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Everything Stronger Than Minnesota’s Schedule

One of the biggest surprises in college football this year has been Minnesota’s improbable run winning streak through the first 10 weeks after a recent history of mediocre performances. The Golden Gophers had lost five or more games in four of their last five seasons prior to this year. Heading into this weekend’s matchup, however, they are a perfect 8-0.

While going unbeaten is an impressive feat, Minnesota has had the luxury of an easy schedule this season, beating non-conference nobodies South Dakota State, Fresno State, and Georgia Southern, as well as Big Ten bottom-feeders Purdue, Illinois, Nebraska, Rutgers, and Maryland.

The Gophers’ undefeated start to the season has been good enough to carry them into the Top 25, but as the College Football Playoff selection committee showed Tuesday, their strength of schedule (or lack thereof) is being held against them.

The matchup this Saturday between the Gophers and Nittany Lions will be Minnesota’s first of the season against a ranked opponent. While some may have Penn State on upset-watch against one of the unlikeliest teams to emerge this season, the Gophers still have a lot to prove.

Here are some things that are stronger than Minnesota’s schedule this season.

Maryland Students’ Faith In Their Team

In Penn State’s week-five road matchup in College Park, Maryland students channeled their inner-Pitt fans when the Nittany Lions spoiled their much-anticipated black out. With the Terps down 38-0 at halftime, the student section began to disappear much as it does at halftime at Heinz Field on any given Saturday.

Still, at least a handful of people stayed to support their team as it took a 59-0 ass-whooping. That’s a handful more black jerseys than Minnesota has games played against ranked teams this season.

The Penn State-Maryland “Rivalry,” For That Matter

For some reason, Maryland thinks Penn State is a rival, despite the fact that the Nittany Lions boast a 40-2-1 all-time record against the Terps.

Imagine canceling classes and calling for a blackout only to get embarrassed to the tune of an eight-touchdown loss in your own stadium. That takes #Unrivaled to a whole new level. But as long as Maryland fans think it’s a rivalry and they’re having fun wallowing in unrequited hatred and jealousy, then why not humor them?

White Claws

The trendy hard seltzer has infiltrated the college drinking scene, and is basically the new Natty Light: weak and cheap. At just 5% ABV, it’s basically just normal sparkling water and takes a few before you feel any type of buzz. What could possibly be weaker than alcoholic water, you ask? Minnesota football’s 2019 regular-season schedule.

Iowa’s Offensive Line Against Robert Windsor

In Penn State’s tight, hard-fought victory over Iowa at legendary Kinnick Stadium, the defense in large part carried the Nittany Lions to their first win against a ranked team this season.

Iowa’s offensive line had no answers for Penn State defensive tackle Robert Windsor, who registered 1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for a loss, and two quarterback hurries in a dominant performance. But considering that Iowa had at least faced one ranked team before that game, and Minnesota has faced virtually no one all season, Windsor should have no problems bullying the Golden Gophers’ line all game long Saturday.

Even James Franklin himself said it.

Dining Hall Coffee

Okay, at least the dining hall coffee prior to this year.

While Penn State’s dining halls began serving Starbucks coffee this year, students who were here in previous years remember the weak, thin, nature’s bean that disappointed coffee drinkers like me on campus for years. Before Starbucks came to the rescue, dining hall coffee had virtually no substance and very mediocre taste — much like Minnesota’s resume.

The Signal At Beaver Stadium

We know the struggle of trying to reach our friends near the stadium when it’s time to meet up on gameday all too well. Nothing is more frustrating than having to keep clicking “Try Again” when your “meet over by the rock” text doesn’t go through.

The signal is so bad that you can’t even check the score of the game where Minnesota (or Clemson) is beating up some school you didn’t even know had football.

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About the Author

Andy Mollenauer

Andy is a writer for Onward State, a senior majoring in journalism, and a die-hard Wisconsin pro sports fan despite being from our nation's capital. His taste in music is absolute garbage, ranging from Bon Jovi to Slipknot to Avril Lavigne. If you want to talk sports or share memes and cute photos of French bulldogs, email him at [email protected]

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