Penn State went back to double-digit win seasons, Big Ten championship runs, New Years Six bowl invites, and making noise in the playoff conversation even if the Lions haven’t quite figured out how to close the door against the so-called big boys of the conference. The latter will happen in time, I have no doubt, but poor old Rutgers seems destined to remain the easy game on everyone's schedule. Considering how we’ve been treated as fans during our most recent trips to Piscataway, I don’t feel the least bit bad about it either. Even Temple managed to put the squeeze on us at our lowest, but Rutgers? Almost was as far as they could get.
The College Football Playoff rankings came out on Tuesday and surprise, surprise, WE ARE sitting at No. 14 with our toughest battles in the rear-view mirror. It may not be the ranking we all aspired for back in August, and as late as early October, but if we handle our business and let the dominoes fall as they often do in November, a New Year’s Six bowl is not out of the equation. It seems the outsiders like our team just a little more than some of us do, go figure. The Peach, Fiesta, and Rose have been mentioned as possible destinations as have the Citrus and Outback as well. They all land on that coveted January 1st date that seems to separate the great from the good for all those who were screaming doom and gloom as well as Pinstripe just a few weeks ago.
Standing in our way is poor old Rutgers once again, with a fan base that just this week figured it was better to trash our coach rather than respect their opponent. An opponent, I remind them if anyone is reading that bleeds scarlet and black, that owns a 26-2 overall record over them and hasn’t lost since 1988. Then again, they once had the commitment of a superhuman named Saquon on their side until FrankLion swooped in and took him away, so I guess I get all the animosity on their part to a degree.
Nevertheless, the Nittany Lions have a ton left to play for and poor old Rutgers is left in the position it ’s become accustomed to. There may come a time in this long-standing ‘rivalry' when those Scarlet Knights give us a run for our money once again but at the moment, these are two squads headed in completely opposite directions and I fully expect to hand out a ton of Penn State helmet stickers on Monday: Penn State 65, Poor Old Rutgers 12.