Picking up on a theme in two posts by the staff, I thought I'd throw out three things that we, as Penn State football fans, should do this year. To paraphrase Goethe, all generalizations are false, including these ones. Please feel free to add your own suggestions for what I should have covered (and omitted).
- 1. Penn State fans should support whoever is named the starting quarterback.
God help this site if McNeckbeard wins the starting nod over Rob Bolden. Sure, Joe Paterno has won 401 football games, but do you know that McLovin was a walk-on? In an earlier post, one commenter noted that if McGloin gets the start, he'll sell his Alabama tickets. If you would sell your tickets to one of the most coveted games in recent Beaver Stadium history simply because Robert Bolden isn't starting, aren't you more of a RoBo fan than a Penn State fan?
Anyone who's spent any time around Penn State football knows that, in general, the backup quarterback should run for mayor of State College, because he's the most popular person in town. Quarterbacking, particularly against the Crimson Tide and the cream of the Big Ten, is a difficult task. Let's assume that the coaching staff - who have seen more of both players than all of us combined -- know what they're doing and give the named starter the benefit of the doubt.
- 2. Penn State fans should remember that our shit stinks too.
I'm as sadistic as the next guy and it's just plain fun to watch what Ohio State football be exposed as fraudulent. With that said, pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. /proverb'd.
As the recent actions of a certain wrestler might remind us, Penn State athletes being caught on the wrong side of the law isn't exactly unprecedented. And let's not even talk about some other possible skeletons in the closet.
Of course, there is a difference between breaking the law and breaking NCAA rules. As far as I know, no wins have ever been vacated because players on the winning team had a criminal record or got urinating in public. (And really, should that even be a crime?) Nevertheless, the Penn State athletic program generally and the football program in particular is not without its warts. As Ted Turner famously said, "If I was humble, I'd be perfect." Indeed.
- 3. Penn State fans should take it easy on the players.
Despite my many impeccable arguments suggesting the contrary, Penn State football players, at most, receive a scholarship that does not cover the full cost of attending the University. Part of being a fan is getting upset at your own team when things don't go well, but if you want to beat a player up for missing a tackle or dropping a pass, tune in on Sundays when the guys make millions of dollars. The vast majority of PSU players will never professional football. They're twenty year-old kids trying their best.
Some criticism is warranted and acceptable, but more often than not, the best way to approach college sports is to congratulate the other team for playing well rather than beat up on your guy for doing poorly. If you notice a mistake in The New York Times or Washington Post, it might be defensible to point it out to them. If you do that to the Daily Collegian constantly, you probably need to get a life. The players who will wear the greatest uniforms in college football are closer in age to the kids playing in the Little League World Series than they are to Peyton Manning or Tiger Woods. It's only a game.
Honorable mentions: PSU fans:
...shouldn't throw beverages at opposing team fans (or should they?);
...should never bet against Penn State;
...should bet on college football as much as possible;
...should assume that this is going to be Joe Paterno's last year;
...should find one of these big-time recruits and give him a money handshake.