Now that for the most part college football season is over, (yes, the National Championship still has to be played!) we as college football fans here in Central Pa can look back and say, “Hey the Panthers and Niittany Lions had pretty good years!” Yes, both LOST their respective bowl games, and that always is a bit of a letdown, but BOTH squads had some unexpected moments that boosted their programs AND our spirits!
Penn State first: Just five years removed from deadly NCAA sanctions, Penn State became a power again! Beating Ohio State on a national stage in dramatic fashion catapulted Franklin’s team into an expected shot to actually make the Football Final Four. They went on to win the Big-10, move into the top-5 of college football, and almost win the Rose Bowl! Anyone in September think any of THAT was gonna happen??!!
Pittsburgh also did some special things with their ’16 season. Of course beating PSU was probably still their finest seasonal moment, but upsetting #2 Clemson (who has a shot at being National Champions) was also a premiere moment for Coach Narduzzi’s squad. Although the Panther secondary was abysmal at times, they managed to get 8 wins and grab their NINTH straight bowl appearance!
So yeah, the seasons may not have ended exactly as we may have scripted from our couches or stadium seats, but it looks like BOTH programs are on the upswing, and next September, chests will be swelled, and bragging rights for the Keystone State will be here again!