Entertaining offense should be first step
Sports are entertainment, and if fans are going to watch a team or follow it closely, the least they should expect for their time and financial commitment is to be entertained.
Penn State’s offense was so abysmally unentertaining the past two years that it was hard to watch the team most weeks. Even after a number of the wins during back-to-back 7-6 seasons, it was tough to feel all that good about the squad because the games just felt like pulling teeth.
There are many obvious statistical ways to gauge a team’s progress, and if PSU wins eight games or pulls off a signature win, that certainly would mean progress.
Regardless of record, one thing PSU has to accomplish this year is to pass the eye test. James Franklin needs to put a good, fun product on the field every week, one that can do more than barely scrape by, but rather can put up a bunch of points and excite the fan base.
Even if the Lions lose a game, it can be easier to walk out of the stadium following a 35-30 shootout than an ugly, slogging effort. Just like in baseball, it’s not always that bad leaving the ballpark after your team loses 9-7 if you got to see three or four home runs.
This isn’t to suggest that a good defensive battle can’t be entertaining. But in this age of college football, a team that can’t score 30 points on a consistent basis simply isn’t going to contend for league and national titles.
With new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead on board, fans absolutely should expect a much better, more effective and entertaining brand of football than we saw under John Donovan. The offensive line should be better, so the quarterback won’t be running for his life all day.
Look, sports fans have more options now than ever before. They can choose to attend or not attend games in person, and convincing them to leave their house and giant-screen TV is getting harder and harder.
Penn State football has to pay the bills for the school’s 31 sports, and with hundreds of millions of dollars needing to be spent on stadium renovations, the university needs to fill as many of the 107,000 seats as possible every week.
Being a great team that crushes opponents is one way to accomplish that. Until Penn State can become a great team, at least being an entertaining one will keep fans interested and hopeful for the future.
Cory Giger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org