It's finally Alabama week, and Penn State has an opportunity Saturday to make a major statement -- about its reputation off the field.
This won't apply to the 99.9 percent of wonderful Nittany Lion faithful who always treat visiting teams and fans with class and respect.
This is for the other 0.1 percent. The knuckleheads who are nationally ridiculed for embarrassing themselves and Penn State University with foul language and foul actions on gamedays at Beaver Stadium.
One year ago, Alabama fans set the college football standard for hospitality, graciousness and class with their off-the-charts friendliness when Penn State visited Tuscaloosa.
It was phenomenal.
If you're a PSU fan who was there, you already know this. If not, ask others who made the trip to the game and they'll tell you story after story of the Southern hospitality shown by 'Bama fans.
Penn State fans need to repay the favor this week.
And most of you will.
But with a sellout crowd of more than 107,000 expected, 0.1 percent still leaves more than 100 knuckleheads who might do or say something stupid and send Alabama fans back home thinking our great region is filled with classless jerks.
Harassing the visiting team's band (2005 vs. Ohio State), yelling drunken obscenities at fans and players (almost every big game) and rioting in State College after a road win (2008 at Ohio State) haven't helped the cause.
Neither did filling up balloons with urine and throwing them at fans. Whether that actually happened after the 2008 game against Ohio State or if it's just urban legend, the rumor of it occurring has damaged Penn State's reputation across college football.
Just google "Penn State fans urine," and you'll see volumes of references to the perceived notion that the story is true.
And we all know perception is reality.
In March, GQ magazine ranked Penn State's fans the seventh worst in American sports. The article stated:
"Behold: a group of fans so vile that the university had to adopt a resolution denouncing 'negative cheering' all the way back in 2000. Loophole: They didn't tell the kids not to throw stuff! Thus students ... have pelted visiting players and band members with snowballs, mud balls, and bottles of urine. Lacking projectiles during the 2008 riots that followed a win over Ohio State, Penn [State] fans uprooted small trees to hurl at police."
Penn State has long had a reputation for being a party school, consistently ranking near the top of the annual Princeton Review survey and holding the No. 1 spot on that list in 2009.
"Party school" can be viewed by some as a compliment because most college students love to party.
There's nothing complimentary about Penn State's place in a new humor book that ranks the top 10 schools for being, well, a word we cannot print. It's sort of a swear word that has grown in popularity in recent years, and urbandictionary.com defines it as:
"An individual [in this case group] who has an over-inflated sense of self worth, compounded by a low level of intelligence, behaving ridiculously in front of colleagues with no sense of how moronic he appears."
Penn State comes in at No. 2 in the book's rankings of top 10 college offenders. The book, written by H.L. Rogers and Peter Littleton, is meant to make people laugh, but the way it portrays PSU is anything but humorous.
Two excerpts from the book:
"[Penn State is] Home of: The 'All I've got is college football; seriously, don't laugh, all I've got is college football" [swear word].'"
"Overheard at Brunch on Saturday Morning: 'What do you guys wanna do today: tailgate at the game, get [drunk], eat some pizza, and break some windows, or tailgate at the game, get [drunk], eat some pizza, and break some windows?'"
The 0.1 percent knucklehead group probably enjoys that reputation. Here's guessing the other 99.9 percent of PSU fans hate it and would like to change it.
Well, Saturday would be a great time to start.
So if you're at the game and see some Alabama fans, it wouldn't hurt to go up and say hello, maybe offer some kind words of luck and tell them you hope they enjoy their visit to PA.
Like most of you probably already do each week.
Also, if you see some knuckleheads acting stupid and harassing 'Bama fans, either try to say something in a polite way to stop them or tell a security official.
Make it so that the next time the Nittany Lions and Crimson Tide play each other, fans in Alabama will be talking glowingly about Penn State fans and their visit here.
Cory Giger is the host of "Sports Central" from 4 to 6 p.m. daily on ESPN Radio 1430 WVAM. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @CoryGiger on Twitter.