Many passionate members of the Nittany Nation went into panic mode this week after a loss to Iowa, so one can only imagine what next week would be like if Penn State loses to Illinois.
The chances of that happening aren't great since the Illini are 8 1/2-point underdogs. It's also homecoming, and Joe Paterno has lost only five of those games in 44 seasons.
So a win is expected Saturday.
But it's by no means guaranteed.
If PSU cannot find a way to get past the Illini, the panic that has existed the past few days could turn into full-fledged chaos for Lion fans.
The first two losses to Alabama and Iowa were expected, although Penn State's shoddy play for much of those games was not. Still, at 3-2, this team is exactly where almost everyone figured it would be at this point.
A loss to Illinois, however, and it will become apparent that this season could turn disastrous - like 6-6 or even 5-7 with no bowl appearance.
If the Lions fall to Illinois, they will start questioning themselves and looking at the rest of the schedule knowing there's not one sure-fire victory left. Not even against Indiana, which, unlike Penn State, has a good offense.
Entering play this week, four teams that remain on PSU's schedule are undefeated: Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Northwestern.
Minnesota looks like a train wreck right now, but that game is on the road, and the Gophers traditionally have given the Lions problems. Of the other five opponents, not one is a gimme, and Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State all likely would beat PSU if those games were being played this weekend.
That's potentially five losses right there. If Illinois is six, then Northwestern or Indiana could be seven, meaning the Lions would be shut out of a bowl game.
There, that's the worst-case scenario.
Now, the good news.
Beating Illinois could turn this whole season around, which is the beauty of football. One game is all it takes sometimes for young players to gain confidence and turn that into performance going forward, plus the Lions have a bye next week to work on fine-tuning everything.
Speaking of that, let's go forward through the rest of the schedule for a quick look at what each opponent has done so far. We've also solicited the expert advice of longtime Altoona Mirror sports odds expert Suds Solomon for his predictions on what the point spreads would be if the games were to be played this weekend (for entertainment purposes only, of course).
Suds checked in with Las Vegas Sports Consultants, who provided estimated lines.
Oct. 23: at Minnesota
The Gophers (1-4) looked like a tougher opponent in the preseason, what with their new stadium and renewed commitment to football, but they have been awful so far. They've dropped four in a row, including at home to South Dakota and Northern Illinois.
Suds Solomon's projected line: Penn State by 10
Oct. 30: vs. Michigan
Quarterback Denard Robinson has been the best player in the country so far, passing for 1,008 yards and running for 905 (181 per game) for the Wolverines (5-0). He has to be the current Heisman frontrunner and will have to keep playing well to overshadow Michigan's poor defense (25.4 points per game). The Wolverines will have a bye week to get ready for PSU.
Suds Solomon's line: Penn State by 2 1/2
Nov. 6: vs. Northwestern
Quarterback Dan Persa has completed an incredible 79.4 percent of his passes (108-for-136) for the Wildcats (5-0). But is Northwestern all that good? A 30-25 win over Central Michigan and 29-28 over Minnesota suggests no.
Suds Solomon's line: Penn State by 8 1/2
Nov. 13: at Ohio State
The No. 2 Buckeyes (5-0) appear to have only Iowa standing between them and a spot in the BCS title game. Terrelle Pryor & Co. also have a bye week to prepare for the Lions. It's pretty ridiculous that both Michigan and Ohio State have byes before playing Penn State.
Suds Solomon's line: Ohio State by 13
Nov. 20: vs. Indiana
This will be like a home game for PSU as it will be played at the Washington Redskins' FedEx Field. Indiana (3-1) has a quality quarterback in Ben Chappell (71.6 percent, 342 yards per game, 12 TDs, 1 INT) but a weak defense.
Suds Solomon's line: Penn State by 10
Nov. 27: vs. Mich. State
The Spartans (5-0) are off to another fast start, and time will tell if they endure yet another late-season slump. Maybe they won't this year with all the players getting motivation from coach Mark Dantonio coming back from a heart attack.
Suds Solomon's line: Penn State by 3
Cory Giger is the host of "Sports Central" from 4 to 6 p.m. daily on ESPN Radio 1430 WVAM. He can be reached at 949-7031 or email@example.com.