WORTHY OPPONENTS MAKE FOR LONG SEASONS
How competition isn’t always a good thing for talented teams.
By Tim Blasco
In the movie A Beautiful Mind Russell — this article spoils the movie if you haven’t seen it — Crowe depicts a young John Nash at Princeton. Yes, we’re talking college football with a theory derived by a genius while in college. John Nash has schizophrenia and begins to make an imaginary friend that he pals around with. More on young men in college later too.
While he’s in the middle of his delusions Nash develops the beginning of Game Theory. In the movie he’s sitting in the bar and there is an equal number of men and women. It’s college, and there’s booze work with me here. The men are looking at the women, and the women are looking at each other. Nash has a spark of brilliance. As all the men are planning to make their move for the prettiest woman so they can dance with her. Nash realizes they will all go home unhappy if they attempt that, instead he supposes that if all members made their plans known then all players would find a suitable mate. This is known as Nash Equilibrium and its a breakthrough in Game Theory and Economic Studies.
Unfortunately Penn State Football cannot use Nash Equilibrium or Game Theory at the beginning of every season or game. College Football is truly a week to week phenomenon like no other. You have to go for the best thing you can as a team at all times. In essence every man must go for the girl, even if they know they have no chance. That is why games that had so much talent in them are overlooked in the regular season. In my opinion Penn State and Ohio State played the most evenly matched and competitive game you will see in NCAA Football for the rest of the year.
Both teams had a myriad of injuries against each other this year. Penn State’s suspect Offensive Line lost its LT Ryan Bates, a DE Ryan Bucholz and CB Christian Campbell. Every other play in the 3rd QTR seemed to stop due to someone hobbling to the sidelines. What was worse was the lack of comeback from Penn State in the 4th Quarter in the last two weeks. It’s not that Penn State’s defense is bad, it’s just that it lacks depth and that’s a bad thing.
Penn State Football will be ok. They are bowl eligible and should make the rest of the season with a W’s. As Editor and Chief of Footballstories Magazine Al Thompson pointed out on Wednesday after the radio show, “Ohio State is playing Iowa in Iowa, that could be a good thing for Penn State.” It turns out it wasn’t. We had both assumed Penn State would surpass Michigan State in the 3rd QTR today. Neither one of use thought it was that bad in Penn State. It was.
The entire preseason everyone was excited about Penn State Football. I kept wincing at this 3 week block in the schedule. Everything else looked ok. When asked on the radio show Wednesday on 610 AM ESPN Radio I repeatedly pointed out that this wall in the schedule between Oct 21 and Nov 4 would hopefully only cause 1 loss. I don’t see any team in the BCS playing Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State in a 3 week span and not losing 1 in 3. To leave out that 2 of 3 were on the road! Penn State had a weak schedule but a saturation of fortitude in the last 3 weeks like no other team in the Big 10 or the BCS.
Remember those young men with delusions. Lets cover that. There are thousands of cocksure young men in High School right now getting ready for High School Football playoffs, a lesser amount of college men have played their games today. They all believe one thing, they will be the champion. There are so many variables and so many possible outcomes its almost unbelievable how anyone has the guts to even attempt such a thing. There’s literally more fate than fact in a players run from High School player to NFL All Star, so much can happen that is beyond anyone’s control. Yet players still believe they can do it. That’s delusional; yet so amazing to see when it works out.
I don’t believe Penn State’s young men on their team chose their schedule. I don’t think it’s fair that the toughest game of the season put both Penn State and Ohio State out of contention for the BCS Playoff system. Its not fair, its unethical, it may even be unequivocal but its not uncommon. No — I’m not saying PSU or OSU always get the short end of the stick — I’m saying destiny takes weird turns for everyone and this is a hard sport to predict.
So it’s hard to predict where Penn State Football goes from here. Oddly enough they have had enigmatically worse things to worry about. If they end up in the Pinstripe Bowl this year that can’t be a bad thing. They played their tales off. There is one more thing to argue in the BCS debates. Concentration of strength within duration can be added to the debatable clauses within the BCS. No team had it tougher in the last 3 weeks than Penn State and that’s a fact.