Losses put both Penn State, Tennessee on wrong side of history
When you consider how these two programs have been active since the late-1800s, it makes Saturday's occurrences seem even more dubious.
Here's how their losses this weekend have saddled the historic programs with unfortunate bits of history:
The 2020 campaign is the 127th season of Penn State football. Thanks to Saturday's 41-21 home loss to Iowa, the year also marks the first season the Nittany Lions have ever started 0-5.
Penn State was hit hard by opt-outs - led by star linebacker Micah Parsons - and significant injuries - like the career-ending heart condition that sidelined Journey Brown - but this is still a shocking way for James Franklin's outfit to start the campaign.
Who would have thought the controversial call allowing Indiana to knock off Penn State in the opener would send the two teams in such different directions. The Hoosiers may have suffered a narrow loss to Ohio State on Saturday, but the ninth-ranked team in the country has shown they are more than worthy of all the accolades at 4-1 on the season.
Since the opening day setback, Penn State has fallen at home to a dominant Ohio State team. That loss certainly doesn't raise any alarm bells, but the next three games are definitely causes for concern. Home losses to Maryland and the Hawkeyes will not sit well with the Nittany Lions faithful and neither will a road loss to a Nebraska program just run off the field by Illinois on Saturday.
Penn State finishes with games at Michigan and Rutgers before a home date with Michigan State. The Nittany Lions have never ended a season with under two wins, and the last time they completed a schedule with only a pair of victories was 1932.
What a difference a few weeks make for Tennessee football's outlook. The Volunteers ripped off two wins to start the season, giving them an eight-game run dating back to last year that had certainly made it look like Jeremy Pruitt was turning things around in Knoxville.
Fast forward a few weeks to Saturday and Auburn's 30-17 win, marking the Volunteers' fifth straight loss by double-digits - the first time that's occurred since the program's founding in 1891.
The losing streak started in early October when a promising first half against Georgia turned sour in the second, resulting in a 44-21 loss for Tennessee. An embarrassing 34-7 home loss to Kentucky gave the Wildcats their first win in 17 games at Neyland Stadium. A 29-point loss to Alabama and an 11-point defeat to Arkansas have caused the Volunteers to fall from the AP Top-25 rankings towards the basement of the SEC East.
The good news for Tennessee? The next contest is a road trip to lowly Vanderbilt, the only winless team in the SEC. The bad news? The Volunteers finish the season with home matchups against No. 6 Florida and No. 5 Texas A&M. Should Tennessee go 1-2 over that stretch, the school would finish with its first three-win season since 1924.
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