Unfortunately, we are not in a perfect world and the Penn State Nittany Lion football team has demonstrated that lately. For whatever reason, the season started with a thud and with injury as its centerpiece. A game that not too long ago looked like a sure thing has suddenly turned into a must-win situation. Given the circumstances surrounding our beloved Lions at the moment, this one has the potential to not be a Gopher hunt at all. In this situation, we turn in to the hunted. I know I’ve been known to say it’s only a game, but folks, this one has turned itself into a game that could make or break the entire season. With Homecoming on the horizon, and the disaster at the hands of Michigan directly behind us, this one is as big as it gets. Sadly, we’re not in a perfect world and our Nittany Lions are the center of attention.
It’s been a long week to say the least. Perhaps a loss like the one we took in Pittsburgh would have been more accepted, but I have my doubts. Something tells me that those who expect perfection would not have found a silver-lining, no matter how close the score could have been last week, or how decimated our defense is by injuries. I am beginning to understand that side of the football-culture we were scolded about four years ago. Personally, I was always led to believe that our “culture” was much more than wins and losses. In that regard, WE ARE everything we always were. Our student-athletes graduate on time, they keep their noses clean, and are shining stars in the community. In a perfect world, that would be something to take tremendous pride in, but alas, we live in anything but a perfect world and this Gopher hunt on Saturday has turned into a do-or-die showdown, at least in the eyes of those that strive for perfection.
For the record, James Franklin received another vote of confidence this week from his boss, AD Sandy Barbour. In her words, “he is not on any hot seat, and he will not be on the hot seat in December”. Of course, even that wasn’t good enough to sway those sitting on the fence. We all knew a trip to Michigan was going to be a tough road to conquer, yet here we are today potentially staring at the beginning of the end. A loss to Minnesota would stoke a flickering flame into a massive three-alarm bonfire, no matter what Sandy B. has to say. I shudder to think of the aftermath. Thankfully, we won’t have to suffer through another week like the week that just passed. In a perfect world, Penn State would send those Gophers home to the mid-west wondering what hit them, but in our world I’ll simply be satisfied to watch our Nittany Lions ring that victory bell once again. Even if they have to scratch and claw to get there. We may not be perfect, but in the end, the love of Happy Valley is too much for those Gophers to overcome: Penn State 37 Gophers 20.