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Okay...Now the Penn State Predictions


The Wildcats play the Nittany Lions at State College (PA). Penn State scheduled Northwestern for their Homecoming game. One has to wonder what thoughts went into that decision. I mean, you normally schedule someone you are betting annual alumni contributions you can beat. Recall that Nebraska chose NU as their first B1G Homecoming patsy foe. Also recall how well that turned out for the Cornhuskers. 

I think Minnesota also scheduled Northwestern for their Homecoming. I’ll have to check and see if Michigan and Michigan State also scheduled the Wildcats for Homecoming. Dear Big Ten, it’s not 1980 anymore. Just saying…

But I digress. 

History, probability, and reality...let’s use those as this week’s The Good, The Bad, and The Probable.


The Good:

Northwestern enters the arena at Penn State. The PSU alums are expecting a win...that’s why NU is the guest at so many Homecomings. The weather, like the crowd, is threatening. Penn State is feeling the momentum of three straight wins. They have defeated NU for the past several years. It is the most hostile environment the Wildcats have faced this year. 

The Wildcats have their own momentum - five straight wins, a record amount of offense the previous week, and one of the top running defenses in the country. Northwestern’s success this year is a big surprise to most people, but not the team nor the coaches. 

“Ancient” history suggests the Nittany Lions will prevail. More recent history suggests the Wildcats will win. On paper, the Wildcats have a slight edge. On territory, the Nittany Lions have the edge. 

Northwestern’s defense takes the field. PSU opens up with a pass attempt, which is batted away. On 2nd down, the Lions try to run up the middle and are stuffed. Third down is equally fruitless. Punting is obvious...but the punter forgets Venric Mark is a weapon; the ball is returned a good portion of the field to set up the Wildcat offense. 

On the first Wildcat possession, Siemian is quarterback and Colter is a wide receiver; it resembles what Indiana faced the previous week. The Lions are ready...and Mark tears up the middle for a large gain. Second and short, Siemian drops back to pass, the PSU secondary focuses on Colter...and completely misses coverage on the rest of the B1G’s best receiver corps. The Wildcats get another series of downs. And another. And another. Not long after getting the ball, the Wildcats cash in for a touchdown; the PAT is automatic. 

The game continues in much the same vein. By halftime the Wildcats are out to a 24 - 7 lead. The PSU faithful look forward to the second half - their “traditional” time to rally against the Wildcats. But this year, it doesn’t work. At all. Coach Fitz doesn’t let up, the defense doesn’t have a lapse, and the offense puts on a clinic. By the middle of the 4th quarter the crowd is fleeing the stadium. Time expires: Wildcats 38 - Nittany Lions 21. The doubters are shocked into becoming believers. 


The Bad:

Northwestern enters the arena at Penn State. The PSU alums are expecting a win...that’s why NU is the guest at so many Homecomings. The weather, like the crowd, is threatening. Penn State is feeling the momentum of three straight wins. They have defeated NU for the past several years. It is the most hostile environment the Wildcats have faced this year. 

The Wildcats have their own momentum - five straight wins, a record amount of offense the previous week, and one of the top running defenses in the country. Northwestern’s success this year is a big surprise to most people, but not the team nor the coaches. 

“Ancient” history suggests the Nittany Lions will prevail. More recent history suggests the Wildcats will win. On paper, the Wildcats have a slight edge. On territory, the Nittany Lions have the edge. 

Northwestern’s defense takes the field. PSU opens up with a pass attempt, which burns the secondary. On the next down, the Lions try to run up the middle and get a few yards. The third play from scrimmage is another successful pass. The Nittany Lions quickly drive down the field and put a TD (and PAT) on the board. 

On NU’s first possession, Siemian is quarterback and Colter is a wide receiver; it resembles what Indiana faced the previous week. The Lions are ready...and it shows as a pass to Colter is batted down. Second and 10, Siemian drops back to pass, the PSU secondary focuses on Colter...and once again knocks down the pass to Colter. On third and 10, Mark goes up the middle but is short of the first. Punt. 

The game continues in much the same vein. By halftime PSU is out to a 24 - 7 lead. The PSU faithful look forward to the second half - their “traditional” time to rally against the Wildcats. After halftime the game turns decidedly ugly. Penn State turns on the afterburners as the Northwestern D collapses. By the middle of the 4th quarter the purple in the crowd is fleeing the stadium. Time expires: NU 21 - PSU 52. The doubters are jubilant as they feel justified.


The Probable:

Northwestern enters the arena at Penn State. The PSU alums are expecting a win...that’s why NU is the guest at so many Homecomings. The weather, like the crowd, is threatening. Penn State is feeling the momentum of three straight wins. They have defeated NU for the past several years. It is the most hostile environment the Wildcats have faced this year. 

The Wildcats have their own momentum - five straight wins, a record amount of offense the previous week, and one of the top running defenses in the country. Northwestern’s success this year is a big surprise to most people, but not the team nor the coaches. 

“Ancient” history suggests the Nittany Lions will prevail. More recent history suggests the Wildcats will win. On paper, the Wildcats have a slight edge. On territory, the Nittany Lions have the edge. 

Northwestern’s defense takes the field. PSU opens up with a pass attempt, which is batted away. On 2nd down, the Lions try to run up the middle and are stuffed. Third down is a successful pass for a first down. Penn State grinds down the field via the air but is held short of the goal line. The PSU faithful cross their fingers as their kicker approaches the ball...and the ball sails wide of the posts.  

On NU’s first possession, Siemian is quarterback and Colter is a wide receiver; it resembles what Indiana faced the previous week. The Lions are ready...and Mark tears up the middle for a large gain. Second and short, Siemian drops back to pass, the PSU secondary focuses on Colter...and Colter comes up with a first down. The Wildcats get another series of downs. And another. And another. Not long after getting the ball, the Wildcats cash in for a touchdown; the PAT is automatic. 

The first half continues in much the same vein. By halftime the Wildcats are out to a 21 - 10 lead. The PSU faithful look forward to the second half - their “traditional” time to rally against the Wildcats...

...And the third quarter does indeed go bad for the Wildcats. By the start of the fourth quarter, Penn State has a 24 - 21 lead. Coach Fitz is livid and lights a fire under the whole team. Northwestern quickly regains the lead and takes the fight to Penn State. The game turns into a tough slugfest, but Northwestern gradually extends their lead. With under two minutes, Northwestern has the ball. The Penn State crowd starts to filter out of the stadium. Time expires: Wildcats 42 - Nittany Lions 32. The doubters are shocked into becoming believers. 


Other Things

We are now into Week 6 of “Undefeated Watch”. We’re still watching Ohio State and Northwestern. Alas, Minnesota lost to Iowa last weekend at Iowa’s Homecoming. The loss, beyond the obvious disappointment, led to the Gophers relinquishing “Floyd of Rosedale” or something like that. Yes, the annual Iowa-Minnesota game has a trophy riding on it - a rather large bronze(?) idol of a rather ordinary looking pig. This is a big deal. To follow up on Floyd, the Gophers are betting that they will bring home the Brass Spittoon. 

Oh...hio State… the Big Ten prides itself on its academics. Whenever the SEC is playing with themselves for a National Championship, the Big Ten points out that *their* athletes are actually students and scholars first. But apparently someone at “The Ohio State University” didn’t get the memo according to SI.com and the Detroit Free Press. Quoting from SI’s website:

Ohio State third-string quarterback freshman Cardale Jones gave his opinion on Friday via Twitter about what he thinks about attending class, reports the Detroit Free Press.
“Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play FOOTBALL, we ain’t come to play SCHOOL classes are POINTLESS,” he wrote on Twitter.
Wow! My 5th grade English teacher (Ms. Grant) would have made me diagram a thousand sentences for torturing the English language in such a way. 

Mr. Jones, you might reconsider the value of classes, particularly English classes. You are the “third-string quarterback” behind Braxton Miller and someone else better than you. Even assuming that Mr. Miller and Mr. Unknown graduate or leave to join the NFL, do you think that Coach Meyer will stop recruiting other QBs over the next few years on the belief that *you* will be THE Answer at Quarterback for how many years you will have left between Mr. Miller’s graduation and your own? (Let me know if I need to make the sentence shorter.) This, of course, assumes that you do not flunk out of tOSU due to your lack of academic prowess in so-called “pointless classes”. 

Remember Mr. Jones, even if you get a few years in the NFL (or CFL or Arena Football), eventually your job will not involve you playing football. If you get a diploma from Ohio State, chances are you will get a decent job and earn a good living. If the academics continue to be “POINTLESS” I suggest that you learn the phrase “Do you want fries with that?”.

Going out on a limb, I’m guessing that Northwestern did not try to recruit you. 


More later.

Go Cats!

BJ Mitchell (Former NUMB Spirit Leader)
Twitter: @nuspiritleader. 

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