"It's the name on the front of the jersey that matters most,
not the one on the back."
- Joseph V. Paterno
I. Case History/Opening Statement
A. Case History
We Penn State fans know two histories. When a conversation comes up about which program has more tradition (otherwise referred to as "better"), we invoke our place among that ten- to fifteen-team long list of college football royalty. We can talk about national titles, undefeated seasons, being in the 800-win club, a hall of fame coach/patron saint, and having one of the few stadiums in the country to fit over 100,000
screaming lunatics fans.
Make your picks in Off Tackle Empire's Annual Obligatory Predictions Competition...This weeks toughest pick? Michigan v. UConn...
However, when someone wants to talk about recent success, we have a very definite timeframe in mind: the past five years, also known as the post-"Dark Years." Things were ugly from 2000-2004. We know. We have blacked it out, and do not understand why everyone else hasn't. From 2005 through last season, however, things have brightened up. We've assumed a position among the conference elite, occasionally capable of putting the local bully Ohio State in its place and trouncing lesser-talented opponents on a consistent basis. I think the fanbase would agree when I say that we're still a step away from where we want to be, but being tied for 7th best winning percentage in the nation over the last five years is not too shabby.
In 2010, this Penn State team will make history in two categories. First, for the first time in Coach Joe's 45 seasons as coach at Penn State, a true freshman quarterback will start in the Nittany Lion's first game. Second, this year's squad will be first team to face three BCS-bowl winners of the previous season...and is playing in enemy territory in all three instances. Will the rest of the team provide the rookie QB with the help he needs to be successful? Is Penn State going to start off with three losses on opening day because of how tough those opponents look on paper? Take your seat in the jury box and hit the jump to find out.
B. Opening Statement
More Closing Arguments:
A. Pop Music Teaches Us
B. Off Tackle Empire Says
Here's some of what we've written about Penn State over the off-season:
III. Emotional Plea
A. You Just Can't Hate JoePa
Do I really need to explain this? The man is a living legend that did not only grow a football powerhouse out of a cow pasture and hard work, but lead the college football world by example for the better part of five decades. Even if you somehow dislike him (I'm looking at you, Commie Ohio State), you have to consider that this may actually be his last season. You're watching history. There will be plenty of successful college football coaches in the future, but I don't see the current college football landscape creating too many more legends. So put your zombie jokes on hold for just a minute this season and enjoy watching a guy who does it the right way.
IV. The Verdict
A. The Staff Calls the Games
Graham Filler: 9-3, losses to Alabama, Iowa, and Ohio State
Jonathan Franz: 10-2, losses to Alabama and Ohio State
Bama Hawkeye: 9-3, losses to Alabama, Iowa, and Ohio State
Paterno Ave: 9-3, losses to Alabama, Northwestern, and Ohio State
GregGoBlue: 9-3, losses to Alabama, Iowa, and Ohio State