Penn State and the 2010 drought

You know, I had high hopes for Penn State this season. I was expecting PSU and Wisconsin to be in close competition for the Big Ten title, the way Boston College challenged UNC last season in the ACC. Instead, as Big Ten play opens, Penn State is an abysmal 2-6-1 in the non-conference schedule and Wisconsin is 3-3-3. Not that I completely discounted Illinois, which is always good for an upset, but I wasn’t aware that PSU would be so woefully unprepared to replace last year’s seniors.

Here is the Big Ten so far, sorted by overall win percentage:

Illinois, 7-1-0
Minnesota, 8-1-2
Michigan, 5-1-2
Iowa, 7-2-1
Ohio State, 6-2-1
Michigan State, 5-2-1
Northwestern, 5-3-2
Wisconsin, 3-3-3
Purdue, 4-5-2
Indiana, 4-5-1
Penn State, 2-6-1

Using a composite national ranking, College Soccer 360 ranks Illinois 15, Minnesota 18, Ohio State 29, Michigan State 44, Wisconsin 48, and Iowa 49.

After holding out hope through the most recent loss at home to Dartmouth, I’m ready to doubt Penn State’s ability to recover from a 2-6-1. On top of a record like that, PSU recently confirmed the loss of key defender Lexi Marton, who suffered a partial MCL tear in the game against Portland. She is expected to miss three months. Penn State is expected to last another month and a half, two at best (which seems unlikely without Marton).