Pregame Predictor: Michigan State

Pregame Predictor: Michigan State

So it has all come down to this. A year that began with so much promise and anticipation ends with Penn State relegated to play the role of spoiler. Nothing more, nothing less. It's a three-way battle for a slot in the Big Ten Championship game next week and the hated Buckeyes of OSU have become Penn State’s instant ally. If OSU beats Michigan and we somehow beat Michigan State, Ohio State is in. Forgive me if I hope they fall flat on their faces. The world has officially fallen into a state of chaos when you turn on ESPN and see the Ohio State student section spell out WE ARE PENN STATE in white t-shirts. The irony of it all is they actually think we have a shot. In fact, they're banking on it.

It's a shame I can't say the same about us. Seems to me, most who bleed Blue and White have thrown in the white towel. We have waived the flag of submission. After 11 weeks of confidence in victory, we have become certain the regular season will end with a loss The Road to Redemption has officially fizzled out. Quite frankly, I don't ever recall our fans feeling this hopeless heading into a season finale. Not even as 24-point dogs to Wisconsin in 2013. As we all know, anything is possible on any given Saturday. The Nittany Lions are FAR from being a skinned cat before they land in East Lansing, Michigan. We may have already faced the music, but in no way have those who strap on their chinstraps called it quits. They have a spring in their step and their eyes on an upset. You may not want to hear it, but that's the way I see it.

Penn State enters their season finale against the Spartans of Michigan State as 11-point road underdogs. In other words, they don't stand a chance. Or do they? I think we do. Sparty may be in a fight for a Big Ten title, but our Nittany Lions are in a battle for pride and respect. This game is a game of intangibles and I have the formula for a Penn State victory. First of all, MSU has hovered under the cloud of "overrated" most of the year. When they finally lost to Nebraska a few weeks ago, a team with its share of problems, very few were shocked. So, they flew into Columbus, Ohio last week and knocked the Buckeyes off their perch. Big win for Sparty, I tip my cap. We all do. Any day the Buckeyes get punched in the mouth is a good day. To watch their meltdown in the aftermath was even better. The thing is, Ohio State has been playing overrated all season. They've been ripe for the picking and left it up to their old nemesis to finally expose their flaws. As much as we've heard the term, "poor play-calling," ourselves this year, the Buckeyes ramped it up a notch. In other words, it was a good win but nothing great. They were due. A week later, I ask the question, did they leave it all out on the field?

If Penn State comes in with nothing to lose and plays to its full potential, then this one will be a dogfight. We match up well with the Spartans. As good as they looked a week ago, they have spent the entire year playing down to the competition. As for us, there is no excuse to not go out there and let the ball fly. We have nothing to lose, a month to rest afterwards, and everything to gain.

The Big Ten Conference likes to call this Rivalry Week. Whether we are rivals or not, there have been some great games in the battle for the Land Grant Trophy, one of the ugliest trophies in college football. Penn State leads the overall series by a fairly large margin 13-6, but let's face the facts, right now we are looking UP at Sparty. We WERE who they have become under Mark D'Antonio. There was a time not so long ago when Michigan State played the role of spoiler and we were the big dog chasing the bone. We all so desperately want to return to the way it was. I hold no ill feelings towards Michigan State. They play tough, hard-nosed football and they play it with class. But today, my friends, they represent a target. They have a championship to lose and against all odds I'm picking this one as our final stand. I have to. There is no other choice but to stand and fight beside our Blue and White until the final whistle blows. The Road To Redemption makes this one a stop to remember: Penn State 21- MSU 10