As everybody knows by now, the old rivalry between Penn State and Alabama finally renews Saturday night with the first meeting between the two since 1990.
The two programs originally were scheduled for a home-and-home series in 2004-05, but Penn State allowed Alabama athletic director Mal Moore and his program to back out of that agreement due to NCAA violations that the Tide were dealing with at the time. The series was pushed back to 2010-11 - and here we are.
Little did anybody know that when the series resumed the Crimson Tide would be coming off a national championship. And little did anybody know that the Nittany Lions would be asking a true freshman to quarterback the squad to victory behind an offensive line that still has a lot to prove.
But just as everybody said that a win over Youngstown State shouldn't be looked at too closely, I have the same opinion of a potential - and somewhat probable - defeat in Tuscaloosa on Saturday.
This Alabama team, especially on the offensive side of the ball, is very good. How good? So good that Joe Paterno compared it to the 1986 Miami squad that his team beat in the Fiesta Bowl to win a national title.
"They've got great speed, got wonderful skill people and they have a quarterback (Greg McElroy), I don't know if he's ever lost a college game," Paterno said. "They play with enthusiasm. I know they've lost some people but they've got some people who've played. (Nick Saban) has done a heck of a job with them. They come at you all day. They have talent, they're well coached and they love to play and I think that combination's tough."
Whether or not the Nittany Lions have what it takes to beat the defending champions remains to be seen, but one thing is certain - the excitement level for this game. Longtime Penn State fans have been begging for games like this for many years now and we're starting to see them get their wish. Programs like Miami, Boston College, Nebraska, Notre Dame and now Alabama all have been seen on the non-conference slate in recent years and now we know that the Cornhuskers will be on every Penn State schedule for the foreseeable future.
For the younger Nittany Lion followers - that includes myself - we've only heard the stories of previous battles with Alabama. As a 4-year-old in 1990, it would be a story in itself if I could recall the last meeting between the two schools.
That is reason enough to get excited for this game if you're in the younger generation of college football fans - a chance to watch two of the winningest programs in history play against each other for the first time.
Everyone is aware of the challenges that Penn State will face, but Alabama has a few as well. Just like the blue and white, the Crimson Tide didn't see anything close to a formidable foe in the first week (a home win over San Jose State), which leaves Saban's staff wondering if his revamped defensive unit will handle the task of a primetime contest against top recruits for the first time. In addition, Alabama will be without its best offensive player - defending Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram (injured knee) - and top defensive player Marcell Darius (suspension).
Winning, or staying close for that matter, will not be easy in Bryant Denny Stadium. But even with a loss, this game will not define Penn State's season.
And perhaps the most uplifting aspect - one every Penn State fan should remember if the game gets out of hand on Saturday - is that the Tide will make the trip to Beaver Stadium next season and will bring a much less experienced group with them.
Sounds awfully similar to the Notre Dame series from 2006 and 2007, doesn't it?
Drew Pellman is a Sentinel sports reporter. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.