I'm watching Penn State play Florida State. They're in overtime, because the freshman kicker for the Nittany Lions missed a 29-yard field goal. I want Penn State to win badly, with all due respect to ACC suporter pissang, because A) their coach Joe Paterno is a former English major and remains a supporter of the humanities; B) because the Joe Paterno Professor of English is presently Michael Bérubé, one of my favorite people; C) because I'm recalling my childhood watching Penn State play on dreary egg-nog days, when they were without a conference and therefore always fighting an uphill battle for national respect; and D) because my father got his Ph.D. at Penn State and always followed them closely during my pre-teen years. I can feel our old living room, the eighteenth-century beams, the way the nail bumps of the oak flooring felt on my sock-covered feet. Florida State missed wide right while I was typing this. Penn State now has another chance to win with a long field goal. And the kicker missed again. It's a war of attrition at this point. But I know where my allegiance lies, regardless of my mild antipathy to the Big Ten. Oh, and in case you were wondering, this is not an allegory of my personal life. Or, to be more precise, it's not an allegory I'm performing consciously. I'm too well versed in the workings of the not-so-conscious to declare that there's nothing beyond the surface in my football watching.