Penn State Scandal: Can Lions Overcome Distractions and Beat Wisconsin?

Sean LansingContributor INovember 20, 2011

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 19:  Drew Astorino #28, Derek Moye #6, Devon Still #71, and Quinn Barham #67, all of the Penn State Nittany Lions lead their teammates onto the field for the coin toss prior to the start of the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on November 19, 2011 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Two weeks into life after Paterno, interim head coach Tom Bradley and Penn State are 1-1.

By beating Ohio State 20-14 on Saturday, the Nittany Lions set themselves on a collision course for a matchup with Wisconsin next weekend that will determine the inaugural Big Ten Leaders Division champion.

With so much at stake, can Penn State fight through another week of distractions and beat the Badgers?

To the credit of everyone still involved in the Nittany Lions football program, Penn State really hasn't missed a beat on the field since the firing of Paterno.

They lost a hard-fought game to Nebraska during an emotional Senior Day at home, and they got a win on the road at the Horse Shoe in front of a hostile Ohio State crowd hoping to send the Buckeye seniors off on a high note.

Having seen Penn State play at a high-level for back-to-back weeks, there’s no reason to believe that, at least mentally speaking, they can’t beat Wisconsin to earn a spot in the first-ever Big Ten title game.  

Bradley has proven during his short tenure as boss that he will have his kids ready to play, and Saturday in Madison shouldn't be any different.

The Nittany Lions know what’s at stake, and the kids that Joe Paterno recruited and who have nothing to do with the ongoing Jerry Sandusky scandal would love nothing more than to beat the odds and make it to Indianapolis for a shot at the Rose Bowl.

Whether or not Penn State has the talent and the offensive firepower to keep up with Russell Wilson and the Badgers at Camp Randall is a different story. 

However, if the previous two weeks are any indication, they will no doubt be ready to give Wisconsin their best shot.