UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – It’s a strange scene here at Beaver Stadium for Penn State – Ohio University.
Now, 45 minutes or so from kickoff, there’s some atmosphere. The students are jumping around, loud music is blaring and the teams are on the field.
Outside of the stadium earlier, it was just strange. There were tailgaters in blue and white everywhere, but it wasn’t a wild atmosphere. People – at least the ones I saw – were more just kind of there than partying. There was a ‘Rally Ring’ formed outside the stadium as Penn State fans formed a circle and locked arms.
I heard only a couple ‘We Are’ chants. During one of them, I saw people openly weeping.
I’d imagine official pregame ceremonies will be very emotional.
Earlier this week, Ohio University extended the contract of head coach Frank Solich through 2017. Solich is 50-40 in seven years as the Bobcats coach but has been in three straight bowl games and is coming off a 10-win season.
If he wins today, he could run for mayor.
Football as a known and proven commodity in Athens could be here to stay. The school’s commitment to athletics includes a new indoor football practice facility set to open next year, this extension and the addition of Jim Christian as the school’s basketball coach on the heels of a Sweet 16 appearance.
Solich’s extension should help recruiting, too, as successful MAC coaches are often in demand with bigger programs.
A little bit lost in the shuffle this week was the fact that former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez coaches his first game at Arizona tonight.
We all know what happened last time Rodriguez coached against Toledo in 2008.
It won’t be a shock if it happens again.
I’ll do some more in-depth predictions next week, but for entertainment’s sake — and to satisfy my very critical brother — here’s how I see today’s games going. I’ll chart these through the year.
Ohio State (-24) 38, Miami-Ohio 10
Ohio (+6) 27, Penn State 21
Toledo (+10) 29, Arizona 27
Florida 31, Bowling Green (+29) 10
Alabama 27, Michigan (+14) 17