This is my 15th season as a Penn State fan, and I've never seen Penn State football operate at full capacity. I wasn't in the Joe Must Go camp; more of the Joe Deserves To Go Out On His Own Terms So I'm Willing To Be Patient But I Sure Wouldn't Have A Problem With Him Stepping Down camp. And I felt that once Joe did step down, we were going to take off as a program. But, welp.
I think we have everything in place (tradition, facilities, fan support, etc) to compete with Ohio State on a regular basis. And it's been frustrating as hell to watch what they've done over the last decade. We were 3-3 against them in our first 6 years in the B1G, and 4-9 since. You could argue that our two biggest wins of the last 12-13 years are against Ohio State (05 and 08). I don't know that they'd put any win over us in their top ten over that same time period. They aren't our rival, and that's why. It's most frustrating because of what I said: when operating at full capacity, Penn State should be competing with Ohio State regularly.
And we won't be competing with them anytime soon. Last night was our best chance to beat them for at least a few years. They have more talent, and we needed to play great to beat them. We didn't. It is what it is. They're only going to better and we've got, you know, some stuff that's going to hold us back. As someone who was patiently waiting for Penn State football to take off when Joe stepped down, it's aggravating to know it's going to be at least 4-5 more years before we see that.
But, I don't think it's worth our time to concern ourselves with Ohio State. They're likely going to be the class of the B1G and will be competing for much bigger things than us for the forseeable future. And you know what? That's fine. When the sanctions came down, the possibility of multiple losing seasons was on the horizon. We could have been looking at 10 years before we started to compete in the B1G again. But, I feel confident in saying that Bill O'Brien is going to hold this thing together. We should beat Purdue and Indiana, and Wisconsin is very winnable. Nebraska isn't anything special either. And, while we are likely going to take a step back next year, there is enough suckage in the B1G to make me feel okay saying we can win 7-8 games again. That's enough to keep things afloat during the sanction years, and finally make that leap as a program a few years down the road. Sure, a lot can change, but I'm okay with where we are.
For now, we're going to have to enjoy the highs when they come. We've already experienced more this year than I expected, with more hopefully to come. Getting bent out of shape about losing to programs like Ohio State isn't going to be worth the stress. Let them have their fun, let them not care about us. But, don't worry about them. We'll find out own ways to enjoy Penn State football for the next few years.