Here's the second part of our look at the schedule along with an educated guess of what Paterno will say about the opposing team the Tuesday before:
Oct. 3 at Illinois: If Larry Johnson had taken the defensive coordinator position with the Illini this might have been a game with a little added cache. Instead it'll have to settle for being the Lions' first road game of the season. The Nits haven't exactly wowed on the road over the last few years. You got to wonder if all the home games isn't ample enough preparation. Joe's take: "We had a heck of time going into Champaign two years ago. If it wasn't for those Illini defenders catching Morelli's second half passes we might have pulled that game out."
Oct. 10 Eastern Illinois: With 12-game schedules, almost every major program seems to have a Division I-AA opponent on its card. Penn State is no different. This year's patsies are the Panthers. Seems worth the price of a ticket, $500 for a hotel room over two mandatory nights, gas, food and parking fees to see the Lions clobber a JV squad. Joe's take: "We're going to roll all over Eastern Illinois! I can't wait to run it up on the Panthers to improve our BCS ranking! Hey, how's 100-0 sound, boys? Book it. Whoo-hooo!"
Oct. 17 Minnesota: I'm not sure if the Lions will face the Minnesota team that started 7-1 last season or the one that lost its final five games. I'm betting on the latter. Joe's take: "I think we better be prepared for the team that started 7-1 last season and not the one that lost its final five games."
Oct. 24 at Michigan: Now that Penn State's nine-game losing streak to Michigan is over, it's time to focus on another dubious streak -- the Lions' four consecutive losses in Ann Arbor. With Rich Rodriguez still fumbling the maize and blue up this streak looks to be over. Joe's take: "We've had some close games out there. Some games we should have won. Some games the refs influenced. I don't know if I've ever said this before, but that Michigan game in '05, we were one second away from the national championship."
Part III tomorrow. I can feel the anticipation ...