With Michigan coming to town this week it's interesting to cruise the blogs and message boards to get a feel for how the Wolverine faithful are viewing this game. It's difficult to do because you have to weed through the "OMG Rich Rodriguez BOOOOO" and "People booing Rich Rodriguez should SHUT UP NOW" posts, but some people are talking about Penn State. Most Michigan fans have level heads about themselves and realize they are a rebuilding team facing the #3 team in the country and their chances are slim. But there are a few die-hard Maize and Blue believers who actually think they have a chance. Here is some of the air tight reasoning I'm reading on the internet.
Michigan Owns Penn State
Just like Michigan owns the MAC, eh? Seems like a lot of streaks are being broken this year. 30 years without a losing record. Going to bowl games.
Look, you have a nine game winning streak going and that's all. The events of eight years ago have no bearing on this Saturday. You could say your defensive line owned Anthony Morelli or that Mike Hart owned our defensive line, but those guys are gone now. But hey, at least you still own the refs.
Michigan Beat Wisconsin So Anything Can Happen
Right. The same Wisconsin team we annihilated in Madison on Saturday night. Penn State didn't need a furious second half comeback with the home crowd cheering us on. We went into their house and did whatever we wanted. Wisconsin gave you that game. Penn State will not beat themselves.
Michigan's Defense Will Keep Them In The Game
Have you seen your secondary? Juice Williams torched you for 310 yards. Nice job in holding Miami (OH) and Toledo under 20 points, but you'll have to do better against our guys. Daryll Clark is #11 in the country in pass efficiency. Evan Royster is averaging over seven yards a carry. But the scary thing is you never know where the ball is going. Clark has thrown ten touchdowns to seven different players. You can't stop them. You can only choose which guy you are going to let beat you.
Penn State Will Be Looking Past Michigan
I can assure you this is not the case. I think we let the Wisconsin win soak in for about a half hour before we started looking toward this Saturday. We've had this day marked on the calendar for months. If anything I was worried they might be looking past Wisconsin toward this game. But this team has shown week in and week out they can show up and take care of business against lesser competition.
You have to remember the seniors on this team were freshmen when we went to Ann Arbor in 2005. They looked past Michigan on that day and they paid dearly for it. These seniors are not going to let that happen again. Plus, when you are constantly being asked about "the streak" all week long by anyone who shoves a microphone in your face, you tend to get a little pissed off and feel like you have something to prove.
Paterno Always Plays Conservative against Michigan
Correction: Paterno traditionally plays conservative against good teams. Michigan is not a good team right now, so I'm looking for Paterno to put the foot on the gas pedal and hold it down until he has a four touchdown lead.
But in actuality, there is evidence to suggest Paterno has broken away from his conservative ways. He has seen too many large leads slip away in recent years either ending in losses or having the final score end up a lot closer than it should have been. Last week Penn State was borderline accused of running up the score on Wisconsin. After the game Paterno had this to say.
On continuing to call aggressive plays late into the game: "You know, I've been in some ball games where it turned around so fast, it'd make your head spin. I thought when we came out in the third quarter we needed to get on the board a couple times. I maybe played the first string a little longer than I should have and given the younger kids a chance, but one big play here, one big play there, and it gets to be a dogfight. "
Needed to get on the board a couple times? When was the last time anyone can recall those words coming from Joe Paterno? He has complete confidence in his offense and doesn't feel like he needs to sit on a ten point lead to hang on for a victory.
I'm sorry Michigan, but you don't stand a chance in this game. Penn State is not looking past you. Your defense will not hold up against the Penn State juggernaut. There is only one coach that has successfully taken the Big Ten by storm with the Spread, and his initials are not R.R.