I am more than willing to admit that I can be very critical of the Penn State Nittany Lion football team. I see a roster stacked with blue chip players, led by veterans, and think - this team should be crushing their opponents.
Then I sit in front of the TV and fume that Illinois scored on a trick play. That Kent State converted that third down. That Pitt is within striking distance at half. THAT APP STATE TOOK PENN STATE TO OVERTIME.
Every penalty, every broken play, every big gain given up, I sit there and think that the team should be better. That there’s no way they can be truly competitive with those sorts of errors. That we’re overrated.
Then I see the box score. 45-38. 51-6. 63-10. 63-24. Penn State is 4-0, with the average score being 55.5-19.5. The average margin of victory has been 36 points - more than five touchdowns!
Do you remember the John Donovan offense? I do. If we managed to score five touchdowns, we called it a fantastic day on offense.
Sure, this team has flaws. It’s a bunch of college kids playing a game. The run defense lacks push, the defensive ends over-pursue, and the wide receivers drop some balls. Could you safely say that at 18 years old, you were perfect at your chosen calling in life?
It’s a hallmark of the great teams in this country - of which we are one - to get by on pure talent. To play sloppy against lesser opponents, and to gain valuable experience until the big fights come along.
Read through the various comment boards around the internet, and you’ll see similar comments from all over - Bama, Georgia, Ohio State, Clemson. “Oh, our team is terrible, there’s no way we’ll get past [insert rival] playing like that!” As those teams demolish opponents week in and week out.
So, sure: be frustrated when this team makes mistakes. It’s well within your rights as a fan to ask that they play up to their potential. But recognize this team for what it is: fun. They very well may lose a game or two or three this season, but you’re getting to watch one of the top teams in the country each week - so try to enjoy it!