Big Opportunities Loom for Both Ohio and Penn State< < Back to
Imagine doing something the same way for 46 years, achieving great success at it, and then having it abruptly end in bewilderment and disgust.
Then imagine trying to rebuild it and maintain a sense of normalcy amidst a swirling storm of controversy and devastation.
That’s what Penn State will attempt to do this season, and it all begins on Saturday as the Nittany Lions welcome the Ohio Bobcats to Happy Valley.
Saturday's game carries immense opportunities for both teams.
Penn State has the chance to begin a new era with a win and to momentarily free State College from the dark cloud of negativity that has been hovering around for quite some time now.
Ohio has the opportunity to showcase its skills to the nation and begin a hopeful season with a win in hostile territory.
Beaver Stadium, Penn State’s stomping grounds, will be exploding with emotion as the ball is kicked off at noon on Saturday. College Football has never seen such a devastating scandal. Southern Methodist doesn’t compare, neither does The U or Ohio State.
Penn State’s fans have been yearning for something to cheer about for nearly a year now, and football is their first love. A victory for PSU would be more than just a check in the win column; it would be a fresh start to a new era, a glimmer of hope in a very dark sky.
The Sandusky child sex abuse scandal rocked College Station, robbing the town of its innocence. Saturday’s game will be Penn State’s first breath of fresh air since the scandal broke last November.
While it will be extremely different, football will be back in Happy Valley and one of the most storied programs in college sports history will resume play.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, the Bobcats are catching the Nittany Lions with their proverbial tail between their legs. Penn State’s roster is depleted and its legendary coach is gone. However, PSU’s spirit remains and Ohio will have to deal with the Nittany Lions’ presumably colossal will to win.
Yet, Ohio is ready for it; the Bobcats have been practicing with crowd noise blaring from Peden Stadium’s speakers all week. This upcoming season is oozing with potential for Ohio, and the Bobcats know a win at Penn State would be huge.
Sports Illustrated’s Holly Anderson recently picked Ohio to go 12-0 and sniff a BCS berth. Anderson also chose Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton as her offensive MVP in the MAC this year. Ohio has never dealt with such lofty expectations before, but this team has been to a MAC Championship and a bowl game. This team has felt the pressure.
The Bobcats schedule is ripe for the picking, Penn State is vulnerable at the moment, and Marshall is the only other remotely threatening team on the schedule. A win against Penn State in week one would be the perfect start to a season saturated with great expectations.
Whatever the final score of Saturday’s season opener is, one team will walk away with their heads held high. Penn State will be playing with the emotions of more than 100,000 people behind them; Ohio will be fueled by the opportunity to do something very special.
In a place where a statue of a legend no longer stands, one team will emerge with a monumental victory.