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Orange in Edmonton

Orange in Edmonton

January 5th, 2006  · stk

The Penn State Nittany Lions football team finished #3 in the Nation during regular season play. They also won the Jan 3, 2006 BCS FedEx Orange Bowl against FSU (26-23)! It took a record-long, triple-overtime to win. See video highlights of the game ...

Penn State Nittany Lions win FedEx Orange Bowl
Takes Record-long, Triple-Overtime to Top FSU 26-23

I know a thing or two about oranges, growing up in soCal with citrus trees growing in our yard. The intoxicating, fragrant smell of orange blossoms in the spring. The tree-ripened sweetness of oranges, tangerines and grapefruit.

The downside, is knowing what good citrus tastes like. It's rare that oranges purchased from an Edmonton grocery store live up to that standard. They're usually pithy and dry (frost-bitten), bruised, green or over-ripe. Even when they're juicy, they lack that tree-ripened sweetness.

So ... knowing oranges ... a blessing or a curse?

A Penn State football fan, I knew about the January 3rd Orange Bowl meeting between the #3-ranked Nittany Lions and #22 Florida State University Seminoles. The problem? Living in Edmonton, Canada. Here, New Years Day isn't synonymous with College Football Bowl games. I didn't check (because I was busy remodeling a certain bathroom), but I don't think ANY bowl games made into local programming on New Year's Day.

So, without on-air reminders, the evening of January 3rd appeared like any other New Year night.

Fortunately, while I was checking my email, I noticed someone reading the Geographically Challenged article on our web-site. "OMG," I realized, "I'm missing the GAME!!"

By the time I tuned into a radio broadcast, it was near the end of a (scoreless) 3rd quarter and Penn State was holding a narrow 14-13 lead. Depressed about missing the majority of the game I listened to a 4th quarter that looked like it would end with a Penn State win in the waning seconds ... as it turned out ... there was still LOTS more football than that!

New Life for Penn State Football

There hasn't been much to cheer for during the last few football seasons. In 2004, the Nittany Lions couldn't mount an offense and the result was a record of 4 wins and 7 losses. The defense, however, was terrific (I think they might have even scored more points over the course of the season) and it was exciting each time they took the field. But, it was like there was only half a team playing. Penn State sorely needed a consistent offensive attack.

2005 marked a complete turn-a-round, which has been exciting to witness, after suffering through the past few seasons. Paterno loosened the reins on play calling and has taken a page from the UT Longhorn, high-powered offense. Combine that with some lucky, recent recruits (Derrick Williams and Deon Butler, among others) ... and BOOM ... they've got an offense (finally). With a bunch of outstanding, returning seniors making up the best defense in recent memory (ever?) and you've got the makings of a #3 team and it was fun watching them develop, grow and gain confidence in themselves.

The only statistical mar during the season was Michigan loss (which was an exciting game to the end, but one that, theoretically anyway, Penn State should have won). My take on the game.

I kinda get tired of everyone indicating their team is number one, using index fingers (and even, sometimes middle fingers). Not everyone can be #1. Some might argue that Penn State had a #1 team, but not me. The USC Trojans and the UT Longhorns, I think, are truly where they belong ... sitting at #2 and #1 respectively, after their exciting (and not on Edmonton TV either) Rose Bowl game. I'm quite happy with a #3 finish. I'm pleased, not only as a fan, but also for the players and Joe Paterno.

There has been a LOT of talk in recent years about ousting Joe, that he should retire, but I disagree. He's a living legend and this bowl match-up, for a lot of reasons - (pitting the two most winningest coaches against each other, for starters) - made for a college classic. Having it decided in triple overtime, the first time that's ever happened in the BCS, might even be an apt end (though you gotta feel for the field-goal kickers ... what a horrible weight on their shoulders).

My hat is off to Joe Pa and his "kids" (all of which are bigger and tougher than me). Thanks for a great football season and congratulations. A hallmark of PSU football, you guys truly take the word "team" to a higher level. It was a privilege to listen (wish I could have watched) ... and I look forward to another exciting year, next year. Too bad it's 8 months away, but (maybe) I'll have cable next year?

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Updated: 5-Dec-2008
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