Is this the biggest Penn State game of your lifetime?

A few friends and I were having this discussion:  Is Saturday’s game against Ohio State the most important game of your lifetime? Obviously if you were a few years older than 2 (My age in ’86) the answer is no. But if you’re in your twenties or younger, is this it? I would argue that Michigan ’97 comes close. So does OSU ’05. But my initial reaction is that this is the biggest game of my lifetime. Is it yours? Discuss…

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7 Comments on “Is this the biggest Penn State game of your lifetime?”

  1. mithunc Says:

    Is this the biggest game of the season? Yes, I think so. But as JoePa would say, “We gotta long way to go.” The season’s not nearly over yet and we have to keep performing this level to stay on top of the polls. And it goes without saying that we need to go undefeated. Otherwise this is going to be just another “good” season.

  2. markloucks Says:

    But I’m taking it a step further. Has there ever been game with these kind of implications in your lifetime? Take into account that it’s the ninth game of the season.

  3. Mike Says:

    My gut reaction to this is that ’05 Penn State – Ohio State was the biggest game of my life because you have to look at this from the pre-game stand point for now.

    Heading into 2005 PSU was coming off of seven wins in two seasons and had been placed in the category of irrelevant teams in not only the conference but the nation. That game was going to be a statement not only to the rest of college football but to ourselves that all of our talk and hopes were justified.

    Don’t get me wrong there is a ton on the line this weekend for Penn State, the national championship, Big Ten title, the quality of one of JoePa’s final seasons, showing up Terrelle Pryor and the Buckeye fans.

    But if the Nittany Lions would have lost in 2005, where does that season go? There were questions about whether or not Paterno should have stepped down before the season, would those have continued without a signature win? Would some of the recruits who signed with Penn State after that game still have chosen the Nittany Lions if they would have lost? How would the fans have taken it and would they still have become the BEST student section in the nation without that win?

    To me the 2005 season laid the ground work for this current run at the national title and you could argue that the game against Ohio State was a, if not the, major factor in why that statement is true. That game was about a return to prominence for our Nittany Lions, while this game is about a return to the elite of College Football. Lose on Saturday and no doubt it is devastating, but a BCS bowl would still be a possibility as would the Big Ten title, unlike ’05 where all of that would have been impossible without a win.

    My tone may change after this weekend but win or lose in ’08, Penn State is still among the nation’s best. Lose in ’05 and the Nittany Lions are a Capital One Bowl team with hopes for the future but not one of the darlings of College Football after a triple overtime win over Florida State.

    Either way Saturday’s game will be one we talk about for quite some time and hopefully we look back on as the game that set Penn State up for a trip to Miami for the National Title.


  4. Depends on the criteria, of course. I just looked up the info leading up to the Michigan ’97 game, as I had done my best to erase any memory of it. PSU was #2 and getting a huge chunk of first place votes. Michigan was #4 and also undefeated. If “big game” means highest ranked meeting, that’s still the biggest since 1986. And man, PSU had clear sailing if they got past Michigan.

    Same kind of situation this week (PSU is 12-0 if they win), but it’s not quite #2 vs. #4.

  5. aluf Says:

    from a depression to elation standpoint ’05 is irreplaceable. DW, thank you for the memories.

  6. vonnegutnaked2 Says:

    I was born in ’82, so obviously the two national title years aren’t well remembered.

    I started watching closely in ’90 or ’91…

    And I’d say this is among the biggest, though it certainly has at least three big ones in its company.

    ’94 Michigan, ’95 Rose Bowl, ’97 Michigan all match this…not necessarily exceed it.

    ’94 UM because I think everyone knew that was going to be the one big challenge (I know what happened with Illinois, but UM was the other team to beat). It was the first trip to the Big House and that win catapulted PSU to No. 1.

    ’95 Rose Bowl simply because it clinched the undefeated season and still kept hope that there would be a split MNC. It was more coronation than “big game”, but there was still a ton of hype with PSU in Pasadena and Joe becoming the first to win the big four bowls (five if you count Cotton).

    And ’97 Michigan was probably even bigger than those. Everyone remember how that was “Judgment Saturday” with split ESPN Gameday crews at PSU and North Carolina (where Free Shoes University housed UNC)? Meanwhile, that was the same day Nebraska won on the kicked ball and Scott Frost started his bitchfest about how Nebraska surely deserved at least a split title. Anyway, that was an insane atmosphere at the Beav…even though 34-8 happened and signaled the decline.

    I don’t think ’05 OSU applies, because that was a touch earlier in the season and, though it signaled the PSU renaissance, it didn’t necessarily have the national attention that this one does. That ’05 game was an upset alert kind of game, while this is one that all of the college football world will be monitoring closely.

    Still, I’d have to take that ’97 game as bigger than even this one. PSU wins, they likely play for the title. MSU debacle and Enis suit issue aside, it was likely that the winner of that ’97 game would go undefeated to the Rose and play for a piece of the national title.

  7. dash riprock Says:

    The biggest Penn State game of my life was the January 1 Sugar Bowl at the end of the undefeated 1978 season. Paterno against Bear Bryant. #1 versus #2. I was a student and paid my way down to New Orleans to see Bruce Clark, Matt Millen, and the Lions win their first national championship. As you know, they lost 14-7 and I was crushed. Now THAT was a big game! (Trivia: That same day on our hotel TV we watched Woody Hayes slug a Clemson player after an interception in their bowl game, leading to Hayes’ demise.)


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