After a slight break, we’re back up and running. Now, you know the drill. I write a little column, you adore it and compliment me for my amazing opinions and then you submit your questions in the comment section or on Twitter if you like to kick it old school (@JerryScherwin). And since you all had a week off, I expect big things from you all.
I had plans this week.
I had plans of opening up our Editorial page, starting a new story and typing 1,000-words about how great it was to visit and tailgate outside of Beaver Stadium (Which is named after former Pennsylvania Governor, James A. Beaver dontcha know?). How humbling it was to mix it up with the locals about their mutual respect for our beloved Iowa program and how they generally root for our success when we aren’t matched up head-to-head.
I was ready to tell you all about how we drank beers, played Flip Cup and generally enjoyed each others company. I was ready to tell you that these two fan bases have a lot more in common than most assume in our respective areas of the country. That despite the distance, both shook hands, looked each other dead in the eye, and wished the other luck all the while praying to the football Gods that their favorite team would rip the hearts out of the human at the other end of that basic human connection.
I was ready to gloat about how Iowa fought and scraped and clawed their way into the endzone with only three seconds on the clock when the Happy Valley Miracle happened. I was ready to spend another 1,000 words on that final play, where Nate Stanley hit Noah Fant on an quick hitter, “7-got-6” like, as time expired. I was ready to don Stanley as the greatest QB of all time after doing the “McSorley” as he walked off the field in honor of The Outlaw:
I was ready to upload a ten minute video of the nine of us that went into the game together singing In Heaven There is No Beer while waving goodbye/taunting 100,000 sad and dejected Penn Staters before partying well into Sunday morning despite having to be back in Philadelphia a mere few hours later.
It was all right there for the taking.
But, because I’m a jinx, none of that happened (Seriously, I need to stop watching my teams take on Pennsylvania teams in person. I’ve now seen Iowa get blown out by Villanova in Brooklyn in their last NCAA Tournament appearance, the Bulls get smoked by the Sixers on opening night, the Bears were literally bowled on last year at the Linc and now this at Penn State.).
Perhaps the weather was my first clue that things weren’t going to go my way. Instead of a typical fall day, we got somewhere between six and one hundred inches of rain. That in and of itself set my plans into a tailspin. Instead of having that friendly banter with our Penn State tailgate-mates, we were surrounded by open field and a few other tents with people in them that refused to step a foot outside.
The only people that approached us were wandering Iowa fans (Penn State is really bad at designating Tailgating areas/dropping off people at their desired locations) that wanted to take a picture with an American Hero:
Do you see all of that mud? That was INSIDE the tent.
With no neighbors that we could win over, that meant there was no mutual respect for Iowa shared between two fan bases. That meant there was nothing humble about our experience. That meant no flip cup with our Big Ten brothers. That meant no hand shakes while praying to the same football gods for the oppositions heartbreak as long as it was a tight game. That mean’t the nine of us couldn’t sing In Heaven There is No Beer while waving good bye to 100,000 dejected fans.
Instead, it was 25-Iowa fans huddled up together to keep warm, drinking our own beers and convincing ourselves that this was “Iowa weather” and that McSorley would be rendered useless with a few ill advised jokes about JoePa thrown in.
We quickly realized that like the tailgating scene outside, inside Beaver Stadium was just as dire. Where were those maniacs that white themselves out and chant along to the “WOAH OOOOooooOOOOO OOOOOOooooOOOOO OOO O OOO O” part of Zombie Nation at?
We were expecting bedlam. Instead, we got some hushed and cold crowd that didn’t know how to actively cheer on their football team unless the PA told them to “Get Loud” or “Make Some Noise”.
Not that it really mattered in the grand scheme of things. Despite the lackluster crowd, we know what happened next. Iowa went up early after a few early holiday gifts, then they sputtered while doing some weird Matt Nagy shit on offense, Trace McSorley went out, Trace McSorley came back, Iowa went down, Iowa wen down by more, Iowa almost made us leave, the defense bailed us out, the defense bailed us out again, Iowa came all the way back to have not one, but two chances to win outright, Iowa lost.
I had plans. But my plans were spoiled, once again, by Penn State. Instead of singing, I got to see this as I shuffled out of the stadium:
Penn State celebrated with “Mo Bamba” after the big win— Bleacher Report CFB (@BR_CFB) October 28, 2018
I’m never making plans again.
Love you all.