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Former Foes Week 11: Back to Winning

Half of this week’s featured squads are now 6 and 4.

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl - Penn State v Washington Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Today’s show brought to you by the six fo.

I mean, not really.

No endorsement dollars or favors or promises of any kind were exchanged during the creation of this not exactly healthy post on this otherwise wholly wholesome website.

2018 Former Foes

Appalachian State Mountaineers

Last Seen: Saturday, slappin the scream off the Texas State Bobcat’s face, 38-7.

Next Up: Saturday, hosting Georgia State, 4p.

2018 Record: 7-2.

Pitt Panthers

Last Seen: Saturday, extending their winning streak to 3 games by stomping the Hokies of Virginia Tech at home, 52-22.

Next Up: Saturday, at Wake Forest, 12p.

2018 Record: 6-4.

Kent State Golden Flashes

Last Seen: Tuesday, getting mauled by the Buffalo Bulls by a fantastic score of 48-14.

Next Up: Tonight!!! hosting Toledo, 6p on CBSSN.

2018 Record: 2-8.

Illinois Fighting Illini

Last Seen: Saturday, getting thumped by Nebraska in Lincoln, 54-35.

Next Up: Saturday, hosting Iowa, 12p.

2018 Record: 4-6.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Last Seen: Saturday, shutting down offensively-inept Michigan State, 26-6.

Next Up: Saturday, visiting the DMV to try Maryland’s stadium crab pretzels, 12p.

2018 Record: 9-1.

Michigan State Spartans

Last Seen: Saturday, exhibiting their inept offense and losing to Ohio State 26-6.

Thor’s Cousin Rocky Lombardi from Asgard, Michigan Update: 7 of 19 (36.8%) for 92 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions, looked totally epic.

He briefly forgot his hammer in the locker room, but swiftly jaunted back to retrieve it:

Michigan State v Arizona State Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Next Up: Saturday, traveling to Lincoln to see if Nebraska is “back” yet or not, 12p.

2018 Record: 6-4.

Indiana Hoosiers

Last Seen: Saturday, snapping a 4-game losing streak by outlasting Maryland at home, 34-32.

Next Up: Saturday, traveling to the Big House to see if they can score on Don Brown’s Michigan defense like Penn State did.

2018 Record: 5-5.

Iowa Hawkeyes

Last Seen: Saturday, extending their losing streak to 3 games and granting Northwestern clear passage to the Big Ten West division title, 14-10.

Next Up: Saturday, traveling to Illinois, 12p.

2018 Record: 6-4. Whoa. Eerie.

Michigan Wolverines

Last Seen: Saturday, failing to shut out Rutgers like they did against Penn State, but still winning, 42-7.

That’s three weeks in a row Michigan has allowed a single touchdown.

Next Up: Saturday, trying again for the shutout, at home against Indiana, 12p.

2018 Record: 9-1 (zero shutouts).

Wisconsin Badgers

Last Seen: Saturday, failing to cage Penn State’s Wild Dogs, giving up 5 sacks and losing in State College, 22-10.

Next Up: Saturday, heading back to the B1G West to face Purdue in West Lafayette, 12p.

2018 Record: 6-4.

Former Bros

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Former Penn State Assistant and all-around likeable bro, Joe Moorhead, is now the Head Coach at MSU. We’ll follow his progress here this season too.

Last Seen: Saturday, taking their Bama Beating respectably in Tuscaloosa, 24-0.

Now there’s a team that knows how to do shutouts! Back to back, over LSU & Mississippi State.

Next Up: Saturday, hosting hapless, 2-8 Arkansas, 12p.

2018 Record: 6-4.

2017 Former Joes

Akron or Pitt? You decide!

Akron Zips

Last Seen: Saturday, losing at Eastern Michigan, 27-7.

Next Up: Saturday, perhaps getting back .500 by hosting 2-8 Bowling Green, 3:30p.

2018 Record: 4-5.

BSD has received several inquiries this season as to the reason for this portion of this column, so senior writer Chris Lucia has offered the following explanatory backdrop. Thank you for your service, Chris.

Once upon a time, in the days of yore, college football was birthed upon this nation. Legend tells that as this newfangled sport swept the countryside, two institutions – one of higher learning, one of “learning,” – decided to incorporate “football” into their intercollegiate athletics department. Being just two hours apart – or a month’s ride by Conestoga wagon in those days – the two teams naturally developed a rivalry. Sure, many members of the team and untold legions of fans died on the perilous journey over the Appalachian mountains to see their team play, but it was worth it to see the good guys smash their opponents with decisive 6-5 victories.

Over the years, that rivalry grew and festered, reaching its peak in the 1980s. However, once the 1980s came and went, one of the two teams willingly chose to not play the sport at a high level anymore, while the other team … did. Thus, the team in the western part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania began to fade into obscurity.

Angered by their sudden drop down the college football ladder, the Panthers of Pittsburgh adopted a little brother mentality, finding any and all chances to take pot shots at the better team to the Northeast. Even if they were in the midst of another losing season, they would revel in any loss that the Pennsylvania State University would endure.

Then, scandal and sanctions struck, and the Pitt faithful were as obnoxious, unpleasant, offensive, revolting, odious, foul, vile, abhorrent, loathsome, detestable, and hateful as any fans in all of college football. They bathed in news headlines proclaiming the shortcomings at Penn State, suddenly claiming to hold the moral high ground for all of eternity.

After several years of better-than-expected results, a new head coach took the sidelines for Dear Old State. In his very first press conference, one James Franklin loudly and proudly exclaimed that Penn State would henceforth dominate the state of Pennsylvania in recruiting. The Pitt faithful – again, hailing from an institution of “learning” – chose to ignore the actual intent of the statement, i.e. that PSU would do better recruiting players from Pennsylvania, and instead took it to mean that Penn State would be the best team in the state from then on.

In 2016, the two teams renewed their rivalry on the field after a 16-year hiatus. In the lead up to the contest, the Pitt head coach Pat “Naruzzi” Narduzzi constantly chirped to the media about how this was their Super Bowl, and that they couldn’t wait to beat the tar out of Penn State. Unfortunately for us all, Pitt did indeed beat PSU, 42-39, in the second week of the season. The Pitt fans rejoiced, claiming that they now dominated the state. Their coaches made keychains, commemorating the event. Many a yinzer child was conceived that night.

Then something happened. Penn State got its groove back. After losing in week 2 to Pitt, and in week 4 to Michigan, the Lions would not lose again the rest of the season. They won the Big Ten, and went to the Rose Bowl. Their offense couldn’t be stopped, and their defense was suffocating. Meanwhile, Pitt finished the year 8-5, losing in the Military Bowl to Navy.

In 2017, Penn State began the year by playing the Akron Zips. Unlike the ill-tempered troll of a coach to the west, James Franklin has always preached that every game is as important as every other game. He strives to have the team give the same effort regardless of opponent. After defeating Akron 52-0, the Nittany Lions hosted the Pitt Panthers, winning 33-14 in a game that was nowhere near as close as the final score would indicate.

In the post-game press conference, Coach Franklin was asked about playing Pitt, the importance of the rivalry, and how much the team got up for the game. In so many words, the Head Bald Coach said that the team didn’t get up any more or less than the week before, and they may as well have been playing Akron out there.

And thus, a meme was born. The rest of the year, Penn State’s schedule was officially changed to match whatever Akron they were playing that week. Indiana was Akron-Bloomington; Michigan was Akron-Ann Arbor; Washington was Akron-Pacific Northwest. And so on. Most of the world had a laugh, and moved on with their lives.

But not the Pitt faithful. Oh, no, I assure you that the Pitt fans took that as a very personal and meaningful insult. Had Franklin personally taken each and every one of their mothers out to a nice seafood dinner, and never called them again, they would have been less insulted.

So, these students of an institution of “learning” waited an entire year with that grudge in their hearts. They waited until September 8, 2018, when an unseasonable rash of weather saw torrential rain and a high temperature in the 50s. In that blustery, forlorn stadium, the Pitt students would finally unleash all of their pent up rage; after carrying the insult with them for a full year, they would finally tell James Franklin what they thought of him.

They wouldn’t do it by yelling obscenities at him; they wouldn’t do it by asking why he never called their mothers back – no, they would instead prove to James Franklin that they were, in fact, NOT Akron – by bringing an Akron flag to their student section. Never mind that Pitt and Akron actually share a very similar color scheme, and that by the time the third quarter came to a close, the attendance in the stadium would accurately reflect a home game for the Zips.

No, this incredibly creative plan, laid forth by the top minds of one of the best institutions of “learning” in the country decided to prove that they were not, in fact, Akron, by pretending to be Akron.

And that, my friend, is what you are missing with the whole “Pitt morons holding Zips flag thing.”