If you sense a hint of disdain towards our final regular-season opponent, you are correct. Proximity may make us as natural a rival as anyone this side of Pittsburgh, but the stunt that Maryland pulled in 2014, their first season as a member of the Big Ten Conference, was enough to give us locker room motivation for years to come. In case you forgot already, leave it to me to remind you of the pre-game handshake that never was as the Maryland captains refused to shake hands prior to the coin toss at Beaver Stadium three years ago. We lost that day 21-20, which made the sting of that no-handshake hurt a little worse than it already did. Now, I may hold a grudge longer than some, but it’s safe to say this week hasn’t passed by without that incident being relived at least once or twice as our Nittany Lions prepare to go for win number 10 and Maryland tries again to salvage some kind of dignity in another five-win season. Just remember, you reap what you sow.
Last week we said goodbye to our Senior Class of 23, a band of brothers that had a major hand in elevating Penn State back into the Top 10, and this week we say goodbye to the season of great expectations. It’s never easy saying farewell, especially to something that came oh so close to meeting our lofty standards. Four points away from being undefeated; it may as well have been a thousand. At least then, there would be no lingering questions. As it stands, we're on the outside looking in with the two ‘best' losses in America, if that’s any kind of consolation. I get the impression that we have evolved into a ‘playoffs or bust' fan base, but remind you all where we were just a few years ago: getting beat by Maryland, at home no less, and they didn’t even have the common decency to shake our hands. Those days are far behind us, thank goodness, and we still have New Year’s Day bowls knocking on our door with a win on Saturday. Penn State – 47 Maryland – 14. Hope you all saved room for that turtle soup we speak of, and save a date on your calendars for our Nittany Lions on New Year’s Day.