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$1.3 Million for the Home Team

It’s great to see Head Coach James Franklin’s Penn State Nittany Lions off to such a great start. Granted, they haven’t really been tested by a top-notch opponent yet. It was good to see Pitt back on the schedule. A Penn’s Woods rivalry game that should happen every year! Pitt isn’t quite up to par with the old Pitt teams coached by Jackie Sherrill when Penn State – Pitt lead to a shot at playing for a National Title. The event traditionally took place the last game of the season.

I still find myself almost sort of uncomfortable hearing anyone but Joe Paterno referred to as the leader of the Blue & White. Yes, I know that ship has sailed for obvious reasons. I just wonder how many Penn State fans have that same feeling? Probably all that believe his statue belongs right back at its home at Beaver Stadium. And I’m not going to open that can of worms today.

Coach Franklin appears to have the Nits back to being a Top 10 program. His recruiting and results on the field show no reason he’s not building Penn State back to the powerhouse of yesteryear. They play hard and are exciting to watch; Joe Pa would be proud.

My Father would say to me, “A Penn State win makes a beautiful fall weekend even better.” Although he would question some of Penn State’s opponents and much rather have that “W” come over West Virginia, Syracuse, Alabama, Notre Dame and yes, of course, Pitt.

It has been common practice for decades for Division I powerhouses to play some not so powerful non-conference early-season opponent to round out the Home schedule and guarantee a win.

Thus you had Georgia State traveling to Beaver Stadium last Saturday. The Nittany Lions get their third win, and Georgia State gets $1.3 million for getting whooped up on in front of 100,000 plus enjoying the carnage.

Well, here is a great idea for the high-profile, big buck world of Pennsylvania college football. Incidentally many times the teams our Nation’s best squads feast on aren’t even straight up Division I FBS opponents. They are what I still refer to as Division I-AA, or FCS as it’s now called. The one thing that division has right is a full-fledged playoff system to determine a true National Champion. Unlike the 4-team version used by the power conferences. Again a story for another day.

Keep that $1.3 million payout right here within the borders and economy of Pennsylvania. There are several programs that would love to have the opportunity, and the big check, the GSU Panthers got for traveling to University Park.

PSU gets three non-conference games per season. Two of three should be accounted for each year by rival Pitt and Temple. The Owls are a long time Nittany Lion foe and the return trip to play at Lincoln Financial Field in Philly is a great recruiting tool.

That leaves us that one game each year against East Anywhere State or Coastal South Dakota. Whatever school can be added in on the schedule, given a big payday for their efforts — and are usually never heard from again.

Fill this week of the season in with Villanova, Penn, Lafayette, Lehigh and yes, Bucknell. Give them the bright lights of Beaver Stadium and the National publicity. Not to mention that $1.3 million to be used for their program right here in our great State of Pennsylvania.

Results of the game will be the same, a one-sided PSU victory — and believe me the list of PA opponents is right on par with the scheduling of this non-conference match-up.

Kent State, Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, Indiana St. and Akron are some recent visitors to Happy Valley. I recall Brown and Coastal Carolina also making the trip not so long ago.

I must add Coach Franklin and his team only play the schedule they’re given. It is up to the athletic director and school administration to provide the schedule.

What a great way during tough economic times to not only keep $1 million plus in PA, but also give a fellow Pennsylvania team a shot at that “Hoosier Moment” every small school dreams about. Also, outside the Big 10 schedule, all non-conference games will take place right here in the Keystone State — what a great way to market Penn State football and keep the dollars in our institutes of higher learning.

Whether it’s PSU, Lycoming, Lock Haven or your favorite high school program, get out and enjoy football on Friday Nights and on those special autumn Saturdays. What a great way to spend time with family and friends. And I agree with my Dad, Saturdays this time of year are just a little better with a Nittany Lions win.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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