Joe Paterno Retiring: How Will -- and How Should -- Happy Valley React Saturday?
It will be quite the scene on Saturday as Penn State and Nebraska square off for what could be a Big Ten championship game preview. Seniors for the Nittany Lions will walk through the tunnel in the south end zone one final time as the fans pay their respects to the players who have played through four or five years in the program.
But even with a division championship within grasp, the focus will be on Joe Paterno—for positive and negative reasons.
Paterno announced on Wednesday that he will be retiring at the end of the season, which makes this weekend's game against Nebraska the final home game of the Paterno regime. He clearly is leaving with a dark cloud looming above his head and above his legacy as a result of the recent scandal that has rocked Penn State as a university, athletic department and football program. Paterno's involvement in the scandal has been a hot-button issue that has caused many to call for his job, but there is still a game to be played this weekend, which will under a microscope for a number of reasons.
What is this environment going to be like?
That is the question on many people's minds this week as we collectively try to divert our attention from the larger issues surrounding Penn State. A number of people on Twitter mentioned an emotional atmosphere with a number of tears in the stands, while others suggested it could be on the most intimidating game day crowds for Nebraska. Surely there will be a little extra juice inside Beaver Stadium with fans looking to find a reason to smile after a tragic week off the field.
"I'm expecting one of the most intimidating environments that Beav Stadium has ever seen as everyone comes together for the team," said Kevin Horne via Twitter. For more reaction from Penn State fans and students on Twitter, click here.
There will be plenty of anger outside the stadium, with the Westboro Baptist Church declaring they will set up outside Beaver Stadium two hours before kickoff to make a statement against Penn State. There will be some others who will fail to show up because they do not want to be a part of the Penn State community this weekend. It is all understandable, which makes it even more questionable just what kind of scene will unfold on Saturday for the Nebraska game.
What do you think the scene will be like this weekend? Will you be a part of the scene, for better or worse?
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