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Then, Again: Death Race 2008 Begins

Your weekly look at Penn State opponents, past and present. In December, who will you blame for destroying Penn State's strength of schedule?

(The answer is "Tim Curley and/or Joe Paterno". But never mind that, let's get to work.)

Well, the day has finally arrived. Big Ten conference play starts this week, and Illinois will walk into a Nittany Lion White House on Saturday night. And as we all know, Illinois week can only mean one thing. Multiple J Leman references for the people.

"Special deal for new recruits." Hope the NCAA has 555-ZOOK on speed dial.

Illinois had last week off, which they presumably spent getting ready for Penn State. Let's hope they only watched the first quarter against Temple. Missouri dropped half-a-hundred on the Illini in the opener, and following a semi-laugher against The Fightin' Romos, they squeaked by Louisiana-Lafayette -- as opposed to the real Lafayette, who may have actually beaten the Zookers that afternoon.

Anyway, the Salad Days are over. Big Ten games start now. Welcome back, Meaningful Football.

Let's take a look back and forward.

Coastal Carolina (2-2): Dropped the frigging hammer on Towson, 31-3. And we've already said too much.

Oregon State (1-2): Didn't play. Pansies. They host Southern Cal on Saturday Thursday.

Syracuse (1-2): Hey now! Winner winner, chicken dinner! Beat Northeastern 30-21. That's Northeastern, of the (0-3) Northeasterns, and they were within 6 points with 6 minutes left in the game. Syracuse hosts Pitt this weekend. Fight for Greg Robinson's job, you scoundrels!

Temple (1-3): Tough to remain competitive when you lose your starting QB on the first series of the game. Life gets a little easier for the Owls next week. They'll play Western Michigan in Philly.

Illinois (2-1): As discussed above.

Purdue (2-1): Beat Central Michigan (that's the good one, right?) in a wild affair, 32-25. That's back-to-back nailbiters for the Boilermakers, who travel to South Bend on Saturday.

Wisconsin (3-0) and Michigan (1-2): No games for either team last week. Wisconsin travels to Michigan this weekend. Should be fun for all sorts of reasons.

Ohio State (3-1): Oh, Buckeye fans. You stay classy.

Boeckman, fifth-year senior, only played two snaps and the smallest crowd in Ohio Stadium in six years loudly booed him after an incompletion on one of those.

That prompted defensive lineman Lawrence Wilson to say: "Hey, we're just kids. We're not professionals. There's no way that adults should treat us that way."

Example #1 of how not to treat a guy who took you to a national championship game. Anyway, they led Troy 14-10 after three quarters, but pulled away for a 28-10 win. They get Minnesota in Columbus on Saturday, and their fans deserve to see their team lose by 50.

Iowa (3-1): Oh, come on! Losing to Pitt? Everyone in the world is kicking the stuffing out of the Big East this season, and Iowa loses to the Wannstache? We'll know all about Iowa by the time Penn State plays them -- they have Wisconsin and Illinois right before PSU -- but it's overwhelmingly likely that Iowa sucks. A lot. Hell, they'll be lucky to beat Northwestern on Saturday at noon.

Indiana (2-1): And then there's Indiana, who was thumped at home by Ball State, 42-20. They host Sparty this week.

Michigan State (3-1): Javon Ringer ran for 201 yards in a 23-7 dusting of Notre Dame, which I'm sure made Wolverine fans cringe. Notre Dame ran for sixteen yards.