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Where I Come From: My All-Time Favorite Penn State Team

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This post is sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011.


I wish I could say my all-time favorite Penn State teams were either 1982 or 1986, but I was a bit young back then to fully appreciate them. Even though I was 12, my parents let me stay up late to watch the 1986 National Championship game. Until I purchased and watched the DVD a few years ago, I only remembered two plays from the entire game. I remembered D.J. Dozier scoring the go ahead touchdown and taking a knee in prayer. In the mind of a 12-year old I remember wondering if he was allowed to do that. Odd. The other play I remember was Pete Giftopoulos making the final interception at the goal line and scrambling around for a few seconds not knowing what to do. Again, the 12-year old in me wanted him to run it back for a touchdown, and I think he did too before he came to his senses.

I wish I was a bit older to really enjoy those seasons, but we don't get to choose when we're born I guess. So in choosing my favorite team of all-time, I have to pick between 1994 and 2005.

The 1994 team was special because I got to witness it from the student section. Not many students get to witness an undefeated season while they are in school, but I was one of the lucky few. And though that team had a ton of talent and they were fun to watch, I wouldn't consider them my favorite team.

My favorite team has to be the 2005 team. The 1994 team was methodical in the way they surgically dissected an opponent. There was never any doubt in any game that they were going to win. Even when they fell behind by three touchdowns at Illinois, everyone knew they were going to come back and win. Things weren't so easy with the 2005 team. They had to fight for every first down. Struggle for every score. And the defense couldn't take a series or two off like the 1994 team could.

The 2005 team was also special to me because they pulled Penn State football out of the depths of their darkest era. It was particularly satisfying to see them struggle in the first half of the Northwestern game and pull it together. That was the game where something clicked and they started realizing their full potential. I remember talking to my uncle on the phone after the Minnesota game and saying with disbelief, "They might actually be good." It was a sensation I hadn't associated with Penn State football in a long time, and that's why the 2005 team will always be special to me.

What's your all-time favorite Penn State team?