Column: Winning Season is Key to Moving Forward
Penn State picked up their first Big Ten victory of the season on Thursday, by beating Nebraska. In the past two season the Nittany Lions have finished last in the conference with a combined record of 6-30. This season they are currently 1-6 in the Big Ten, which is tied for last. Penn State’s combined overall record over the past three seasons is 32-51.
Losing has almost become acceptable for the team. It shouldn’t be. It begs the question; how important is it for Penn State to finish with a winning record this season? Well Penn State is currently 10-10 with 11 games remaining on their schedule. Out of those remaining 11 teams, five of them currently hold a losing record in the Big Ten, while four of those teams are currently ranked.
Of Penn State’s six losses in the Big Ten this season, three of them have been by less than three points. If Penn State can finally pull it together and finish games, they can finish the season with a winning record. Even if they finish just a game above .500, it that would be a huge step for the program.
Of the five opponents with a losing record, only two of them are home games: Indiana and Purdue. While Indiana and Purdue are talented teams, Penn State can no longer continue to lose every single game against middle-of-the-pack Big Ten teams.
Penn State fans are certainly not asking for this team to beat Michigan State and Ohio State twice a year, but this team should be done settling for losing to Northwestern and Nebraska twice in a season.
Of the remaining 11 games Penn State will host three ranked teams including Iowa, Ohio State and Wisconsin. It is a must that Penn State comes away with at least one of these games. Not only for their record, but for the team’s confidence moving forward.
The past few years the Nittany Lions have been able to pull off a few upsets at home, including last season’s upset of NCAA Tournament runner-up Michigan.
139-59 is the combined record of the 11 teams remaining on Penn State’s schedule. Looks scary right? Well, if Penn State wants to avoid its third straight losing season, they will have to learn to finish games down the stretch and learn to forget that they aren’t traditionally a winning program.
Penn State desperately needs to give their fans something extra to cheer for while showing recruits that they’re a winning program.
A winning season for this team would go well beyond their record it would be a win in more ways than one. Penn State will look to pull above the .500 mark Wednesday, when they travel to Columbus, to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Chad Carey is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Courtesy: (AP Photo/Centre Daily Times, Abby Drey)