Penn State will open its 2012 football season Saturday at Beaver Stadium by hosting Ohio University.
Since the Nittany Lions last took the field at home on Nov. 12, much, of course, has transpired - almost all of it disheartening.
Joe Paterno, Penn State's legendary coach, has died, and his statue outside the stadium has been removed. Jerry Sandusky, the Lions' longtime defensive coordinator, has been convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse against 10 boys.
Athletic Director Tim Curley and former Vice President Gary Schultz await a January trial on perjury charges for allegedly lying to a grand jury. Former President Graham Spanier has been desperately trying to defend his name by embarking on a media tour.
The university-commissioned Freeh report brought harsh criticism of PSU's inability to protect children on its campus. Penn State accepted that, and the NCAA followed with unprecedented penalties that included a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban and significant scholarship reductions.
The handling of the case by virtually everyone involved - Gov. Corbett, Penn State's Board of Trustees, the NCAA and the Big Ten and the media - has divided much of the Penn State community and understandably so.
More time is needed to heal, and some will never be forgiving, but this weekend would be a good place to start.
Penn State has taken many corrective measures and has pledged to become a national leader in the fight against child abuse. In fact, its players will wear a blue ribbon on their helmets to underscore that pledge.
The Nittany Lions' current team - its new head coach, Bill O'Brien, and his staff and the Lions who stayed with the program even after the NCAA allowed immediate transfer - have done nothing wrong.
They've been innocent bystanders and deserve support Saturday and throughout the upcoming season.
For the foreseeable future, all eyes of the nation will remain on Penn State. How it's coping with the sanctions and how it conducts itself - and that includes its fans - will be an ongoing topic.
Much of the national media have been extremely critical. An ESPN discussion Thursday morning centered around, "will you be rooting for Penn State this weekend?" USA Today columnist Christine Brennan raised a needless ruckus Wednesday in the event that Penn State should choose to honor Paterno with a moment of silence prior to the game. (It didn't do so when it had the chance at the Blue-White Game in April, and a university source said Thursday the pre-game script includes nothing of the sort.)
Those at Beaver Stadium tomorrow are attempting to move on. None of us suffered like Sandusky's victims, but we're hopeful the trial brought closure and, difficult as it is, put them on the road to recovery.
Certainly, there will be more disturbing stories that will be reported and cause debate and reflection, but it's time to turn the page, learn from the past and try to forge a new Penn State.
The dawning of another football season has always been accompanied by the beauty of the fall, the sense of starting anew and a ray of hope.
That's never been more true than this year.