JoePa's Doghouse

Hate Week: Ourselves!

Suddenly, there are no "untouchables."

Let's be honest.  We're in for the worst week of self-immolation, naval gazing, and disoriented manic depression in recent memory as a Penn State fan.  This game could not have sucked any worse, but we do have to take something from this game and learn how to cope as fans.

1) This game was an alpaca out of nowhere. It's what happens when you're a die-hard fan: you focus on the past, you look for the intangibles and statistics that prove that your team isn't as bad as it seems, and then a team coached by Ron Zook throws your team around like a bag of bad garbage.  Think we're the only ones?  Try looking at the Wolverines some time. Sometimes we have to take the smirk off our face and realize that some of the other guys might be right about our team--perhaps we can learn from them.

2) There are no untouchables anymore.  The good graces that were brought on by back-to-back Top 10 seasons and two Big Ten conference co-championships in four years has evaporated.  There will be calls for everyone in the program to be thrown out.  Don't get mad if your sacred cow is now on someone's hit list.  On the flip side, don't get angry if everyone doesn't agree with your assertions that two months ago would have sounded foolish.  The plain fact is that it's an ugly time to be a Penn State fan, and we won't all be singing from the same songbook.  Deal with it.

3) Rumors are flying all over the place. I would wait for some credible evidence before you wander down a path of speculation that is unfounded. It's harder to "unbelieve" something that's untrue than it is to do some fact-checking.  If nothing's concrete, don't believe it. There's no OJ prize for being the first person to be pissed at something that's true.

4) Remember what a game like this can do for ramifications in the off-season.  You may get all you want and more, only AFTER January.  Remember what I said about the Temple 2010 game possibly being one of the most important games of the decade? This could also be one of those games as well.

5) One thing that is beneficial to the bye week: there are approximately 3,498 injuries on the starting roster at Penn State, particularly at defense.  In the third quarter there were ten defensive starters that were injured or otherwise unable to play.  I take some comfort in knowing that we'll at least have a physically improved team in two weeks against the Gophers.

6) This is the hardest one: hold on, take a deep breath, and realize it's a game.  I'm just as bad as most at getting overly worked up about this, but if you were at State College and you couldn't enjoy the incredible homecoming weather at least a bit, then you should really stop and look around.  Coping is another way of saying, "get on with life even when sh*t falls on your face."

But never, ever let your guard down, and keep on with the HATE!

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  1. I feel like I have been a realist and critical of this team, but WOW, I did not see this coming. This team is actually worse than I thought. I honestly don’t think what we are seeing is “growing pains” as many folks believe…this team is just no good. I haven’t seen anything that makes me confident that we’ll win any of our remaining games.

    I feel bad for Joe, and think he maybe held on for a year or two too long. I will never call for his head, but I am in the minority. There is a ton of criticism out on the interwebs already that is simply scathing…sad part is I can’t argue against a lot of it (recruiting, age, gameplans, playcalling, staff, coaching up talent, etc) I believe that he barely survived the dark years, and if we lose to NW in 2005 and that season goes differently, I think he was gone. I don’t think he’ll survive this one, and it will be sad to see him go out on such a low note.


    • Yeah, he did come close to failing in the Dark Years. He survived because he’s Joe Paterno and he told Spanier and Curley that he was going to be back. And he was right. We came back from the Dark Years because Joe changed his ways, which is not an easy thing for him to do.

      Fortunately, this season is not even close to the level of the Dark Years, and anyone who thinks so is panicking. Or listening to internet rumors on FOS about a guy who knows a guy who talked to a coach’s wife at a tailgate. “Hi, I’m President Barack Obama. I just randomly met you here at this tailgate. Man, I secretly hate Joe Biden! Just hate him! Can I tell you all about my secret hate for Joe Biden? Great!”

      Uh, anyway, he won’t survive this one? What, he won’t survive a 6-6 or 7-5 season? Frankly, I don’t think they’d can him if we went 4-8, which we probably won’t. This isn’t even close to the rougher seasons we’ve had in rebuilding years.

      • Maybe I’m seeing something different on the field than other folks are, but I don’t see any chance of going 6-6 or 7-5…maybe you can explain how we rise from the ashes to win 3 or 4 more games this year. We didn’t just lose this weekend, we got handled. This was one of our gimme games, as close to guaranteed as it gets. Minnesota is probably a win, but where else? Maybe we pull off one more win to get to 5-7, but I’m far from convinced.

        If we roll a 4-8 or 5-7 season I disagree and think we see Joe “retire”. With the string of good recruiting classes where else do you point the finger for the suck?

        • Yes, I agree with Don. RR, you’re drinking an awful lot of Kool-Aid. The rest of the schedule looks like one Alabama, a lot of Illinoises, a couple of better-than-Illinoises, and precisely zero more Youngstowns or Kents, not that this team might not have been capable of losing to Y or K last weekend, apparently.

          • For me to think Penn State fails to defeat Minnesota, Northwestern, and Illinois requires the following:

            1) An assumption that the offensive line will get no push against a Minnesota team that couldn’t push around South Dakota or Middle Tennessee State.
            2) An assumption that Indiana will get a run game and a defense.
            3) An assumption that Northwestern will have something besides Dan Persa.
            4) An assumption that the injury bug will get worse for the Penn State defense.

            I don’t think I’m drinking the Kool-Aid unless I continue to predict 6-6 or 7-5 if the injury report comes back looking even worse.

          • I have no problem believing that a team that got DOMINATED by the fightin’ zookers at home on homecoming might lose a close game to one or more of (Indiana, Northwestern, Minnesota). Had we just fl00ked our way to the loss like 1999 Minnesota, you’d have a point.

            Nice try, though.

        • Do you read BSD? Because if you do, you should probably check out Mike’s listings of the injuries. Once we get some guys back, the defense will improve.

          Anyway, to answer your question, have you watched Northwestern and Indiana? Those are not particularly great football teams. In fact, Illinois will probably beat both. Of the three presumable “easy wins” left on the schedule, only Northwestern really concerns me and they looked mediocre against a Purdue team with an offense as hurt as our defense.

          And we’d have to lose a lot more than 8 games for Joe to “retire”. Face it, you and I are not Graham Spanier and Graham Spanier would not force Joe Paterno to retire if a team this young continues to struggle this year.

          • I know there were a lot of injuries, but not on offense. There are a lot of folks out there that continue to rationalize every loss, but these are not close, rational losses, it’s shock and awe.

            As someone who has family tickets, the financial burden next year becomes much bigger with the new policy. People won’t pay to see a crap product on the field, if that stadium even threatens to not fill Spanier will have to make a move. The situation is different this time around…

  2. I, too, was too optimistic.

    I did something I’ve never done before: delete without watching. (Was at a Cub Scout event for my son during the game; had a guy come up to me and warn me what I was in for; heard a brief summary on the radio on the way home).

  3. I don’t know what’s true and what isn’t. Living in State College, I hear rumblings about the program all the time. All I know is that I’ve slipped into apathy about the program and I suspect a lot of others have too. I wasn’t even close to pissed after the game on Saturday. I just didn’t care. I hope Joe can get this turned around. I don’t want to see him go out on a low note. But, I’m not sure he still has it in him to do it.

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