Pregame Predictor: The Evil Empire
The intimidation is enough to concede on the spot and receive a fair shake for doing so. The shear thought of Urban Meyer prowling the sidelines, with LJ by his side. The triple-headed monster at quarterback. Joey Bosa coming full speed ahead like a freight train with muscle. That dreaded memory of a 63-14 pounding the last time our Nittany Lions traveled west into Ohio. More on that one later, but just to think about it makes me cringe. As ugly a loss as we've ever seen. With all of those visions of fear dancing around in my head, it may as well be Halloween two weeks early.
Make no mistake about it, this is a battle of David and Goliath. A crowned champion on a quest for yet another W. The only thing standing in their way? A hungry pride of Lions. A group of men with nothing to lose and everything to gain. Mainly respect. We've been down this lonely road before. This has become a road we are all in tune with, for better or worse. The perennial underdogs and proud of it. What we don't match pound for pound, we make up for with heart. This is who WE ARE and what we have come to represent. Our backs have been against the wall and it has yet to bring us down. I was there last October. I witnessed the most improbable with my own two eyes. The score didn't end up in our favor but the point was made loud and clear. Even at our lowest moment, these Lions come to fight. Always have and always will.
We owe them one. We owe them for the missed calls and bad reffing during last season's White Out. The interception that really was not. The field goal when the clock read ZERO. We owe them for 2013. Not just for the final score, 63-14 may I remind you, but we owe them for making a challenge on a fourth down ball placement with just over 6 minutes left. At the time, they were up 56-7. Who does that? On that night, Urban Meyer did and won that challenge. We owe them for the successful onside kick before halftime when they were winning 35-7. Who does that? THEY DO. In 2012, directly on the heels of the crippling sanctions, Meyer reported Penn State to the NCAA for 2 minor rules violations. Who does that, under the circumstances? He does. Ruthless, no holds barred football. Take the little guy and smash him in the face. Rub his nose in the dirt. That's what they do and they do it to perfection. The proverbial bully on the playground. You see, this game goes beyond the realm of X's and O's. We all know the names and the players involved, but it's much deeper than that. This game is all that's good about college football versus all that is bad about it. Mano a mano. Toe to toe with the big bad behemoth that is Ohio State.
A wise man once said, "Don't bet with your heart". Good thing I am not a betting man. There is no fear in our young Lions. They have faced the Dark Side before and have always given 110%. All things must come to an end and on October 17th, under the lights, a streak will come to a crashing halt. For 18 games straight, the Evil Empire has kicked sand in the face of every one it has come up against. This time, the bully meets its match. Penn State gains a small slice of redemption 24-20 in an old-fashioned slugfest. Chalk one up for the good guys.