a shootout (Illinois) or in a grind-it-out slugfest (Ohio State). They can win with offense, defense and special teams, and most of the time with all three. Voters HAVE TO start noticing this. There is no glaring weakness on this team at all except that it hasn't played against the toughest of schedules. Well, there is still one game on the schedule that hasn't been decided yet, and if the voters doubt how we would do against top-notch competition there is only one thing to do: put us up against this top-notch competition!
I'm not going to say how disappointing or unfair it would be to keep an undefeated Penn State out of the title game because this may be Joe Paterno's last shot at it, or because he has been slighted so many times in the past with undefeated teams. Paterno wouldn't want a sympathy invite, anyway. It's just that we deserve to be there because of our play and for no other reason. We still have some work to do to get there of course, but I have no doubt that Joe Paterno and the coaching staff as well as the leaders on the team will keep their heads about them and keep working hard every day for the goal they have in mind. Because Penn State is just too country to look ahead to the bright lights of what may lay ahead.