I am writing this as I am on a plane back to Pennsylvania for the weekend to go see the Penn State Nittany Lions start their football season at Beaver Stadium against Appalachian State (did you know they beat Michigan over a decade ago? I might literally piss all over the next person that brings that up to me). This is the first time in six years that I am not a season ticket holder, and that has not set in yet. What has set in is that Penn State has returned to relevance, and it is expected of them to win ten games every season from here on out. We (side note: I hate when people use “we” when referring to their sports teams, but I gave Penn State an unreasonable amount of money for a piece of paper, so I am invested) have come a long way from the Jerry Sandusky scandal in 2011. I was going to write an official preview for Penn State this year, but I did not want to be unbiased, so I decided to write about what is on my mind while I am on a plane from Chicago to Charlotte. Here are my thoughts…
Trace McSorley is going to be dropping #TraceBombs all over the field on his way to the Heisman Trophy.
Tommy Stevens is going to rock the fuck out of the Lion position and truck a few innocent defensive backs in the process.
Miles Sanders will to rise from the shadow of Saquon Barkley and prove to the world why he was a five-star recruit.
Juwan Johnson will be the leading receiver in the Big Ten, and the Calvin Johnson comparisons from his high school recruiting will carry into his NFL Draft profile. RIP Iowa 2017.
DeAndre Thompkins will take over DaeSean Hamilton’s role as a big play target.
The offensive line will be the best one the Nittany Lions have had this decade by far.
The defensive end depth will making life a living hell for opposing quarterbacks, with Shane Simmons elevating to his five-star talent
Defensive tackles Kevin Givens and Robert Windsor are going to dominate centers and guards all season.
Micah Parsons is going to emerge as one of the best young players in College Football, showcasing his freakish athleticism in the middle of the defense.
Cam Brown is going to breakout and transform into a terrifying duo beside Parsons.
Koa Farmer will bring the California coolness to the defense.
Jon Reid will be a first team All-Big Ten cornerback after an ACL injury last season.
Nick Scott is going to be the alpha male of this defense, and provide the leadership lost with Jason Cabinda and Marcus Allen now in the NFL.
Blake Gillikin will be representing the brand by earning All American honors.
KJ Hamler is going to be dynamite returning more kickoffs for touchdowns than Barkley and making an impact in the receiving game.
Justin Shorter is going to get his shot and could create the most intimidating combination of abnormally large receivers with Johnson and himself.
Ricky Slade is going to be a great change of pace next to Sanders, allowing Sanders to be rested throughout the game.
Sports are such a powerful thing. I will be in a football stadium with over 100,000 fans from all different backgrounds to watch a team of 75 players start a journey in pursuit of a National Championship. Everyone in that stadium has different views on all aspects of life, but for four hours each Saturday, everyone puts their differences aside, and rallies for their favorite team. Nothing else really matters during that time. In a world that always injecting negative energy throughout society, there are not many things that can bring a large group of people together like sports can.
Penn State football holds a special place in my heart, and I am excited for another season of ups and downs, uplifting victories and devastating defeats. My heart almost stopped during the last second victory at Iowa. I was at the Horse Shoe for the 21-point implosion against the Buckeyes. I was a part of the largest recorded crowd in Beaver Stadium history against Michigan.
Every season presents its own unique stories and experiences, and I am excited to see what 2018 brings. I am not sure if any of my thoughts will be accurate with the irrational fan in me driving a few of those points, but one thing is for certain…
Penn State Football is back, and I could not be any happier.
Photo Credit: gopsusports.com