A nod to the past and a gaze into the future. Here's how Penn State's recent and upcoming opponents did last week, as we get ready for next week's Big Ten openers. Yes, this item is late this week.
Coastal Carolina (1-2): Broke into the win column with a 26-7 victory at Monmouth. The Mighty Towson Tigers come to town this week. In even bigger Coastal news, their former quarterback Tyler Thigpen will be starting for the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend. Good for Coastal Carolina. Bad for Tyler Thigpen's health.
Oregon State (1-2): Blasted Hawaii 45-7 at home. Remember how the Beavers couldn't do a thing against Penn State's defense. Picture the total opposite of that. Lyle Moevao threw three touchdowns and no interceptions. They ran for 217 yards. Life was good. Life will be worse this week as they host USC.
Syracuse (0-3): Well, here's your chance for a win. Northeastern (0-2) pays a visit to the Carrier Dome.
Temple (1-2): Forever screwed by the fates of Mother Nature and Hail Mary passes.
Illinois (2-1): I'm not sure anybody has noticed that Illinois has two weeks to prepare for Penn State. They limped to a 20-17 win against Louisiana-Lafayette last week, and have generally looked awful on defense. A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I thought Illinois might beat Penn State based on the problems we had defending them last season. Now, that game sits in the "likely win" category for Penn State. Maybe it always did and I'm just late to the party. Not the Lemon Party.
Purdue (1-1): Lost at home in double overtime to Oregon, 32-26. Valiant effort (or so I'm guessing, I didn't see the game). They're against Central Michigan this week. First team to 70 points wins.
Wisconsin (3-0): Taking a well-deserved week off after prevailing in Fresno last week. They'll take on Michigan next week in Ann Arbor, which should be...interesting. I think.
Michigan (1-2): And then there's Michigan, whose performance against Notre Dame was vengefully captured by the gentlemen at House That Rock Built:
I will be satisfied if we beat Michigan by one point this season. But I'll die happy if it's sixty or seventy points.
Ohio State (2-1): Yeah. That did not go well. At all. In fact, it went so poorly that Ohio State fans (not just Eleven Warriors) are prepared to sacrifice the 2008 season in order to get Terrelle Pryor into the starting lineup like now. They take on Troy at home this week. Troy is making the leap in competition from Alcorn State to Angry Ohio State, and we all wish them luck with that one.
Iowa (3-0): Kirk Ferentz loves to take those safeties, doesn't he? He caused gamblers equal amounts of elation and murderous thoughts when Iowa voluntarily surrendered a safety (no, they didn't give Sean Considine to the Russians, as much as Eagles fans would love that) at the end of last week's Iowa State game, thereby allowing Iowa State to cover the spread. The Hawkeyes are at Pitt this week, the Panthers are a one point favorite, presumably because Vegas wants to Ferentz-proof the contest. As the inimitable Mark Hasty writes in this week's "Pickin' On The Big Ten":
Kirk Ferentz. Dave Wannstedt. There's two coaches whose names will never again be connected with any NFL openings.
Indiana (2-0): It's Ball State Week for Indiana, which I'm sure is important to someone.
Michigan State (2-1): Cautiously proceeded to a rain-soaked 17-0 victory against Florida Atlantic last week in East Lansing. This week promises to be more fun as Notre Dame struts into town, fresh off their waxing of Michigan. Not sure who we'll know more about after this game -- Michigan State, Notre Dame, or Michigan. Or San Diego State. It's a mystery, really.