Friday, November 26, 2010

Penn State vs. Michigan State: Will the Spartans Finally Win One at Beaver Stadium?

With a strangely phrased reference to the John Travolta classic song, "Greased Lightning", this week's Penn State button looks like this:


These weekly buttons distributed for free all around Penn State and State College are intended to make you think, but this slogan is a bit of a stretch.  It might be slightly better if the phrase were "Greeced Lightning" but that extra letter wouldn't fit well on the button.

Personally, I would much prefer something like "Beat Michigan State".  But that's not creative enough. 

A simple slogan like that would probably dismay all those button collectors out there who have been collecting these buttons for the last 38 years despite bank mergers or acquisitions that have changed the sponsor name over time. 

Which begged the question for me, who determines these buttons anyhow? 

So I put the following phrase into Google Search:  "Who Determines the Citizens Bank button slogans" and it directed me to a page on the Citizens Bank website that explains the contest rules.  The winning slogans are chosen by a committee of Citizens Bank and Penn State employees.  They are selected based on "wit, originality, and brevity".  Winners receive $25 for each entry.

I suppose originality is hard to achieve after playing Michigan State year after year since 1993.   Fortunately for the committee, they will have a respite from having to choose yet another play on words related to Spartan victories or defeats.

Beginning next year they will have to figure out what to do with Cornhuskers year in and year out!  Good luck with that.

Speaking of Spartans, the Spartan is the last mascot standing on my mantel:

And here is what my mantel looks like right now:

Will the Spartan be on its back after tomorrow?  I'm just not sure.

Michigan State has a lot of talent and determination this year and a lot more to play for than Penn State does:  a BCS bowl.  After scoring 22 points against Purdue to come from behind to win that game one wonders if they are a team of destiny.  Those types of games are often seminal victories that can propel a team forward to further success. 

Penn State will be playing for a New Year's Day berth in Florida (Jacksonville or Tampa) versus a trip to Arizona for the December 28 bowl in Tempe at Sun Devil Stadium.  Is this enough of an incentive for a young team?  Perhaps.  But Arizona isn't exactly a bad consolation prize! 

The fact that Michigan State has not won at Beaver Stadium since Penn State joined the Big Ten is irrelevant.   This is a different team than the one that was here two years ago, and it's the first time in a long time that a game has been held at University Park on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Conditions at Beaver Stadium will be different as well.  The student section will likely be sparse.  Most students will not have returned from Thanksgiving break.  It's also a 12 noon game.  The Accuweather weather forecast states that it will be partly sunny (that's good!) but windy and cold.  The temperature will be a high of 35 but it will feel more like the low-20's.

If you're coming, pull out all stops.  Bring the hot chocolate.  Wear your long underwear and wool pants.  Mittens and hats are a must.

As for me I'll be a walking sleeping bag in my long down coat!  

Go Penn State!  Beat the Spartans!

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