Penn State’s 33-24, Fifth Consecutive Loss to OSU Teaches Valuable Lesson
Another close loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Not something anyone will care about in twenty years when they see Ohio State won (at least) five-straight against Penn State for the first time in the series history. In the past five matchups, the Nittany Lions have found ways to play the Buckeyes better than anyone else in the conference, but haven’t found ways to come up on top.
And while nobody gave them a chance heading into Saturday, it’s hard to feel good about a moral victory in the midst of a three-game losing streak. However, this loss, like its predecessors stamps an important lesson for head coach James Franklin & Co.: losing to Ohio State shouldn’t be your measuring stick for success and beating Ohio State is not the only way to achieve your goals.
The truth is even if Penn State continues to recruit well they are never going to recruit at the same level as Ohio State, but they can put a product on the field that will always give them a chance. In seasons where Penn State hosts Ohio State, or a season where Ohio State’s team is in a valley for whatever reason, maybe the Nittany Lions will even be favored. But it’s unfair and unlikely to expect Penn State to beat Ohio State more than once every three years.
But the loss on Saturday tells us losing to Ohio State is OK, if and only if Penn State takes care of business everywhere else.
Penn State would not be riding a three-game losing streak if they had been able to hold on against Iowa and not flop against Illinois. It’s a story I continue to sear into the hearts of Penn State fans, but the program needs to realize it too.
Should we chase the Buckeyes and try to compete with them on and off the field? Absolutely.
But the reason Ohio State is the best team in the conference isn’t because they just beat Penn State; it’s because they also beat everyone else and that’s something Penn State hasn’t been able to do consistently. With the College Football Playoff most likely to expand in the next couple years, one loss to Ohio State isn’t going to keep Penn State out of the Playoff, but acting like Ohio State is the only team on our schedule worth giving our best effort to, will.
There is no excuse for the Illinois debacle after seeing the way this team played against the Buckeyes on the road. In fact it makes the entire month of October even more frustrating. You don’t get a Big Ten Trophy or an invitation to the Playoff for playing Ohio State more consistently than everyone else, but you do have a better shot if you begin treating everyone else like they are Ohio State.
The good news for the Nittany Lions is they can begin to learn this crucial lesson with the remaining games on their schedule. Prove to us that Ohio State isn’t the only team you care about by winning the remainder of your games, all of which you can win based on your performance last night.