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Closing The Book On 2009

And so ends the 2009 season. Like all seasons, there were highs and lows. There were moments of disappointmen, and moments of euphoria. There were times when we felt like we were on top of the world. And there were times when it seemed like nothing made sense. These are the moments that make college football so glorious. So wonderful. If I ever see the fans of an NFL team rush the field, it will be the first time. Nothing compares to college sports.

Thank you, and congratulations to the 2009 Penn State football team for ending on a high note. A few weeks ago I opined that this was the forgettable season. Embarassing losses to Ohio State and Iowa sandwiched with uncompetitive wins over teams like Temple, Syracuse, Illinois, Indiana, and Akron made for a season void of memories worth remembering. There was not a single game, win or lose, that was decided by less than 11 points. But the Capital One Bowl and LSU changed all of that, and gave Penn State fans a win for the ages. Thanks for that.

Before I continue, I just have to say it's a shame that the condition of the field and the officiating took away from the game. I won't say it was the worst officiating ever, but it was clear that the officials had no control of the game. LSU fans are pointing at the quesionable personal foul penalty at the game, but it was more than that. There were questionable spots, like when Derek Moye caught a pass one yard past the first down line that got marked a yard BEHIND the line. There were blown holding calls, like when the LSU left tackle put an arm around Navorro Bowman's neck and tackled him to the ground on a blitz. There were times it looked like the officials either didn't know the rules or couldn't remember which down it was, like when Daryll Clark got called for intentional grounding on first down and all the sudden it was fourth down for Penn State. And is there a new rule that says every fumble or diving catch has to be reviewed? It's hard to enjoy a game when each drive is stopped twice to look at a play.

And how about the field conditions? What was up with that? I know it's n ot the Rose Bowl or anything, but that field was an embarassment by any standard. They would have been better off if they ripped off the sod the week before and just played on dirt. Thank God nobody was hurt as a result of that slop.

There's a lot of discussion going on about Daryll Clark's legacy. I won't get into that too much, but I think with time it will speak for itself. He leaves with just about every Penn State passing record despite only starting two seasons. He won a Big Ten title, and only lost four games in two years. And now with a win over a top 15 opponent, you can't say he doesn't have a big win. He may not go down as the greatest Penn State quarterback ever, but I don't see how you can't put him in the top five.

But enough negativity. What a great win for Penn State. The Nittany Lions already have enough questions going into 2010. We'll get into all that in the weeks to come, but it's good to go into the offseason with a confidence booster. Instead of looking inward and focusing on what's wrong with the program, we can all feel good about which direction we're going and just focus on looking ahead.

Go State! Hit the offseason!