This is something of personal take on the last year and more, but hopefully you’ll understand why this week seemed like the time to put it into the universe.
I grew up in Europe. I had NEVER seen a college football game (in person or on TV) until arriving at Penn State as an exchange student. The first game I got see was against some college called "Temple" – who I was informed weren’t very good – and so it seemed as a guy called Wally threw three touchdowns and an unknown freshman called Curtis Enis ran for 130+ yards and another three scores.
I’m not a PSU graduate, but I did spend a great year in State College. I became in instant PSU fan (as an institution, not just football) and saw the rest of the season’s games (including the tOSU last minute loss – curse you Eddie George; Michigan win with fake field goal – seriously Joe?!) I consider myself a Penn Stater.
Forward to November 2010. I am now living in the US. Penn State are playing tOSU at The Horseshoe. It was halftime and we are leading!
Then the world went wrong.
My phone rung, and it was my mum telling me my dad needed an operation to remove a mass that the doctors had found. As it dawned what that meant, the TV remained on and I was vaguely aware that with one and half quarters to go, everything was also unraveling in Ohio.
Turned out that my dad had a very rare form of bowel cancer. And I spent the next year racking up 140,000 airmiles commuting between the US and UK as I tried to keep up with teaching lectures in the US and spending as much time as possible in England…but ultimately took a leave of absence as his health declined.
It was now October 2011, and I was returning to the US following my dad’s funeral. I was staying in NYC overnight and found a PSU friendly bar to watch the Illinois game. Turned out I was sitting at the bar with a couple of McMoxie’s high school friends – but none of us new what a landmark occasion it was going to be for the history books – the drive, their missed field goal, win No. 409…and the end of JoePa.
Then IT happened…the past offseason happened…this season started and Emmert’s deal with the devil seemed to be in full swing as we went 0-2…but then finally the Navy win. FINALLY a return to reality.
It’s different to pre Nov-2010, but somehow a sense of normalcy seems to have returned to the world.
So it’s only appropriate that the team standing in the way of getting back to 0.500 is Temple. The team it all started with (for me) …this September week…back in 1995.
You can accuse me of drinking the cool aid and I’m not quite predicting 66-14, but I honestly think that we win this easily. That stuff Temple pulled last year will not work on this fitter, better-coached and just plain BETTER O-line. Meanwhile the Defense will once again be lead by Mike “you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” Mauti’s example.
PSU are a team who are a ball-hawking DB, a healthy RB and more confident kicker (& punter) away from being a very good side. They are going to upset some B1G bowl plans this season. For sure a challenge lies ahead this year and beyond but there are some promising Fr/So on this team who are going to have a LOT of playing experience even before they become Jr/Sr. And then there’s a certain Mr Breneman and Mr Hackenberg who I’m told can play a little bit...
More cool aid maybe, but I’m looking forward to defeating the odds over the next few years.
I miss my dad.
JoePa we all miss you.
But BOB we’re on board.
NCAA go to hell.