Friday, October 17, 2008

Into the Happy Valley of Death Ride the Michigan Wolverines

Into the Valley of Death charged The Light Brigade, and into Happy Valley will limp the clawless Wolverines.

Anyone who believes that the once, and future, mighty Michigan Wolverines will defeat the Penn State Nittany Lions tomorrow, please stand up, sing the Victors, and tell us what you’re inhaling.

This is the year that Joseph Vincent Paterno must get off the snider and proves he can win.

So what if he is the winningest coach in college football history with 379 victories out of 507 games?

So what if he’s had five perfect seasons and two national championships?

So what if JoePa beat Bobby Bowden three years ago in the Geezer/Orange Bowl?

So what if Paterno is the only coach to win all five major bowls: Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, and Cotton?

So what if Penn State is currently ranked third on the country with a 7-0 record and Michigan is 2-4?

So what if Penn State is in the Top Ten and Michigan in the Bottom Ten?

So what if Penn State is favored by 23 ½ points?

So what if the Pennsylvania State University named its library for him?

Penn State is snake bit in this game. The tabbies have not won since 1996, losing 9 straight to Michigan. Penn state was the favorite in 5 of those games.

Three years ago Mario Manningham, the phenom freshman, caught a last second pass to steal the victory. Coach Lloyd Carr had successfully lobbied the officials to add a few seconds to the game clock.

Two years ago Michigan’s ferocious defense knocked Penn State’s first and second team quarterbacks out of the game and held on to a 17-10 win. Michigan squeezed out a 14-9 victory last year because Penn State’s QB fumbled on his own 10 yard line.

42years of coaching and Michigan has his number.

This year Penn State has a great offense, alternating between traditional and spread offenses, an outstanding defense, and exciting special teams – all of which Michigan is lacking this year.

We don’t even know which Michigan team will show up on Saturday – the team with the starting QB, who from the Toledo 5 yard line last week threw a 100 yard touchdown pass to a wide open defensive back, or the second string QB who runs better, but can’t hit the side of a barn with a blunderbuss?

Michigan is improving. Against Notre dame four weeks ago, the Wolverines committed 8 fumbles and interceptions. They lowered the number to 5 the following week against Wisconsin, stayed at 5 in a blowout loss to Illinois two weeks ago, and then only committed 4 against Toledo last week.

In short, Michigan has Penn State right where it wants it – ripe for an upset as the Nittany Lions look past Michigan to Columbus, Ohio next weekend.

Did I mention that from 2002 to the present, over 40 Penn State football players had 163 criminal charges filed against them?

And did I mention that Penn State’s President and Athletic Director want to put Joe Pa out to pasture at season’s end, when he turns 82? Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Hail to the Victors.

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