Penn State vs Michigan: still some sizzle, but no steak


penn state football

The Penn State Homecoming Game versus the Michigan Wolverines is a lot less meaningful than it sounds on paper. You hear Penn State and Michigan and you think “Wow! Two marquee programs! HUGE game this week!”

When in reality, not so much. This game is actually a lot more meh than meaningful. The Nittany Lions are 3-2 overall after losing to Indiana for the very first time in school history. You see that #18 next to Michigan and you think they might be something special…not really. They might actually be the least impressive 5-0 team in history.


The 42-13 win over Minnesota was likely their most impressive victory. Yes, it’s more impressive than the Notre Dame triumph. However, those other three wins are extremely ugly. It just goes to show you that the Big Ten is rather down this year. Yet again. Penn State and Michigan rank among the 12 programs nationally with at least 725 all-time victories.

The Wolverines own a 10-6 edge in the series between the teams with the nation’s biggest stadium capacities. Beaver Stadium is the second-largest stadium in the country with a capacity of 107,282. And the Big House in Michigan can house over 115,000. As such, Penn State and Michigan are always among the top 5 nationally in attendance every year.

“We can’t say enough about our fans. We owe so much to them, and we’re just working hard to play well in front of them,” Bill O’Brien said on conference call yesterday.

So while Penn State versus Michigan certainly has the name brand recognition and the die-hard passionate fan bases going for it; it doesn’t have much actual significance in the national picture. I think the Wolverines are extremely overrated and Penn State can’t go to a bowl game this year. At 3-2, they still have a winning record, but two bad losses in the Hoosiers and Central Florida.

This game is very emblematic of what is wrong with Big Ten football right now. Great attendance, great tradition, but not-so-great at actually playing football. Penn State versus Michigan should be a lot more exciting than this.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An analyst for 95.7 The Fan and 1620 The Zone, he also writes for Chicago Now. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks), Facebook, and RSS

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