Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/7/12

Where does one begin when contemplating the fortunes of the (I can’t even find the proper adjective)  2012 Penn State Nittany Lions? The first thing that comes to mind for me is the old American Blues standard, “Nobody Loves You When You’re Down & Out”.

After the emotional return to Beaver Stadium and the subsequent drubbing by the Ohio University Bobcats, I’m sure that most of America as well as much of the Lion faithful are anticipating that things are moving from bad to worse on the field. I’m not one of them.

Last weekend’s performance was not truly indicative of how well this team can play. I don’t wish to engage in psychoanalysis, but the game against Ohio U. had to be excruciatingly difficult for those young men. I can’t help but think that they were, on some level, carrying the burden of attempting to somehow make amends (through no fault of their own) for all that has occurred.

It is difficult enough for an 18-21 year-old FBS student-athlete to perform as it is. Through everything that has transpired from the unspeakable truths to the most recent player defections, I’m not sure how one can measure on a physical, emotional and mental level what that team is going through.

I also believe that Ohio U. and Frank Solich don’t receive the credit they deserve. The Bobcats are well coached and run the spread option game well. It is a scheme the Nittany Lions don’t normally see in the Big Ten. It is difficult to prepare for it in a practice setting. The scheduling of this opponent at that time was yet another unfortunate event for those young men. Why couldn’t they open up with Savannah St. for heaven sakes?

I know you don’t believe it but the bottom will not fall out tomorrow in Charlottesville.

Here are five reasons to take Penn State + 10:

1.  More than 83% of the betting public has UVA favored to win by more than 10 points. This statistic indicates that the public has overvalued UVA.  Historically, when the public is > 80%, the underdog has beat the spread 57% of the time.

2. UVA runs a more conventional pro-style attack similar to the schemes Penn St. faces in Big Ten Conference play. The Penn State Defensive performance was an anomaly due to Ohio’s read option prowess.

3. Playing away from the emotionally charged Beaver Stadium will actually benefit the Nittany Lions. The Coach O’Brien will be able to limit the distractions on the road.

4. The national focus will be away from the team. These young men will be able to circle the wagons and work to become a cohesive unit.

5. Ten points is a lot of value against an opponent that isn’t even among the top 40-50 teams in the country.

I may not love the boys in Blue and White, but I respect them.

Take Penn St. and the 10 points.

Enjoy the weekend!



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