Sunday, September 21, 2014

Weapons of UMass Destruction

On a bright, sunny fall day, Penn State unleashed its weapons of "U"mass destruction on the Minutemen, ending in a 48-7 decision that could have been worse if the back-ups hadn't taken over in the third quarter.  Granted, this wasn't Wisconsin, Alabama, or Oregon we were playing, but I think we got we expected.  The Lions Shock and Awe featured four runners, seven receivers, two quarterbacks, and James Franklin in a pear tree.  What's to complain about?

The score could have been 66-0 without substitutions later in the game.   It would have been more fun to pitch a shut out.  The final score was still respectable and covered the point spread.  In my weekly foe pause, I begged the team not to struggle.  Didn't look good for me in the first quarter, but the slow start was erased as the offense picked up steam.  Field goals became touchdowns.  No turn-overs by the blue and white, and the offensive line gained some confidence.  We won't know until they face better defenses if this has any long term effect.  With the offensive line doing better, the run game did better.  The officiating crew threw no egregious flags or over looked any egregious penalties.  What more could you ask for?

Which begs the question . . .why was there only 99,155 fans?  You can't blame it on the weather.  Unworthy opponent?  Some pundits thought this might be a trap game.  PSU has never played UMass before.  Granted, not as exciting as a game against Ohio State, but a team can't compete at that level every week anyway.  The team needs a game like this now and then.  And Nebraska brought in 91,082 versus McNeese State!  Their capacity is listed at 87,000 on wikipedia with a record crowd of 91,585 against Miami this week.  Look at those numbers again--that's a difference of 503 fans between McNeese State and Miami (FL)!  They apparently aren't "competition snobs" out in Lincoln--they love their team no matter who they play!

Money a problem???  Even if you can't afford season tickets, you could buy single game tickets.  It was a great game to bring the kids--warm weather, fairly family friendly atmosphere (compared to a night game against the Bucks), and a fun game to watch.  In fact I saw more kids and babies (one wearing big pink headphones to block out the crowd noise) at this game than any other I can recall.  Seriously, park your STEP and administrative protests at home and get your butt down to watch these kids play.  They may not be the greatest team in the country, but they are playing their hearts out.  Don't make a statement to the BOT by eschewing this team--make a better statement by showing up and packing the stadium.  Let the BOT know that we fans are a force to be reckoned with!  Make James Franklin smile!

I still can't get over how eerily this team parallels some of the good (and later in the year, I hope to change that to great, but there is still a lot of work to be done yet to earn that adjective) teams of the vintage Paterno era.  A 13-10 victory in primetime against Rutgers.  Winning on a late field goal against UCF as an underdog.  Mounting a comfortable halftime lead against an inferior opponent and then letting the back-ups have some fun and the second string D giving up a meaningless score in garbage time.  It's like Joe has been re-incarnated--his spirit is all over and around this team.

So we came out of this game with no turn-overs, no significant injuries, and a back-up QB that looks like he can fill in if duty calls.  The O-line did better, but needs to keep improving.  This team has a legitimate chance to be undefeated when the Buckeyes come to visit in mid October.  They may even be favored to win the next two games.

BY THE NUMBERS:

  Team Statistics  
 Team Totals  UMASS  PSU 
FIRST DOWNS  13  23 
   Rushing  11 
   Passing  11 
   Penalty 
NET YARDS RUSHING  228 
   Rushing Attempts  28  45 
   Average Per Rush  0.1  5.1 
   Rushing Touchdowns 
   Yards Gained Rushing  59  247 
   Yards Lost Rushing  56  19 
NET YARDS PASSING  263  236 
   Completions-Attempts-Int  17-33-0  18-32-0 
   Average Per Attempt  8.0  7.4 
   Average Per Completion  15.5  13.1 
   Passing Touchdowns 
TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS  266  464 
   Total offense plays  61  77 
   Average Gain Per Play  4.4  6.0 
Fumbles: Number-Lost  4-1  0-0 
Penalties: Number-Yards  4-30  6-52 
PUNTS-YARDS  5-191  3-122 
   Average Yards Per Punt  38.2  40.7 
   Net Yards Per Punt  36.8  40.3 
   Inside 20 
   50+ Yards 
   Touchbacks 
   Fair catch 
KICKOFFS-YARDS  2-130  9-576 
   Average Yards Per Kickoff  65.0  64.0 
   Net Yards Per Kickoff  40.0  39.6 
   Touchbacks 
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD  1-1-0  2-7-0 
   Average Per Return  1.0  3.5 
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD  1-20-0  1-25-0 
   Average Per Return  20.0  25.0 
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD  0-0-0  0-0-0 
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD  0-0-0  1-7-0 
Miscellaneous Yards 
Possession Time  22:28  37:32 
   1st Quarter  6:03  8:57 
   2nd Quarter  7:14  7:46 
   3rd Quarter  4:25  10:35 
   4th Quarter  4:46  10:14 
Third-Down Conversions  3 of 13  10 of 17 
Fourth-Down Conversions  1 of 4  1 of 1 
Red-Zone Scores-Chances  0-1  6-6 
   Touchdowns  0-1  5-6 
   Field goals  0-1  1-6 
Sacks By: Number-Yards  2-10  3-25 
PAT Kicks  1-1  6-6 
Field Goals  0-1  2-2 
Points off turnovers  14 


Penn State scored on EIGHT straight possessions after going three and out with a punt on the first possession of the game.

No turn-overs for PSU!

THREE YARDS total for Umass on the ground!  Shoop there it is!

INTANGIBLES:

UMass won the toss and deferred.

The drum major hit both flips--the first perhaps one of the best flips ever.

James Franklin is 4-0 and the first PSU coach to start his career 4-0 since 1915.

Attendance listed at 99,155.  WE CAN DO BETTER!

THE BIG (10) PICTURE:

Who's Hot:

Indiana upset Missouri 31-27.

Nebraska out-slugs Miami 41-31.  Lots of off-setting penalties in that one.

Wisconsin rolled out the barrel all over Bowling Green, 68-17.

Maryland bested Syracuse 34-20, a bit of an upset with the Orange favored by 3.

Rutgers sank Navy 31-24.

Minnesota defeated San Jose State 24-7.

Illinois survived a scare and prevailed 42-35 over Texas State.

Iowa beat Pitt 24-20.

Purdue boiled Southern Illinois 35-13.

The Spartans crushed and spit out the remains of Eastern Michigan, 73-14.

Northwestern defeated Western Illinois 24-7.

Who's Not:

Utah beat THEM 26-10 in a weather delayed game.  They are the only BIG team to lose this week.
Utah fans outnumber the wolverine fans in the Big House after a rain delay!

SHEDDING TEARS:

1.  Clemson--loses in OT to #1 F$U after missed field goals and fumbles
2.  LSU--lost to Miss St. 34-29.
3.  Hokies--drop two in a row after beating the Buckeyes
4.  Cal--premature celebration but Arizona comes back on a Hail Mary
5.  K-State-- wasted opportunities to beat Auburn


LOOKING AHEAD:

Northwestern invades Beaver Stadium for a 12 noon start next Saturday.  The Wildcats are coming off a 24-7 win over Western Illinois.  This week is HOMECOMING.

Northwestern opened the season with a 31-24 loss to Cal, and then followed that with a lackluster performance and a loss to Northern Illinois 23-15.

Well pause for a foe pause later this week.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Foe Pause: Can you spare a minute, man? Edition

Penn State opened as a 30 point favorite against the Minutemen of UMass.  The line has dropped since then, but still is better than a 4 TD differential.

In researching this week's foe, I learned something new.  UMass is a MAC team!  I did not know that!  I thought they were FCS, but apparently, they are one of the Big Boys now.  I did not get that Memo!  And they are coming to Beaver Stadium not to go all Appalachian State all over us, but to try and Holy Toledo us.

They look so lonely over there.  B.O. perhaps?


Some have called this a trap game.  Those same people have called the last three games "trap" games.  And Penn State is sitting pretty at 3-0, all footloose and sanction free.

Penn State has never played UMass in football before.  A virgin opponent!

The Minutemen hail from Foxborough, Massachusetts (Gillette Stadium) and are coached by Mark Whipple.  Whipple was a quarterback at Brown.  Who else do we know was a QB for Brown????  Thinking . . . thinking. . . . it'll come to me later.  Whipple was also a QB coach for the Steelers in 2004-6.  Prior to that he was head coach at UMass for 6 years, and has an overall record there as head coach of 49-29, including an 0-3 start to this season.

Please, Don't Squeeze my Team!

The Minutemen have actually been to two bowls.

They lost the 1964 Tangerine Bowl 14-13 to East Carolina, and won the 1972 Boardwalk Bowl over UC Davis 35-14.  Their relevance to modern football is quite apparent.

Statistically, according to ESPN, UMass is 80th in passing yards (224.0), 118th in rushing yards (82.3), 91st in points for (25.3) and 104th in points against (35.)

While the Penn State offense is struggling, the Minutemen have given up 35 points on average to teams like Colorado, BC (who just beat USC) and Vanderbilt (who is really struggling this year sans Franklin.)  UMass does not bring the hatred and passion that Rutgers showed last week, and no one will ever confuse this as a rivalry game.  No one should have confused last week's match-up as one either, but Rutgers is arguably a better team than UMass.

Penn State needs this game for the offensive line to gain some confidence.  It is a work in progress, but only UMass and Northwestern stand between THEM and Ohio State back to back, albeit both coming off bye weeks in October.

I look to see Penn State NOT STRUGGLE (did you hear that guys---no last minute antics to pull out a win this week, please, and for the love of God don't lose this game!) and use this game to tune up some weaknesses.  I hope our back-up QB gets some reps, because with Hack running for his life the past few games, he is one hit away from being on the injured reserved list.

However, looking at how the Minutemen have struggled to score, I think our defense has a chance to pitch a shut out.  So I think Penn State will win easily, but may be lucky to cover the spread.  Let's say 27-3.

WEEKLY GAME GUIDE:

In the Big Ten:

Michigan State takes on Eastern Michigan.  GO Spartans!

Illinois takes on Texas State.  GO BOBCATS!

Nebraska plays Miami (FL).  This should be a good game.  GO HUSKERS!

Indiana travels to Missouri.  Good luck with that.  We can root for the Hoosiers all we want, but I think we know who will win this game!

The Hawkeyes travel to Pittsburgh--GO HAWKS!

Northwestern tries to get a win against Western Illinois.  What the heck, let's root for the Wild-can'ts!

The Terps head to Syracuse--GO TERPS!

Rutgers tries to rebound against Navy.  GO MIDSHIPMEN!

Minnesota hosts San Jose State.  GO GOPHERS!

Purdue should be able to make it back to .500 with a win over Southern Illinois.

Utah comes to the Big House.  GO UTES!

And Wisconsin hosts Bowling Green.  GO BADGERS!

The Buckeyes are off this week, preparing for Cincinnati.

In games featuring past opponents:

UCF should win against Bethuse-Cookman.

Akron takes on Marshall.  GO ZIPS!

GO STATE!  BEAT UMASS!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Rutgers Apology

From the Scarlet Knights website:
On behalf of Rutgers University and the Athletic Department, we would like to apologize for the regrettable actions of a handful of Rutgers fans on Saturday that do not convey the message of good, competitive spirit that we look forward to having with our new Big Ten rival Penn State University.

Some of the signage and t-shirts that we have been made aware of were both inappropriate and offensive.

I have spoken with and apologized to the Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour and I would like to apologize equally to the Penn State University fans, as well as Rutgers fans that were subjected to this classless display that does not represent the ethos of our university, athletic department or fan base.

The two inappropriate pictures that appeared briefly on our Facebook page as part of a 200-picture montage were immediately removed when we were alerted to their content.

It is unfortunate that the actions of a few spoiled an otherwise historic and record-setting night that Rutgers fans provided for our first Big Ten football game.

Julie Hermann
Rutgers Athletic Director
Sometimes there is a fine line between humor and insensitivity.  I think that some Rutgers fans crossed that line.  But some think I cross the line sometimes.  Oh, well.

In a related story, New Jersey has renamed the town of Piscataway . . .



And apparently, a picture of Franklin heading to New Jersey on a recruiting trip has surfaced . . .


We can only hope the Land Grant Trophy on the back falls in the river!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Knightmare Nova

Gary "turNova" threw five interceptions while the Penn State defense shut out the Scarlet Knights in the second half, to key a 13-10 win over our newest "rival."  This game is probably the most hyped, yet unimportant game outside of these two programs, that I have seen in a while.  (The Ohio State-THEM game is the perennial over-hyped game which generally most other fans could care less about.)  But I digress.

Hackenberg passed for over 300 yards, setting a new school record of 7 games in his career of 300+ yards.  Despite a 10 to nothing deficit at the half, this Penn State team did not give up.  They may not have the best team.  They may not have the biggest stars.  We may not have the "best" coach.  But this team gives 110% of itself for a full 60 minutes of every game.

It would appear that Mr. Hackenberg operates best under pressure.  And I'm not talking about defensive pressure, because he saw a lot of that in the first half from the Scarlet Knights.  They were stunting, blitzing, and magically appearing in the backfield to help with the hand-off on nearly every down.  Credit Penn State with making second half adjustments that allowed Hack to have more time.

We still have an annoying problem.  No running game.  Yes, but that is not the annoying problem to which I allude.  We seem to amass large quantities of yardage--mostly through the air, but fail to convert said yardage into points on the scoreboard.  We are totally smashing the stats sheet (and the win column!!!!) but we can't seem to light up the scoreboard.  Granted, at 3-0, it's an annoyance.  But with BIGger prizes to play for now, it could become a real pain in the loss column later on.

We can nitt-pick all day about having Hackenberg punt (did not work) and running the wild cat with Hackenberg out as a receiver (which hasn't worked).  Are we trying too hard to be gimmicky?  I don't know.  I kind of like seeing new wrinkles.  And with a little better execution, these plays could catch some people by surprise (such as the toss back to Hack at wide receiver for a pass.)  Had we lost, well, then these things might be more important.  But for now, they are just more nuances that other defenses have to prepare for.

What was the deal with Witvoet's mike?  They didn't replace it at half time.  He looks like he's a hundred years old.  Maybe that's his natural voice!  And to his credit, he and his merry band of misfit zebras called a great game--perhaps the fairest game I have ever seen a Big Ten crew officiate.  Okay, the two holding penalties that called back big plays annoyed me, but I have to admit, they were correct calls.  Now, it's not like holds like that always get called in our conference, but in the final analysis, they were correct calls.

I've seen various estimates of the Penn State crowd (8-10,000) and one poster went so far as to guesstimate 25%.  I think that's a bit over the top, but it sounds like we were well represented.


I will also give the Scarlet Knight fans some credit.  They sold out their puny little stadium for this "rivalry."  And the game noise sounded loud and might have contributed to one false start penalty.  I doubt Beaver Stadium would have been full had this game been played there on this weekend, but I could be wrong.  But when your highest sell-out is still around what the other team pulls in for a spring scrimmage, I wouldn't spend so much time crowing about it.  That don't impress me much!

I will also give the Scarlet Knight players kudos.  The emotion in the first half was unbelievable.  You actually played hard enough to win.  But in the end, emotion only carries you so far, and your best just wasn't good enough.

Some reports have trickled in about bad experiences from RU fans.  These things will happen.  Late start.  Lotsa alcohol.  Every fan base has their black sheep.  People say things.  People throw bags of urine.  Whatever.  But at the very heart of the matter, I understand your pain.  You thought this was YOUR YEAR.  Penn State is perhaps at it's worst because of the residual of the sanctions.  I saw this in the eyes of Temple fans two years ago when they came to Beaver Stadium in 2012 to face a struggling 1-2 Lion team led by new head coach Bill O'Brien.  You (the opposition) have one of your better teams.  It looks like the stars are aligning.  Then it blasts apart in a super-gary-nova of interceptions and blown opportunities.  And at the end of the knight, you are no closer to that Holy Grail than you ever were before.  Oh well.

BY THE NUMBERS:

From the GoPSUsports site:


Team Statistics (Final)
 Team Totals  PSU  RU 
FIRST DOWNS  19  15 
   Rushing 
   Passing  13 
   Penalty 
NET YARDS RUSHING  64  102 
   Rushing Attempts  33  31 
   Average Per Rush  1.9  3.3 
   Rushing Touchdowns 
   Yards Gained Rushing  91  126 
   Yards Lost Rushing  27  24 
NET YARDS PASSING  309  192 
   Completions-Attempts-Int  25-44-1  15-31-5 
   Average Per Attempt  7.0  6.2 
   Average Per Completion  12.4  12.8 
   Passing Touchdowns 
TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS  373  294 
   Total offense plays  77  62 
   Average Gain Per Play  4.8  4.7 
Fumbles: Number-Lost  1-0  1-0 
Penalties: Number-Yards  5-40  9-75 
PUNTS-YARDS  8-217  7-272 
   Average Yards Per Punt  27.1  38.9 
   Net Yards Per Punt  27.1  36.0 
   Inside 20 
   50+ Yards 
   Touchbacks 
   Fair catch 
KICKOFFS-YARDS  4-246  3-173 
   Average Yards Per Kickoff  61.5  57.7 
   Net Yards Per Kickoff  38.5  45.7 
   Touchbacks 
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD  1-0-0  0-0-0 
   Average Per Return  0.0  0.0 
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD  2-36-0  2-42-0 
   Average Per Return  18.0  21.0 
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD  5-3-0  1-26-0 
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD  0-0-0  0-0-0 
Miscellaneous Yards 
Possession Time  33:23  26:37 
   1st Quarter  9:17  5:43 
   2nd Quarter  5:37  9:23 
   3rd Quarter  9:28  5:32 
   4th Quarter  9:01  5:59 
Third-Down Conversions  9 of 20  5 of 14 
Fourth-Down Conversions  0 of 0  0 of 1 
Red-Zone Scores-Chances  3-4  2-2 
   Touchdowns  1-4  1-2 
   Field goals  2-4  1-2 
Sacks By: Number-Yards  3-19  5-17 
PAT Kicks  1-1  1-1 
Field Goals  2-3  1-1 
Points off turnovers 


Our third down conversions rate was about 50%, compared to about 33% for RU.  The turn-overs are, without a doubt the key.  Poor QB?  Better D?  I lean to the latter.  Rutgers fans might disagree.

Another interesting number--  1:13.  UCF scored their go-ahead touchdown with 1:13 left on the clock.  They ultimately lost.  Penn State scored leaving 1:13 on the clock.  Rutgers ultimately lost.  Nothing special happened in the Akron game at 1:13.  Penn State ran out the clock and ultimately won.


INTANGIBLES:

Rutgers won the toss and deferred.
Is that you, Octavius?
Rutgers filled their stadium--53,744.

Franklin is the first Penn State coach to go 3-0 in his first season since 1930.

Penn State leads the all-time rivalry 23-2.  PSU has never lost to Rutgers in New Jersey.

THE BIG (10) PICTURE:

THE LOSERS:

Purdue lost to Notre Dame 30-14.
Indiana lost to Bowling Green 45-42.
Maryland lost on a last second, 47 yard field goal to West-By-God-Virginia, 40-37.
Iowa lost their requisite non-com game to Iowa State 20-17.
Minnesota was horn-frogged by TCU, 30-7.
Washington embarrassed Illinois 44-19.  Not really that hard to shame them, though.

THE NON-LOSERS:

Urban Meyer made himself feel better by rolling up the score on Kent State, 66-0.  He overcompensated his teams weakness by taking advantage of a team with greater weaknesses!  Brilliant!

THEM beat Miami(OH) 34-10.

Nebraska bull-dozed the Fresno Bulldogs 55-19.

Wisconsin, Northwestern, and Michigan State were off this week.  I heard Northwestern still lost.  And oh look, Gary Nova just threw another interception!

2014-15 Football Standings

EAST DIVISION
OverallConferenceDivision
W-L%W-L%W-L%
Penn State3-01.0001-01.0001-01.000
Maryland2-1.6670-0.0000-0.000
Michigan2-1.6670-0.0000-0.000
Ohio State2-1.6670-0.0000-0.000
Indiana1-1.5000-0.0000-0.000
Michigan State1-1.5000-0.0000-0.000
Rutgers2-1.6670-1.0000-1.000
WEST DIVISION
OverallConferenceDivision
W-L%W-L%W-L%
Nebraska3-01.0000-0.0000-0.000
Illinois2-1.6670-0.0000-0.000
Iowa2-1.6670-0.0000-0.000
Minnesota2-1.6670-0.0000-0.000
Wisconsin1-1.5000-0.0000-0.000
Purdue1-2.3330-0.0000-0.000
Northwestern0-2.0000-0.0000-0.000

Through all games of September 13.

Penn State and Nebraska are the only undefeated teams in the conference!

SHEDDING TEARS:

1.  Georgia--is there ever a more over-rated SEC team year in and year out?
2.  USC--lost to BC 37-31.
3.  Hokies--after beating the Buckeyes, they fall to unranked East Carolina 28-21.
4.  MD--last second loss on a long field goal.
5.  Texas--lost to UCLA 20-17.  They apparently screwed up the coin toss, giving UCLA opening possession in BOTH halves.


LOOKING AHEAD:

Penn State returns to Beaver Stadium next week to face the UMass Minutemen with a 4 PM kick-off.  Coverage will be the Big Ten Network (BTN.)

The Minutemen are 0-3 coming off a loss to Vanderbilt, who scored 14 in the final quarter to pull out the win.

The season to date:

L  30-7 vs. Boston College
L  41-38  vs.  Colorado
L  34-31 vs. Vanderbilt

Priorities:  WIN!  Work on the running game.  Some reps for the back-up QB.

GO STATE!  BEAT MINUTEMEN!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Foe Pause: Knightly News Edition

With the lifting of the major NCAA sanctions this week, the fan excite-o-meter has gone from BLUE to SCARLET!



Penn State will be footloose and sanction free for the first time since 2011.

The betting line is 3 points, with the Lions favored to out-joust the Knights.

Penn State leads the all-time series 22-2, with the last meeting being the infamous 59-34 win at Giant Stadium where Mike McQueary audibled late in the game and threw a TD pass that made then head coach Doug Graber feel like Joe was running the score up on him.  The Scarlet Knights only wins came in 1988, a 21-16 game during Joe Paterno's first losing season of his career, and 1918 when Rutgers won 26-3.  Hugo Bezdek was the coach and Penn State played 4 games that season, going 1-2-1.


This is not the history of a rivalry.

Rutgers is 2-0 with a 41-38 win on the road over Washington State and a 38-25 victory over Howard.

So what else do we know about this school in New Jersey?

Ray Rice graduated from Rutgers.  Just throwing that out there.  Not Rutgers' fault.

Louis Freeh is a graduate of Rutgers.  Not Rutgers' fault.

Rutgers was originally chartered as Queen's College in 1766, making it the eighth oldest college in the United States.  The school was renamed Rutgers in 1825 when Colonel Henry Blake Rutgers donated enough money to get the school named after himself.

Rutgers is considered the Birthplace of College Football, as the first intercollegiate "football" game was won 6-4 by Rutgers over Princeton in 1869.  It was also the first game telegraphed.  It reportedly lasted six weeks,  when horseback riders were sent out carrying advertisements to the citizens of New Jersey during time outs.  This was the birth of the 30-hour time out.

This is their first year in the Big Ten conference.

I look to see a more focused Penn State team take the field against the Knights.  Franklin appears to be a very goal oriented individual, and the Lions now have something to play for.  And while a Final Four appearance is highly unlikely, a run at a Big Ten Title could be achievable.

Of course, that starts with a W Saturday night in prime time.

Unless Rutgers was sandbagging it against WSU and Howard, they do not appear to be defensively capable of holding the Hack Attack at bay.  But they are averaging 39.5 points per game themselves.  On paper, this could be a high scoring affair, but I suspect the Penn State Defense is the best defense they will face to date.

Prediction:  Penn State wins . . . 31-17.


GO STATE! BEAT KNIGHTS!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Quotable Quotes

Civil Celebration

Here are some assorted comments in the aftermath of yesterday's announcement that the bowl band and scholarship sanctions would be lifted immediately:

Bill O'Brien:
"I think that’s great news for Penn State," said O'Brien, who spent the last two football seasons as the Nittany Lions' head coach. "Penn State is a fantastic place. It’s a great education, great football program, a lot of good people who have done a lot of great things over there over the last couple of years to make sure that they’ve learned from the past mistakes and understood that that’s a special place.
"And so I feel very happy for Penn State and, mostly, I feel happy for the players and the coaching staff that’s there now."
Some have focused on the latter comment as an intentional snub of administration and perhaps even the fan base, but I'm not going to nitt-pick here.

James Franklin:
"We are very appreciative of the opportunities the NCAA and Big Ten have provided with today's announcement," Franklin said. "This team plays for each other. We play for Penn State, our families, the former players, our students, alumni, fans and the community. We are so proud to represent Penn State and the Big Ten Conference and are working hard to prepare for our Big Ten opener at Rutgers." 
Can this be the spark that takes the level of play of this team to the NEXT level?  This could go either way--having something to play for may put more pressure on the players/coaches to win.  Or it might just fire them up!  We shall see this Saturday in prime time!

PS4RS:
"We are very happy that some of the sanctions have been rescinded. This is great news for the football team, and the entire unfairly punished Penn State community. However, there are still wrongs to be righted. The Freeh conclusions are not supported by evidence, and they never should have been used as a pretext for sanctioning Penn State. We are disheartened by false rationalizations that Penn State has somehow changed or atoned to deserve this “reward.” Penn State athletics programs have ALWAYS demonstrated the highest level of integrity. Three years after their indictment, the three Penn State administrators have yet to have their day in court due to mysterious appeals by Penn State and clandestine document sealing by the PA court system. Prosecutor Frank Fina has publicly stated that there was no evidence to support the Freeh Report’s conclusion that Joe Paterno was aware of or participated in a cover up. Further, the NCAA’s new sexual assault reporting handbook instructs coaches around the country to do exactly what Paterno did in 2001. There is no basis for ANY of the sanctions and they must be entirely rescinded.”
AMEN!

And last but not least, Admiral Yamamoto:


"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."

Monday, September 8, 2014

Happy Days Are Here Again!

Well, not completely free. . . $60 million dollars and 112 wins.

The theme of the Blue Band Half-time show last Saturday  "Happy Days in Happy Valley."  It was a omen of things to come, as it was announced today that BOTH the scholarship reduction AND the bowl ban have been rescinded by the NCAA.

According to this ESPN recap:
Penn State will be eligible for the postseason this year and will have all its scholarships returned next year, after the NCAA agreed Monday afternoon to again reduce sanctions stemming from the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. 
Penn State's athletics integrity monitor, former Sen. George Mitchell, recommended both actions in his second annual report that gauges progress made by the university. Minutes after the report was announced, the NCAA said it would follow both recommendations immediately.
Woo-freaking Hoo!  About time!
The school still must pay a $60 million fine, 111 wins under Joe Paterno -- and one win under interim coach Tom Bradley -- remain forfeited, and the program will remain under monitoring.
However, it appears the 60 million dollar fine will remain in Pennsylvania.
The state of Pennsylvania has won a legal battle with the NCAA, ensuring the $60 million in fine money to be paid by Penn State will remain instead. The NCAA had been fighting to spread the fine money around the nation toward child abuse awareness efforts, but the organization has filed to withdraw its fight and will allow the money to stay within Pennsylvania.
So only the vacated wins remains to be reversed.  With the recent announcement of guidelines for athletic departments to follow--guidelines which Paterno actually followed before they were official guidelines--it remains a mystery how this final sanction can withstand the Paterno lawsuit which appears likely to continue.

Unfortunately, the Big Ten conference is not so forgiving.
The Big Ten also said that Penn State will continue to donate its share of conference bowl revenue (estimated at $13 million) to child-protections charities in Big Ten communities. Penn State will be eligible to receive its share of conference bowl revenue in 2016.
Wow!  Just . . .wow.  Unbelievable.  How can the conference stand behind the its punishment of Penn State when the NCAA has backed off?  Just freaking unbelievable.  The greed and hatred for Penn State is just so completely obvious.  If our BOT had half a spine, they would fight the conference on this one, and go after restoring Joe Paterno's victories.

WE ARE . . . SET FREE!