4-Down Territory: The Big Ten Conspiracy Revealed & The Ultimate PSU Season Starts Today
1st Down: Conspiracy Theories: Russian Bots must have taken a sudden interest in Big Ten football as evidenced by resurgent postponement conspiracy theories. The conference's postponement is allegedly a conspiracy to derail Trump’s campaign in the key swing states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. At the same time it is also allegedly a conspiracy to stop the players from organizing and demanding a share of revenues. Let’s take a deeper (state) dive into these theories.
2nd Down: Competency/Confidentiality: Given that the Big Ten has had trouble controlling the messaging and keeping various athletic directors, coaches and University presidents from making statements, does anyone believe that they'd be competent enough to keep a conspiracy like this quiet? Does anyone believe Mitch Daniels, the former GOP Governor of Indiana and current President of Purdue would be complicit in this? That said, as a Trustee at Penn State at no time did our administration discuss a conspiracy to swing the election or quell player organization. Did Not Happen….but I know for some that denial will be your further proof that we are all in on it.
3rd Down: Money: The 26 Presidents of the Big Ten and Pac 12 collectively put at risk about $1 billion in TV rights fees. Maybe they want to see Biden win, maybe they don’t, but first and foremost they have a fiduciary responsibility to their University. The only reason for these schools to walk away from that kind of money is because they see a risk to the health and safety of their students, faculty and staff. No one throws that kind of money away to make a political point.
4th Down: Player Organization: Another rumor is that this move by the Big Ten and Pac 12 was to stop the movement by the players to organize. This summer players began to talk about protections for their health, wanting a bigger voice, wanting revenue sharing and the Black Lives Matter movement. Pac 12 and Big Ten players submitted lists of goals/demands. Some conspiracy theories believe the postponement was to stop that momentum. The reality is that Big Ten and Pac 12 schools made their call to protect the players’ health. Also, since Covid-19 has disproportionately impacted the Black community, postponing football is a strong statement that the health of their Black players is more important than money or society's entertainment.
The Ultimate Penn State Season: In lieu of Penn State’s postponed fall 2020 season this week we debut “The Ultimate Season”. We combed through Penn State’s schedule from 1966 through 2019 to find each week’s biggest win as determined by the highest ranked opponent. From the old neutral-site preseason classics through week twelve we go week by week picking the biggest win from that corresponding week across 54 seasons. We’ve compiled a 15-week season representing 13 weeks followed by two bowl games signifying 2 playoff games on our way to a perfect 15-0 season. We'll reveal the opponents one week at a time. Check back each week.
Preseason Classic: August 25, 1996 #11 Penn State 24 #7 USC 7: (For Highlights Click on Photo) At Giants Stadium a sellout crowd of 77,716 mostly blue and white clad fans witnessed Penn State start the year with a big win. Running back Curtis Enis tore through the USC defense for 241 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries. Penn State’s defense was relentless making life miserable for USC. Of note too was the debut of future #1 overall NFL draft pick Courtney Brown in his freshman season. That game kicked off a Penn State season that would end up with an 11-2 record with four wins over top 20 opponents including a Fiesta Bowl win over Big 12 Champion Texas. Penn State finished 7th in the National Polls.