We Need to Get Better … as Fans

I don’t know who needs to read this and I hate to break it to you but your opinion sucks and it is wrong. You’ve managed to convince yourself that you found the one reason Penn State lost this football game and it is an argument you won’t budge from no matter what. You are so angry that PSU got upset by Minnesota so you and your brilliant football mind were able to calculate the one big reason that the Nittany Lions weren’t able to get it done.

Congratulations! You did it! You, in hindsight, were able to decipher why Penn State lost this game and took to the internet to let everyone know. Ricky Rahne (whose last name you’ve probably been pronouncing ‘Rain’) is your culprit, right? Or is it James Franklin, who despite bringing Vanderbilt to its first 9-win season since 1914 and being one of the two active coaches to have won a B1G championship, who needs to be fired immediately? Maybe Sean Clifford needs to be benched and it is time to give Will Levis a chance because “you don’t like what you’ve been seeing out of him”? Brent Pry is overrated and hasn’t been able to coach a half-coherent secondary in his tenure at Penn State, right?

Give it up. You don’t know what you’re talking about and your emotional tweeting after a loss makes for some cringe-worthy and anger inducing content following an already horrible afternoon. Everything you think is probably right in some ways and completely wrong in all the others. You do not know what goes into scheming for a game. You do not know the different intricacies of every play and what went right and what didn’t. You DEFINITELY don’t know what goes into being a head coach of a football team and you don’t have a better option in mind should our current head coach leave or get fired.

The Nittany Lions are 8-1 and thousands of tweets have been sent to James Franklin encouraging him to pack his bags and go coach at USC as if that is going to be a solution. And I am not telling you not to be upset at this loss. Many people will say “Well if you said that we’d be 8-1 back in August you’d take it right?” – but I won’t. I understand that context matters and I certainly understand more than the next guy how heartbreaking it is to be ranked #4 for the first time in PSU history under the new CFP system just to have your dreams crushed 4 days later. But what we all need to understand is that winning in College Football is really hard. Only one team can win it all every year and only 4 of 130 can make the playoff. This Penn State program is right on the precipice of that and blowing up the ship because of a minor let-down is borderline insane.

We need to, as a fan base, step back and take a look at the state of this program. Is there a problem playing ranked teams on the road? Yes. Is Penn State recruiting elite talent and developing NFL prospects and hanging in the top 10 perennially? Also, yes. You tweeting at James Franklin telling him to kick rocks or fire his staff doesn’t help anything. Sending tweets out that “PSU will never win under these XYZ coaches” isn’t really saying anything. It isn’t impressive to say that this one team out of 130 isn’t going to be the best, that is just you playing the odds (99.23% to be exact) and hedging your happiness by trying to “right” instead of positive. Your emotions only serve as a way for you to vent and don’t actually help anything and don’t actually change the outcomes of games and quite frankly nobody wants to see or hear it.

I’m pissed. I was heartbroken this Saturday afternoon and I haven’t really gotten over it yet. I watched a game that had just about everything go wrong for my team and it still wasn’t until the last offensive play of the game that it was officially over. I am freaking out over this Indiana game because a win or a loss is the difference between any sliver of hope and a complete waste of a once promising season. I’m also extremely thankful that people who are much smarter and better at football than me are the ones taking control of winning next week and all I have to do is watch. I suggest you do the same. We are, 8-1.

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