A look at the schedule, part III

Here's the last part of our look at the coming schedule along with an educated guess of what Joe Paterno might say about the opposing team the Tuesday prior to the game:

Oct. 31 at Northwestern: Aside from the road trip to Madison, Wisc., the game at Northwestern is the most welcomed of away dates for Penn State beat writers. I'm sure travel ling Lions' fans feel the same way. It's Chicago, after all. Joe's take: "I like that Pat Fitzgerald kid. He reminds me of myself a half century ago."

Nov. 7 Ohio State: This may be the only time all season that Penn State plays a ranked team. That should impress the voters. If Penn State was undefeated at this point and ranked no higher than No. 8, I could imagine Paterno's justification for his schedule. Joe's take: "When we scheduled Syracuse a few years back they were doing pretty well. It's hard to predict these things."

Nov. 14 Indiana: Somehow the Big Ten decided to stick it to the Hoosiers and forced them to travel to Penn State for the second straight year. I'm not sure it would have mattered if the game was played in Bloomington. Joe's take: "If we're not careful Akron ... er, Syracuse ... uh, Temple ... hmm, Eastern Illinois ... I mean, Indiana will come here and give us a licking."

Nov. 21 at Michigan State: Penn State has had mixed results in East Lansing. The Spartans, who really weren't that good last year, won't have Javon Ringer. My guess is that a share of the Big Ten title will be on the line, as will a BCS bowl berth. But will it really matter? The Lions don't play for national championships anymore. They play for Paterno's legacy and that silly all-time wins record he's battling Bobby Bowden for. Joe's take: "We've won 50 games in the last five years. I don't know who else could say that." [Florida could, and it has two national titles during that span.]