Reading the first few paragraphs of ESPN’s preview of tonight’s Penn State, Illinois matchup, well, your stomach may turn like mine did. It’s true. We’re 4-0. But against non-conference teams that weren’t all that great. And while Oregon State did beat USC (woo!) on Thursday night, I’m still not convinced it was because they’re an amazing team (shown by the slamming we threw down on them). I’d venture to guess it was because USC came into the game with the cocky attitude coming off of the embarrassment they served to Ohio State the week before and, well, we all know what happens when you come into a game with a cocky attitude. You get served right back.
All the same, conference play means that it is time to get real. And the reality is that Illinois beat Penn State last year. And that can create nerves. I mean, if it is creating nerves for me, some work-at-home-mom who just so happens to be a football fanatic, well, I’m sure it might create a nerve or two for the guys running around on the field.
However, when I read this post about Illinois’ current statistics, well, I felt a bit better. Basically? Penn State is coming into this game will a whole bunch of advantages. If we can refrain from fumbling the ball (ahem), we should be able to prevail. As a bonus point, the Nittany Lions have won all five of the games against Illinois that happened in Happy Valley. As an added bonus point, fans are bringing the White Out tonight. (Did you get chills? I got chills. So wish we were there!) I don’t see Illinois leaving Beaver Stadium in a very triumphant manner tonight.
As long as Penn State keeps the cockiness about their previous wins and the statistics in the locker room. Leave the cockiness to those of us sitting in the stands. Or, uhm, on our couches.