Long time friend of the 'Brew and proprietor of Black Shoe Diaries, the alpha dog of all Penn State Blogs, Mike is getting excited about this weekend's game against Michigan. In fact someone better get him a towel.
I'm sorry Michigan, but you don't stand a chance in this game. Penn State is not looking past you. Your defense will not hold up against the Penn State juggernaut. There is only one coach that has successfully taken the Big Ten by storm with the Spread, and his initials are not R.R.
Not to point out the obvious, but I wouldn't suggest that the initials behind the "spread" are J.P. either. Jay/Joe Paterno aren't responsible for this. Darryll Clark is. Just as Michael Robinson was in 2005. Jay Pa's incompetence has been well chronicled by BSD over the years. Even a moron can catch lightning in a bottle from time to time (Ex. A - Moeller, Andy: coaching Jake Long). So I'm not going to let the "spread" comment go unchallenged, especially when Rodriguez is the guy that is credited with inventing the spread. Jay Pa's still the worst position coach in the Big Ten. If you wish to argue this point, I present the following evidence.
I'm just saying.
But, in all fairness, Mike is probably right. Michigan is terrible this year. The offense is a mess. They're unranked. The Defense believes third and long means nap time. Stevie Brown and Charles Stewart are our safeties. Our offensive line hasn't started in the same alignment all year. Steven Threet hurt his elbow and Nick Sherridan couldn't hit the ground if he fell off a cliff. Our defensive coordinator likes to blitz on every possible down, except those downs where pressure makes sense. Our offensive coordinator thinks touchdowns are scored sideline to sideline rather than endzone to endzone. Sky falls. Seas boil. Moon as blood. yada yada yada.
On paper, yeah, Penn State is a much better team than Michigan.
People can point to the winning streak as evidence that Michigan will win. I'm in the camp that thinks winning streaks may have a psychological edge going into a game, or maybe even in a close game, but for the most part don't mean jack. I'll second Mike on this one:
Look, you have a nine game winning streak going and that's all. The events of eight years ago have no bearing on this Saturday. You could say your defensive line owned Anthony Morelli or that Mike Hart owned our defensive line, but those guys are gone now.
True. The team is brand new. This is a new group with new strengths and mostly flaws at this point. Michigan, on paper, shouldn't win this game. But stranger things have happened, a few of which I've borne witness to personally.
Colorado v. Michigan, 1994 - How many times does a hail mary pass work? If you're lucky you'll see one of them live. In your life time. I saw mine from the wrong end of a 27-26 Colorado win during my freshman year. Sucked the air and life out of the whole damn place. The only solace was watching the two Colorado fans dumb enough to rush the field get the holy hell pounded out of them my the State Police.
Stanford v. USC, 2007 - Ohhhh, I couldn't look away from this one. It was just so beautifully ugly. Stanford was and is the worst team in the PAC-10. USC the gold standard. The largest point spread in NCAA history. So what happens? Stanford upsets the #2 ranked Trojans 24-23 in the Coliseum.
Appalachian State v. Michigan, 2007 - obv.
Louisiana-Monroe v. Alabama, 2007 - Saban seems to have recovered from losing to a 24 1/2 point dog, at home. But still, this loss stung the Tide faithful even more than losing seasons under Shula.
Vanderbilt v. Georgia, 2006 - Homecoming for the Dawgs, the Jocks were supposed to stomp on the Commodores and reclaim their spot on the Greek Counsel. Yeah, not so much. The Nerds ruined homecoming, got the girl, and sent No. 16 Georgia eventually into the Chick-fil-A bowl, which despite being absolutely delicious, is not where the Dawgs wanted to be.
Notre Dame v. Boston College - Pick a game, really.
Something else is missing...
what was that game?
Penn State v. Michigan, 2005 - Something about a #8 ranked team, undefeated, supposed to steam roll a crappy young Michigan team, National Championship train w000000000000t!1!!!11!! PSU had the spread offense all up in this biatch, Michigan had a young mistake prone robot quarterback, underachieving defense, and Michigan had just lost to Minnesota, Wisconsin, a bad Notre Dame team and could've easily been 2-4. Michigan was supposed to get blasted. How'd that end again?
Now do I think Michigan's going to repeat it's 2005 performance? Probably not. There are too many things that have gone wrong this year. And frankly, the coaching hasn't been that good. But Michigan's shown the ability to string together quarters of competency before. And if this just happens to be the game they do it for four of them, well, then you never know.
Confidence can be both a blessing and a curse. Sometimes it leads you to new heights, as it did when Michigan thumped Florida in the Citrus Bowl or to new depths when a small school from North Carolina punked the Wolerines in their own house. It's a dangerous thing.
Bad or not, never take a talented team lightly. Michigan may be bad right now, but I'd have to believe the Kool-Aid is spiked with some kind of hallucinogen if anyone's going to claim this team doesn't have talent. If you're looking for further evidence that anything can happen, ask Peter over at Burnt Orange Nation about those losses to A&M, Rock M Nation about losing to Oklahoma State, or any MSU fan about the Spartans' bizzarre pattern of swapping wins and losses with Northwestern.
It's not out of the realm of possibility, is it? So, before you take too long a drag on that Kool-Aid, just consider the alternative.