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All-Time WORST Big Ten Team Ever Challenge, Game 1 - 2006 Michigan State vs. 2003 Penn State

And we're off! The lol-fest begins with an unveiling of two unfit under-performing units of 2006 Michigan State and 2003 Penn State. Remember, every game will be a one-game simulation on What-If Sports. All the rules and initial thoughts can be found here. But unlike those seasons, Sparty and Penn State fans, you haven't forgotten the rules. Right?

#8: 2006 Michigan State

4-8 (1-7)

The John L. Smith era ended with this clunker of a season that saw Sparty jump out to a quick 3-0 start, lose a close 40-37 game to a Notre Dame team that finished 10-3, then completely fold, winning only one game of their last eight, a 41-38 triumph over 4-8 Northwestern. You might remember that game. Michigan State was led by Drew Stanton, who battled injuries and only threw for 1807 yards with 12 TDs to 10 INTs. And you know it's coming, but who can resist this .gif?

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#9: 2003 Penn State

3-9 (1-7)

To be fair to this Penn State team, they only lost one game to a team with a losing record, a 17-7 defeat at the hands of 6-7 Northwestern. It just doesn’t help that the teams they beat…weren’t very good. Wins over 1-11 Temple, 5-7 Kent State, and 2-10 Indiana do little to help this squad during some of the late Joe Paterno’s (rest in peace, Joe) darkest (competitively speaking, nowadays) days. No PSU running back notched more than 510 yards in an RB-by-committee backfield, while the usually vaunted-Linebacker U defense allowed 209.1 rushing YPG and the Nittany Lions kicking game was 11-21 on FGs and 26-29 on PATs.

Nittany-lion1_medium

Ugliest fucking mascot in the Big Ten. And I see you, Purdue Pete and Lil' Red.

Can Penn State allow Sparty to run roughshod over their once-great defense? Will John L. Smith go slap-happy in this one?

2003 Penn State loses, 23-20

B5oou_medium

27zog_medium

(click to make 'em bigger, folks)

Ah, the classic 9-beatsloses to-8 upset. Two missed field goals by Robbie Gould would prove costly for the Nittany Lions, and a 13-33 day passing by Zach Mills didn’t help the situation. Michigan State did their best to help Penn State out, but two sacks allowed, a lost fumble, and a Drew Stanton interception weren’t enough to send the Spartans tumbling into the next round. Instead, Penn State licks their wounds and heads for a showdown with the #1 seed, 0-11 Illinois of 1997.

Goat of the Game: Robbie Gould--two missed field goals will cost you, even if they are from distance. Scrub. I bet he never makes a career out of kicking.

So the bracket stands:

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Stay tuned for 1996 Purdue and 2011 Ohio State, sometime soon! In the meantime, Penn State advances (regresses?) to a showdown slapfight with 1997 Illinois. For their efforts, though, they take with them a traveling trophy that summarizes what "losing" is.

Land-grant-trophy_medium

Elated members of the 2003* Penn State football team celebrate their loss to Michigan State by running over to the Spartan sidelines and claiming the world's largest bowling trophy.

*Note: I don't really care what year this actually was. That trophy sucks.

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