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‘They Just Gotta Grab the Belt’: College Football Analyst Josh Pate Compares Penn State to WWE Legend

Triple H at a live event on ''Friday Night SmackDown'' in Orlando 2008. | David Seto

Penn State football fans who love WWE will love what Josh Pate said about the program.

College football analyst and podcast coach Pate says that coach James Franklin’s team reminds him of WWE legend HHH.

Here’s the explanation.

“You know what they (Penn State) are?” Pate said on his “Late Kick” podcast Monday, “they are Triple H at Madison Square Garden in 1998 against The Rock for the Intercontinental Championship, and I think we all remember how that ended.”

“Triple H gets the powder in the eyes; he’s blinded; it’s a ladder match. I should mention that. And, so he’s all the way at the top of the ladder, he’s at the top rung, but he’s got the powder in his eyes. And, so the belt’s there, he’s grabbing for it, he’s reaching it, where’s the belt? That’s Penn State.”

Even Penn State fans who don’t know pro wrestling should get to the gist of Pate’s analogy.
Ohio State and Michigan and the proverbial “powder in the eyes.” Both programs have been to the College Football Playoff multiple times before. Penn State has never been.

Both HHH and The Rock became industry legends, with the Rock winning eight world championships and HHH 14. The two also have had and are still having great success after their retirements from the ring. HHH (real name Paul Levesque) is now WWE’s Head of Creative, and Johnson is one of the most successful actors in history. Although professional wrestling is, indeed, predetermined, the IC title win at MSG was a big stepping stone for HHH.

Could the Rose Bowl win over Utah earlier this month be a springboard for Penn State becoming one of college football’s giants? Time will tell. But with key players such as running backs Nick Singleton, Kaytron Allen and linebacker Abdul Carter coming back— all three shone as true freshman this past season— and classmate Drew Allar set to take the reigns at starting quarterback, a lot of big things are possible for Penn State football.

“They just gotta grab the belt,” he said. “That’s it.”

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