Want some perspective on Penn State’s 30-23 loss to Nebraska in Lincoln Saturday, a defeat that dropped the Nittany Lions to 0-4 on the 2020 season? For everything you’ve heard about the challenges facing the program during this crazy year, well, those are looking like nothing more than excuses at this point.
Consider, if you will, that when Penn State was hit with NCAA sanctions in 2012 — punishments some considered worse than the dreaded “Death Penalty” — it survived that stretch without suffering a single losing season. That was with significantly reduced scholarships, players being allowed to transfer without penalty, and no possibility of bowl games for what turned out to be two years.
So yes, James Franklin’s program has been impacted by some difficult circumstances this season — what turned out to be an ill-timed makeover of his staff, one significant late opt-out and the unfortunate loss of his top two running backs. And he’s playing a Big Ten-only slate.
But we’re now at the juncture where if the Nittany Lions lose one more game — and it sure is looking like that’s going to happen — it will ensure the program’s first sub-.500 campaign since going 4-7 in 2004. This from a team that was ranked No. 8 when its 2020 season began Oct. 24.
It is with that perspective in mind that I present my report card for the Nebraska game. As always, your feedback is appreciated.