No, seriously, fuck Penn State.
After sending out emails to several Penn State beat reporters from a wide variety of news sources, not a single person I contacted could even be bothered to respond. I get it, Smile Politely is not a prestigious news outlet, but not one of the people I emailed could be bothered to answer a few silly questions about the team they cover? Fuck them and fuck Penn State.
So, let’s do this like last year and just recap all the ways Penn State sucks without any external help.
Here’s the most obvious: Penn State’s god, Joe Paterno, covered for a vicious sexual predator to protect his program and his own good name. Then, when the school fired him, the students and community rioted. Then, three years later, the sitting governor of Pennsylvania said that Paterno shouldn’t have been fired. All of this while charges against Jerry Sandusky are still being considered.
Pictured: The space where the innocence of Penn State fans was forcibly removed.
Illinois has done some really shitty stuff, but Jesus, it’s never been that bad. And yet people in Pennsylvania continue to revere Paterno and Penn State football: In 2014, Penn State averaged more than 101,000 fans per home game.
But, this is probably to be expected on a campus that is whiter than Hellmann’s Mayonnaise. Penn State’s student body is 70% white. By comparison, the U of I, which has been criticized lately for it’s lack of African-Americans, is only 46% white. With that in mind, I doubt anyone on the Penn State campus is complaining about microaggressions or privilege, if only because their complaints would fall on deaf, white ears.
These students have great role models to look up to, though. Famous alumni of Penn State include the guy who ran Sears into the ground, the guy who holds the record for most boob jobs, the CEO of Sallie Mae who gave out subprime loans like candy, the CEO of the company that makes Decatur smell so bad and fixes prices to screw farmers, the guy who founded Silk Road, and a politician so vile the byproduct of anal sex was named for him.
Pictured: A noted Penn State alumnus and bible-thumping doofus.
As for Penn State football, in this decade the Nittany Lions have been just barely on the good side of mediocre. This makes them completely irrelevant in the Big Ten. Since 2010, PSU is 3-13 against top 25 teams and 1-5 against Ohio State, who has and will continue to dominate PSU’s side of the conference.
These days Penn State is coached by James Franklin, a guy who thinks he’s as cool as Keegan Michael Key just because they have a somewhat similar appearance. Franklin probably duped PSU into hiring him after he led Vanderbilt on what seemed like a remarkable road from godawful to mediocre in his three years there. As the leader of the Nittany Lions, however, mediocre is still the status quo, even with a first round draft pick under center in Christian Hackenberg.
This season PSU is 6-2, but were thoroughly embarrassed by Temple in the first game of the year and just barely squeaked by Maryland last week. In their last two games the Nittany Lions have given up 68 points, which is reason enough to consider their record inflated. The bright spot among the Nittany Lions is surely Hackenberg, but Illinois’s defense has been stout all year and likely will be in State College again this weekend.
Illinois may come into this game as underdogs, but they could easily walk away as victors. Penn State sucks, so I really hope they do.
Illinois plays at Penn State on Saturday with kick-off scheduled for 11 am. The game will be televised on ESPN2.