Tuesday, September 30, 2008

SI's Mandel praises PSU

Zombie Nation has a great overview of the recent media attention and praise Penn State has earned after the crazy weekend in college football and the Nittany Lions victory over Illinois. One of the quotes that caught my eye was from Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel, who is usually stern with his criticism of PSU. Mandel praised Penn State twice in the same column. First he talked about the team in general and the game against Illinois:

3. That Penn State is the class of the Big Ten.

I realize many of you feel this is akin to being dubbed the prettiest girl in Pittsburgh, but last we checked, at least one of this conference's teams will be playing in Pasadena, if not Miami -- and the Nittany Lions look more and more like they could be that team. I had been leaning toward Wisconsin, but the Badgers' offense leaves a lot to be desired. While Michigan's fourth-quarter surge ultimately did in Bucky, the seeds were sown when it failed to convert any of the Wolverines' five first-half turnovers into a touchdown.

In its first game against a ranked opponent (Illinois), Penn State showed exactly what the skeptics were waiting to see: An explosive spread offense with a plethora of weapons and a defense that wasn't exactly immune to big plays but produced enough turnovers (three) and key stops that the Illini couldn't close the gap. The Nittany Lions are the league's most complete team right now.
The second time he praised the fans and the look of Beaver Stadium on Saturday:

5. That anything other than the "White Out" is not worth it.

If I was a Circuit City employee trying to woo a customer into buying a $2,000 HD plasma TV, the first thing I would show him is Saturday night's broadcast of the Penn State-Illinois game. Even seeing it for a third time, it was impossible not to be awed by the visual grandeur of Penn State's "White Out," which manages to turn a 110,000-seat stadium one enormous flashbulb. It's powerful, it's organized (right down to the block "S" in one corner) and, quite frankly, it's awesome.

Two words of advice to all the other schools trying to mimic it: Just stop. Seriously.
Some pretty strong words from a man that is usually indifferent towards the Nittany Lions and, in some cases, has nothing but bad things to say about them. It's great to be noticed but I hope the team doesn't get carried away. From what some of the players are saying, they appear to have their head on straight and are focusing on one game at a time...with their sights set on Miami, of course.

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