Penn State Football: 3 Reasons Fans Should Keep Cheering On Their Nittany Lions
With a new face on the sideline and the team's subpar performance in nonconference play (first 0-2 start since 2001), this is not the Penn State football that fans are used to seeing.
Player transfers and other repercussions from college football's biggest scandal have taken away much of the Nittany Lions' roar this season—but that should not encourage fans to jump ship.
Here is why the Penn State faithful should continue to support a program that has won 717 games, 18th most in NCAA history.
Don't Blame This Team
The Paterno statue has been removed and the legend is gone.
So is the storm that was created by Jerry Sandusky and those who were in positions of power, including Paterno, who stood by and did nothing about it.
Now, the rebuilding project has begun—led by Bill O'Brien and his team as they try to restore the legacy of a prideful program. Feelings of anger and betrayal are natural reactions for fans to experience, but this group had nothing to do with the past.
It's not fair to hold them responsible for the actions of their predecessors—listen up NCAA—so why should the fans turn their back on them?
They should be commended for their commitment to Penn State and deserve even more support than teams of the past.
Nothing forced the players who run out on the field of Beaver Stadium on Saturdays to stay in (un)Happy Valley.
They could have easily followed Silas Redd to the airport, but instead they refused to give up their loyalty to their coaches, fans and the university.
The men in uniform stayed true to their school, so what reason do fans have for walking away from them? Is this the best Nittany Lions team they have seen? No, but Indiana Hoosiers football fans don't want to hear any complaining.
Even top-notch recruits such as quarterback Christian Hackenberg and tight end Adam Breneman have reaffirmed their commitments to O'Brien's team.
Being a true fan is about sticking with your team through thick and thin. It was easy to be a Nittany Lions fan when they were a perennial Big Ten contender. Things aren't so easy now, but that's what being a loyal fan is all about—just ask fans of Penn State basketball.
Winnable Remaining Games
For as embarrassing as an 0-2 start was, Penn State still has a favorable road ahead of them, especially in the short term.
After winning convincingly against Navy and Temple, the Nittany Lions are setting up for what could be a five-game winning streak (next three weeks: at Illinois, Northwestern and at Iowa).
Both Illinois and Iowa have had embarrassing losses of their own, as the Illini were scorched at home against Louisiana Tech last week and the Hawkeyes have suffered home losses to Iowa State and Central Michigan.
Another reason for optimism should be the play of the Nittany Lions defense, which ranks 24th in the country in points allowed (15.3 per game). Quarterback Matt McGloin has also performed well, considering the subtractions of Redd and wide receiver Justin Brown, throwing nine touchdowns and just two interceptions this season.
The Penn State defense alone has the ability to win the next three games. Don't discount this team just yet.
When thinking about their team, Penn State fans should refer to one of the greatest movies of all time, The Dark Knight.
"The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming."
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