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This is why I'm often critical of Penn State football
October 5, 2010 - Cory Giger
I often get accused of criticizing PSU unfairly, and that's OK. I admit that I am more critical than most. Since I have been getting a lot of e-mails about it the past few days, I will go ahead and forward this response to one that sums up my feelings. My issues stem almost entirely from these stats:
* PSU is 54-15 since 2005, ranking 8th in the country in winning percentage. That is very good.
* PSU also is 0-8 the last 8 times it played a top five team and 3-10 the last 13 games against top 10 teams. That is the issue to me. I have respect for what the program has done. It is a great program with a legendary coach. But you cannot argue the fact that when PSU plays the very best competition, it loses. I am critical because, with everything PSU has going for it in terms of facilities and tradition, shouldn't more be expected on the biggest national stages?
To pound your chest about going 10-2 during the regular season in 2009 when your best wins were against Temple and Northwestern is ridiculous. Yes, they beat a good but not great LSU team in the Capital One Bowl, and the field conditions hurt LSU's speed that day. So again, 11-2 looks very, very good, but if you watched the games against Ohio State and Iowa last year, the Nits did very little to nothing offensively against that kind of competition.
That is what I criticize, and what I would expect diehard fans of the program to criticize, if their ultimate goal is to win a national championship. Also, 11-2 looks fine in 2008, but the Lions were pounded by USC in the Rose Bowl (the Trojans could have put up 50 or more but called off the dogs). When PSU starts beating those kinds of teams, I will give it the utmost respect. Until then, I see through the 11-2 records and simply cannot call this an elite program.
And by elite, I mean in the top six or so and with a chance to win a national title in any given year -- like Alabama, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, USC and Ohio State (although USC may be down for a while now).
I have and will continue to put PSU in the second tier of elite programs, which I would say constitutes the 8th-12th best programs in the nation. There's nothing wrong with being there; most programs would love that. But PSU can do better than 8th-12th best, and until it does, I say the Lions are not living up to their full potential.