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MMQB - Managing Expectations

It can’t always be rainbows and butterflies

NCAA Football: Penn State at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State is 5-0. Undefeated. #6 in the country. Averaging 40.6 points per game (PPG), while only surrendering 9.6 PPG. Have yet to truly be in danger of a loss.

And people are losing their minds.

Maybe that’s unfair. People are criticizing a team they love, and that they want to see succeed.

But goll-LEE you’d think this was the worst team in the country reading some message boards.

Penn State has warts. The run game has yet to find its explosiveness from a year ago. The passing game is lacking a bonafide deep threat, and seems content to dink and dunk instead of taking deep shots. The run defense is still suspect at times, and third and long continues to be an odd thorn in the Lions’ side (paw?).

But . . . they’re undefeated. They’re firmly in the top 10. Against the two best teams they’ve played so far (West Virginia and Iowa), they’ve put up a combined score of 69 (nice) to 15.

Of course the biggest measuring sticks are yet to come. Two games that will more or less define Penn State’s seasons going forward. And if you take only the bad things, then sure, PSU likely gets laughed out of the stadium, goes 10-2 again, and plays in a consolation NY6 bowl again.

Personally, I’m guessing for those two games that we’ll see much more of the good than the bad. Yes, you’d like to see them sleepwalk through teams like Northwestern and go up 21-0 in the first five minutes of the game and then cruise the rest of the way. But they’re getting it done, and when they do turn it on, they’re as dangerous as anyone in the country.

So perhaps we can all manage our expectations a bit. Recognize that these are human beings out there, that have good days and bad days. Good plays and bad plays. And they want to win - in general, yes, but those two games especially so - more than we do. And let’s all try to enjoy the ride a bit more.