Penn State Football: Why Week 1 Loss to Ohio Was Not an Upset

Barry Leonard@@barryleonardjrAnalyst IIISeptember 3, 2012

Penn State's 24-14 loss to Ohio in Week 1 was disappointing to many fans. ABC News Radio was just one of many news outlets that referred to the loss as an upset.

Yes, Penn State was a six-point home favorite heading into the game (via USA Today).

Yes, they were playing an opponent from a non-BCS conference.

However, the result can be considered anything but an upset.

The Ohio Bobcats are a solid football team. Led by coach Frank Solich, they returned 15 starters from last year's team. That team won 10 games, including the first bowl game in team history—the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl over the Utah State Aggies. 

The most important returning starter may be quarterback Tyler Tettleton.

Tettleton is a mobile quarterback who made plays with both his arm and legs against the Nittany Lions. He threw for 324 yards and kept several drives alive with his scrambling ability. Tettleton could be one of the best quarterbacks the Lions see all season.

The Bobcats proved that they are not your typical MAC team. They went on the road to a tough venue and proved they could hang with a BCS conference team.

With all that has transpired at Penn State since November, did anyone really know what to expect from the Nittany Lions in Week 1? The current team has gone though so much negativity and turmoil that other teams did not have to worry about.

Instead of solely focusing on practice and game preparation, these Lions have had to field questions from the media about the NCAA sanctions placed on them. As if that's not enough, they had to deal with seeing key starters transfer to other schools.

Talk about distractions.

In the middle of everything, this team had to try to get ready to play a football game against a quality opponent.

Ohio clearly outplayed Penn State, especially in the second half after falling behind by 11 points. Despite being from a minor conference, it was the better team.

With the schedule that remains for the Bobcats, it's not inconceivable that they could run the table and finish 12-0.

An upset loss happens when the better team loses. At Beaver Stadium in Week 1, the better team did not lose.

Penn State has the prestige and the tradition. Unfortunately, that didn't help the team in its opener against Ohio.

Was it a heartbreaking loss for the Lions?

Yes.

An upset?

No.

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