Here. We. Go.

James Franklin and the Nittany Lions will begin their 2020 season on Oct. 24 at Indiana. Photo by Steve Manuel.

There’s a popular meme that’s been circulating on social media over the years, a GIF from Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece, “The Dark Knight.”

Heath Ledger’s character, The Joker, looks out across the city landscape while his diabolical plan is underway, and he says with a wave of his hand, “Here. We. Go.”

That’s what this week has felt like for Penn State fans, with the formal announcement that Big Ten football would begin an abbreviated season in late October.

Earlier today, the Nittany Lions’ eight-game regular season was shared, with James Franklin and Co. starting with an Oct. 24 contest against the Hoosiers in Bloomington. The following week, Ohio State visits for a clash on Halloween (Oct. 31), and Penn State will also host Maryland (Nov. 7), Iowa (Nov. 21), and Michigan State (Dec. 12). The Nittany Lions’ other three road games are at Nebraska (Nov. 14), Michigan (Nov. 28), and Rutgers (Dec. 5). Penn State will then play a ninth game on Dec. 19 against an opponent-to-be-determined from the West Division.

Image by Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics

This is all contingent on COVID-19 test results staying within the accepted positivity rates, and you can learn more about the medical protocols at There’s optimism the Big Ten will get through its season, if for no other reason that there’s been a tremendous amount of work that’s gone into ensuring student-athletes have a chance of competing this season, even in a shortened schedule.

Penn State Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour joined this week’s episode of The Football Letter Live, and you can see her appearance on the Alumni Association’s Facebook page. She joins the show near the beginning of the episode.

One other noteworthy item from the week: Barbour said that the Big Ten has decided that they won’t allow on-campus tailgating, and fans are encouraged to cheer on the Nittany Lions from their homes or other places where they’re adhering to the local social distancing guidelines that are in place. 

Look at this way: This year’s cheering section will expand across the country. We’re looking forward to hearing everyone roar on Oct. 24.


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The Football Letter Live: Week 3

Big Ten football is back this fall, and so is The Football Letter Live this evening, for the third episode of our inaugural season.

Penn State Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour will join the show to discuss the return of Big Ten football and what it means for the University and the student-athletes. We’re also discussing the student experience at Penn State, speaking with student leaders from Lion Ambassadors about the S-Zone. Penn State teaching professor Jon Nese will also join the program.

As a reminder, you can register for the entire season of shows online. Tune in tonight at 8 p.m. to celebrate the return of Penn State football. Register online to watch on Zoom or visit our Facebook page and share your questions in the comments.


For more on the The Football Letter, including online archives (requires Alumni Association member log-in), click here.

Not yet an Alumni Association member? Click here.

Penn Staters At The Next Level: Week 1

Forty Penn Staters hold places on NFL rosters to start the 2020 season, which is good for fifth most in the nation. 

That’s also the most Nittany Lions on NFL rosters on opening weekend since at least 2006. 

Here’s a quick rundown of the standout performers from Week 1 and check the end of this blog for the full list of Penn Staters playing and coaching at the next level.

Allen Robinson II, WR, Chicago Bears 

A-Rob had a fruitful opening day performance in the Bears’ comeback win over the Detroit Lions. Robinson II posted five receptions for 74 yards, including this excellent grab to put his team in the red zone late in the third quarter. 

Feel like we’ve seen a catch or two like that before from him.

Trip Down Memory Lane: Allen Robinson II hauls in big pass in 4-OT win over Michigan in 2013. 

Allen Robinson outleaps defensive back to haul in 36-yard pass in final seconds to set up Lions’ final touchdown in regulation time Steve Manuel/The Football Letter

Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Godwin was targeted a team-high seven times by Tampa Bay’s new quarterback Tom Brady and recorded six catches for 79 yards. Big things are expected from Godwin this season after a breakout 2019 campaign, and Week 1 did little to diminish that. As he and Brady continue to develop their rapport, expect Godwin’s statlines to only get bigger and better. 

Trip Down Memory Lane: Chris Godwin goes off for monster performance in Rose Bowl. 

Chris Godwin had a record-setting showing in the 2017 Rose Bowl Game – Steve Manuel/The Football Letter

John Reid, CB, Houston Texans

While the Texans fell to the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs on opening night, Reid made a strong impression in his first career game. Reid finished fourth on the team with six tackles and was credited with a quarterback pressure when sent on a blitz from the secondary. 
Trip Down Memory Lane: John Reid’s pick-six fuels big second half for Penn State against Buffalo.

John Reid provided turning a point in the game with his pick-six early in third quarter – Steve Manuel/The Football Letter

Nittany Lions In The NFL
Baltimore Ravens (1): Trace McSorley
Buffalo Bills (1): Ryan Bates
Carolina Panthers (2): Yetur Gross-Matos, Shareef Miller 
Chicago Bears (2): Jordan Lucas, Allen Robinson II
Dallas Cowboys (2): Sean Lee, Connor McGovern
Denver Broncos (2): DaeSean Hamilton, KJ Hamler 
Detroit Lions (3): Jason Cabinda, Jesse James, Amani Oruwariye
Green Bay Packers (1): Adrian Amos 
Houston Texans (1): John Reid 
Indianapolis Colts (1): Robert Windsor 
Las Vegas Raiders (2): Nick Bowers, Carl Nassib
Los Angeles Rams (1): Nick Scott
Miami Dolphins (1): Mike Gesicki
Minnesota Vikings (1): Dan Chisena 
New Orleans Saints (1): Blake Gillikin 
New York Giants (3): Saquon Barkley, Cam Brown, Austin Johnson
New York Jets (1): Sam Ficken, Chris Hogan, Ross Travis
Philadelphia Eagles (2): Miles Sanders, Trevor Williams 
Pittsburgh Steelers (1): Marcus Allen, Stefen Wisniewski 
San Francisco 49ers (2): Kevin Givens, Robbie Gould 
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3): Chris Godwin, A.Q. Shipley, Donovan Smith 
Tennessee Titans (2): Jack Crawford, DaQuan Jones
Washington Football Team (1): Troy Apke 

Safety Troy Apke brings down Buckeye receiver K.J. Hill – Steve Manuel/The Football Letter

Nittany Lions On NFL Coaching Staffs
Matt Rhule – Carolina Panthers Head Coach
Tom Bradley – Pittsburgh Steelers DBs Coach
Bobby Engram – Baltimore Ravens TEs Coach
Al Golden – Cincinnati Bengals LBs Coach
D’Anton Lynn – Houston Texans Secondary Coach
Mike Munchak – Denver Broncos OL Coach
Jeff Nixon – Carolina Panthers Senior Offensive Assistant
Bill O’Brien (Head Coach 2012-13) – Houston Texans Head Coach

The Football Letter Live: Week 2

This week’s episode of The Football Letter Live focuses on the Alumni Association’s affiliate group network and the inspiring efforts of Penn State volunteer leaders around the world.

Wow, that was fun.

That was the thinking after we wrapped up our inaugural episode of The Football Letter Live last Thursday night. More than a few thousand Penn Staters joined the conversation as CEO Paul Clifford and author John Black hosted this new online venture.

The weekly episodes will continue at 8 p.m. Thursdays this fall, and we’ll share a preview each week on the blog. As a reminder, fans can sign up online for the entire season of shows, which will also be livestreamed on the Alumni Association’s Facebook page.

Tonight, it’s all about our affiliate group network, always an appropriate topic for us to discuss at the Alumni Association.

Our network of about 300 alumni groups unite Penn Staters through shared interests, academic colleges, and geographic regions, and you can learn more during tonight’s show or at


For more on the The Football Letter, including online archives (requires Alumni Association member log-in), click here.

Not yet an Alumni Association member? Click here.

Incoming and current Penn State students competed in the annual water balloon tossing content during the North New Jersey Chapter’s sendoff picnic in July 2019. The chapter’s one of about 300 Alumni Association affiliate groups that unite Penn Staters around the world. Photo by John Patishnock

A New Era Begins

The Football Letter Live_social

You love Penn State football. Of course you do, there’s a lot to love. The Blue Band. The Nittany Lion. Tailgating. The roar of 107,000-plus fans screaming inside Beaver Stadium.

We just need to be patient until we experience that rush again. In the meantime, we’re doing what we can to help fill the void.

One option for fans is tuning in every Thursday night this fall at 8 p.m., when we’ll air our new online show, The Football Letter Live. Alumni Association CEO Paul Clifford ’20g and author of The Football Letter, John Black ’62 will co-host, with the duo sharing a preview of what fans can expect to see in that week’s edition of The Football Letter and discussing various areas of impact for the Alumni Association.

Fans can sign up online for the entire season of shows, which will also be livestreamed on the Alumni Association’s Facebook page.

Tonight’s episode launches the show with some info on what fans can expect and what we have in store this fall, along with commentary on the postponement of the season and what we’re hearing for alumni. Future shows will examine various areas of impact for the Alumni Association, and our alumni will play a significant role. We love sharing inspiring stories of how our alumni are making an impact, so stay tuned for what should be a fun season of shows.

We’ll send out a blog post every Thursday this fall with details on that evening’s show, and we’re encouraging fans to subscribe to the blog to stay updated. Fans can also submit questions ahead of time, and you can share your questions in the comment section of this post. We’ll be sure to pass them along and get to as many as we can during the show.

This fall isn’t what any of us were expecting, though we’re still talking Penn State football. So, tune in, let us know what you think, and hear from Nittany Lions every Thursday this fall.


For more on the The Football Letter, including online archives (requires Alumni Association member log-in), click here.

Not yet an Alumni Association member? Click here.