SO I'VE BEEN BUSY this week getting ready for the arrival of Mr and Mrs Kepple from Ohio. Now that that work is done, I can reflect again on the important topics of our time. This week, clearly the most important topic is the Michigan-Penn State football game scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Michigan Stadium (and televised nationally on the ABC television network).
It is clear Michigan must (and God willing shall) defeat the Penn State Nittany Lions. Winning against the nation's No. 10 college football team would be a glorious start to Michigan's Big Ten season, and would energize a team which experienced two soul-crushing losses in the first two games of the season. Besides, Dad has been waiting a long time for Penn State to beat the Maize and Blue, and I'll be mortified if that actually happens.
The last two years, he has been in New Hampshire to watch the game with me, and for the last two years, he has been disappointed. It would be most uncool if I was forced to bear Michigan's loss, because even though I know Dad will be magnanimous in such an event, he will be secretly joyful and privately exult in the Nittany Lions' victory. He may be so joyful that he will let his stoicism slip just slightly, prompting a gleeful shout of "BOOYAH!" sometime in the fourth quarter.
As it happens, Penn State hasn't beaten Michigan SINCE 1996. They've lost their last eight straight games -- the teams didn't meet for a couple of years -- and I have to admit I don't want things to change any time soon. We even beat them in 2005, when Michigan had an abysmal season (we went 7-5, which for Michigan is particularly unacceptable). That we beat them in 2005 gives me hope we'll be able to beat them in 2007.
After all, let's face it -- Michigan has a Secret Weapon. That Secret Weapon is none other than Penn State quarterback Anthony Morelli, who sucks. Watching Morelli "play" will undoubtedly be a highlight for me, because Morelli's suckitude drives Dad into fits of apoplectic frustration. Furthermore, I can take heart knowing that no matter how bad Morelli plays, nothing short of a major injury will cause Joe Paterno to yank him from the game and put in Daryll Clark.
Plus, Penn State's opponents have been uniformily craptacular so far: Florida International, Notre Dame and Buffalo. Craptacular might actually be kind, considering FIU is probably the worst football team in all of Division I-A, Notre Dame hasn't managed to score an offensive touchdown, and Buffalo -- well, my God. It's Buffalo. This is a team whose fans rushed the field when they beat the TEMPLE OWLS a while back. Michigan's opponents have been better, although we did play Notre Dame as well. We beat the Flailing Irish 38-0, while PSU won 31-10. This alone suggests Michigan may have an advantage.
To be sure, Penn State has some advantages over Michigan. I remain convinced that JoePa, who is as wily and cranky as ever, will figure out how to outcoach and outfox Lloyd Carr, Michigan's exasperating head coach. And don't get me started on Michigan's hideous offensive playcalling. Let's face it -- Penn State can win the game if they just prepare for the run up the middle on first and second downs. I don't care if it's Mike Hart doing the running, either; an effective running game needs an effective passing game and vice versa. Plus, their defense will undoubtedly prove better than our own unit, which would have trouble defending against a junior high squad.
Still, I can only hope that Michigan's desperation NOT to be 1-3 following this game, and to salvage something of their season, will prove a stronger intangible than Penn State's desire to finally win one against Michigan. Speaking of Michigan, Lou Holtz called us "an arrogant bunch" tonight during halftime of the A&M-Miami game. I think he is just jealous.Posted by Benjamin Kepple at September 20, 2007 10:51 PM | TrackBack