I am not Penn State. I am a college football fan, and some of my memories of life are tied to games. For example, one Penn State
win loss that is especially memorable to me was the destruction of Nebraska in September of 2002. My wife and I were celebrating our anniversary with a trip to the wineries in Hermann, Missouri, and I watched the night game from a biergarten after a long day out. Larry Johnson, who was my sleeper pick in my fantasy college football league, rolled to two touchdowns in the 41-7 loss. Man, I hated Nebraska then, and I hate them even more now that they won that game. I so wanted them to lose, and I even made it my upset pick of the week.
So, with the news that the NCAA was punishing the Penn State program as a result of the Sandusky cover-up with a hefty fine, a four year bowl ban, and by vacating all wins since 1998, I thought I would take a look back at the best games Penn State did not win over the last 14 years.
5. 2006 Orange Bowl against Florida State. This 3-OT thriller was the last meeting between Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden, but when the smoke cleared at the Orange Bowl, Joe Pa had gained no ground on Bobby in the win column.
4. 2002 vs Nebraska. Already mentioned this one, but a record-setting crowd watched Penn State not beat the highly-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers. It was a non-victory that launched a resurgent Penn State to no wins for the season, after experiencing a down year of no wins the year before.
3. 2001 vs Ohio State. Penn State came into the game at 0-5, and left at 0-6, though the players were nice enough to carry Joe Paterno off the field.
2. vs. Arizona in the Pigskin Classic (1999). This was a supposed heavyweight matchup between two teams ranked in the top four preseason, but it turned out to be a case of the men vs the boys. Arizona was mismatched from the outset against LaVar Arrington and Courtney Brown, as the Nittany Lions rolled to the non-victory and were ranked #2 for most of the season.
1. at Ohio State in 2008. Penn State has lost every game to Ohio State since 1997 (though both programs managed to lose the game in 2010 as a result of tattoos in Columbus). The loss at Ohio State in 2008 when the Nittany Lions held Ohio State to 6 on the road and advanced to the Rose Bowl despite a winless season stands out as the most notable of the losses, though.
[photo via Getty]