The fun of talking shit has been removed from State College. Most Nittany Lions fans remain silent, knowing that opposing fans will most certainly "go there" if prodded. It makes things uncomfortable for everybody. But Penn State fans are really into this whole martyr thing. They like this team. All losses get a pass. All wins are big wins. To be honest, Penn State seems to be in a better place than us overall, and they are coming off of the worst thing ever...and have 20 less scholarships. Their entire history has been erased. Their reputations sullied. And yet, their fans are happier than ours. I don't know if that's a testament to their resiliency or their stupidity.
Beaver stadium sits atop a hill that requires a moderate climb, making you pine for the convenience of Michigan Stadium having you enter half way up the stands. Once you're in, you've got to make your way to the top of the spaceship-like endzone addition, as the away team seats are closer to the clouds than to the field.
Penn State does the stadium experience better than Michigan does. It's somewhat annoying, but the stadium DJ plays music nearly every defensive down. He's got a 5 or 6 song rotation, each with the same effect and vigor of Michigan's "Seven Nation Army" one trick pony. I don't know what the rule is for playing music when the opposing team's offense is on the field...but they take it to the limit, and I think it has an effect. Therefore...we should also do that.
And there was a game. And it can be summed up fairly simply: The first half was pretty much the same as Akron and UCONN, full of ineptitude, turnovers, and Devin Gardner continuing to sully the jersey of a legend. The second half was also pretty much the same as Akron and UCONN, with Michigan going into "the basic offense," leaning on the defense to make a play or two, and making a comeback. But unfortunately, even with 60 scholarships, Penn State had markedly more talent than Akron or UCONN. And so it was time. Time for what we all expected, even if we didn't expect it on this day. There would not be enough to overcome the mistakes. A final drive by Penn State against the patented Michigan prevent defense tied it, and the most offensively inept overtime in college football history followed, mostly due to a level of playcalling conservatism that had Bo and Lloyd screaming "throw the ball" at the TV screen. We settled for field goals, and there would be no brunette girls so save the day this time.
The shine has pretty much worn off of this coaching staff. When you play not to lose, it can be really tough to win. And what have you seen improve and develop over the past couple of seasons? Does it not feel like we are getting worse? It's tough to do anything other than question the future.
Sure, sure, there's a place here for "this will finally be the wakeup call." They could get better. They could find a scheme that works for them offensively. MSU and OSU are still in front of us. Indy is still possible. And I always believe that the best things happen when you are an underdog, so there could be some season salvaging bright spots ahead. The problem is Michigan just doesn't pass the eye test for me. Something isn't right. This isn't adding up.
Oh well, let's get drunk and suit up again on Saturday and see what happens.