A new year, a new countdown.
At this time last year, we weren’t sure if there was much of a point of starting the countdown as the prospects of a 2020 season appeared bleak. However, we moved forward and began the countdown as usual as the games remained on the schedule. We then had to jump back in the countdown as a new schedule was created. Then the countdown came to an abrupt end with the announcement there would be no Big Ten Football in the fall. Against all odds, the countdown was revitalized once again with the announcement the Big Ten would join the other conferences and have a fall season.
Hopefully, this year’s countdown will be a much more direct path from 100 to 0. While the future is never a certainty, the week one showdown between Penn State and Wisconsin seems to be on much firmer ground than a year ago.
There is much to anticipate as we look forward to the September 4 date in Madison. For one, the first half of the schedule is far more interesting than any in recent memory. After the week one battle with Wisconsin, the Nittany Lions will have their home opener against the defending MAC champions Ball State. Then Auburn comes to town in week three, a primetime ABC showdown with some major early season implications. That is followed up by what should be a surefire victory against Villanova, before the fourth consecutive home game as the Nittany Lions look to avenge the stunningly heartbreaking loss* to Indiana. After four straight home games, Penn State travels to the house of horrors known as Kinnick Stadium to take on Iowa.
That’s all by October 9.
The second half of the schedule is highlighted with a trip to Columbus on Halloween Eve, as well as the likely Whiteout game against Michigan on November 13.
There’s also the question of whether or not Penn State can fully recover from the 4-5 record in 2020. All signs point to yes, as the 2021 squad will feature a much more experienced and talented overall roster, boosted by several quality arrivals from the transport portal. The fact that the season ended on a four-game winning streak, and the team played much closer to its potential as the season wound down, indicates this team knows how to win, and expects nothing less each week.
However, nothing is guaranteed and there are a multitude of questions that need to be answered for Penn State to reach its lofty goals. We’ll go over those questions in much greater details in the next few months, but for now, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and think about the possibility of 107,000 boisterous fans in Beaver Stadium celebrating a thrilling triumph by the Nittany Lions.
Makes you wish it was already September.