Monday, June 29, 2009

It's Alive!

According to Mike Gross of Lancaster Online, Dakota Royer has created a monster--a recruiting beast that is alive and well.

With a lot of hard work and his own highlight DVD, Manheim Central's Dakota Royer has turned himself into one of the nation's top football recruits. He'll announce his college choice next month.

He's 6-3, 215 pounds of muscle, runs a 4.640 and has a 37-inch vertical leap, or a four-foot vertical leap straight out of a swimming pool (more on that later).

"I'm meant to be on the defensive side," Royer said.

He could be a linebacker or an end in college, or a combination of both, a hybrid who does some linebacker things and some pass-rushing end things. Think Penn State's Aaron Maybin.

Royer has well over 20 Division I-A college offers . . . Royer has already narrowed his college choices to one of five schools (Penn State, Pitt, Notre Dame, Michigan State and Oregon), and says he'll announce the winner next month.

Penn State — "I've been there a bunch of times. It's close to home. It's familiar."

Pitt — "It's pretty cool that the Steelers are right there. Their weight room is right across the hallway from [Pitt's]."

Notre Dame — "It's the best, nicest campus I've ever seen."

Michigan State — "It's almost like its own city. Everybody's got their motor scooters or bikes. It's really a nice place."

Oregon — "When you watch them play, it looks like it would be awesome to play there. Every player has a plasma-screen TV in his locker." Royer likes that Oregon amounts to a product-testing facility for Nike.

Plasma screens in the locker? Are you kidding me? Who sits and watches TV in front of a locker??? How can Penn State compete with that crap? And why didn't he mention the picturesque bus trip through Pittsburgh to get to the rent-a-stadium?

Here's the YouTube video of the swimming pool stunt.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Recruiting Surge

It was a great weekend for Penn State Football!

According to,
DaQuan Jones, a Press & Sun-Bulletin All-Metro lineman from Johnson City, has verbally committed to play football at Penn State.

This announcement came on the heels of another huge grab for the Lions. Hailes to the Lion!

Hailes, a two-time all-state and two-time All-Tidewater selection, said he chose the Nittany Lions over such schools as Tennessee, LSU and Virginia Tech because he liked what Penn State had to offer.

"The thing I liked most about them is that they emphasized academics more than football," said Hailes as he drove from State College on his way back to Chesapeake following his visit to the school.

What also helped was his relationship with defensive line coach Larry Johnson. . . A chance to play for Penn State coach Joe Paterno was icing on the cake.

Morgan [Oscar Smith Head Coach] said Hailes picking Penn State was "a no-brainer."

"He got up there and was blown away by the visit," he said. "And he loved Larry Johnson. That was the biggest thing. His parents also fell in love with the place and they thought it was the best place for him." team rankings list Penn State at #5 in the country behind Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Florida with the highest average star rating of any of the schools listed--4.00!

Welcome to Penn State, DaQuan and Evan!!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

What are the Odds?

Rob Oller of the Columbus Dispatch discovered an on-line betting service that is taking bets on which school is most likely to get in trouble with the NCAA next.

The online gambling site has decided to spice up the summer doldrums by posting odds and taking wagers on which schools are most likely to get into trouble with the NCAA.

Ohio State does not fare well. The Buckeyes own the second-shortest odds, 9-1, of being the next to get caught. It gets worse: The football and basketball programs both are listed at 9-1, again the second-shortest odds, of coming under NCAA investigation.

I tried to find these odds on the site, but could not. But then, I didn't register, so maybe that makes a difference. Here are the odds that Oller quotes:

1. Southern California 8-1
2. Ohio State 9-1
3. Florida 10-1
Memphis 10-1
Mississippi 10-1
6. North Carolina 12-1
Connecticut 12-1
Michigan State 12-1
Florida State 12-1
10. Alabama 13-1
Michigan 13-1

The really hilarious part is this tidbit about THEM . . .

The one that should be most embarrassed is Michigan (13-1 odds, tied for 10th), which made the list because of its football coach.

"It's (Rich) Rodriguez," Richards said. "That would be the sole reason. He's a bit of a wild card."

And while you're LOL-ing, there's more . . .

There are even odds on if the next Florida Gators arrest will be a felony or misdemeanor:

Misdemeanor 5-9

Felony 7-5

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Student Ticket Sales

According to the Daily Collegian, student ticket sales--at least for seniors and juniors--is running below average.

Senior student season football tickets did not sellout Monday and junior tickets were still available hours after Tuesday's sale opened in the first year of paperless student tickets.

Last year, it took the senior class eight hours to purchase all the tickets, while the junior tickets sold out about 90 seconds after the sale opened.

So what is the problem? No spare change for Eastern Illinois? Actually, the problem may be scalpers--or the lack thereof.
While the purchasing process is the same, Myford believes the change from paper tickets to storing game tickets on student ID cards has cut down on the number of students buying tickets with the intention of making a resale profit.

In years past, there were postings on the site of students putting their tickets for sale with large markups just moments after ticket sales closed. Through the first two days of student sales, there was not one entry on eBay for Penn State student season football tickets.

And at least one senior was suffering from insanity, writing for Bleacher Report about why he passed on a student ticket . . .
It isn’t about the money. I want to be clear about that much.

For the past three years, I was a part of this living, breathing organism. Each home game, nearly without exception, I counted myself among the 100,000 strong that squeezed into Beaver Stadium every Saturday in varying states of sobriety.

For those three years I counted myself among the frantic refreshers, the lucky few who inhabit what is commonly called “the drinking town with a football problem.” And for a while, it was perfect.
So what funny thing happened on the way to TicketMaster????

It’s just too much responsibility, too big of a burden. I’m a rising senior, I’m 21, and I’m too old for this!

The responsibility of waking up for noon kickoffs when you’ve been out all night before, and all you want is one more hour of sleep, is too much, and you have to pace yourself for the night games, staying till the end of blowouts, and being able to remember who played well and who got embarrassed.

Pardon me, but WTF??????

Since when is 21 too old to be a student fan? How many times in anyone's life do you get to be a part of that? Am I missing something here? Is this a poor attempt at satire and I'm missing the tongue-in-cheek humor behind this post? Has this person stopped their medication without their doctor's approval? I am simply baffled.

Lift For Life®

From their homepage:

Penn State Football Uplifting Athletes will be holding the 7th annual Lift For Life competition on Friday, July 10 from 2-7 P.M (doors open at 1:30pm).

You'll get a sneak preview of the 2009 Nittany Lions as they compete against
each other for the benefit of a rare disease charity. Our efforts will once
again support the Kidney Cancer Association.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sporting News Ranks Defenses

Matthew Hayes ranks defenses by linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs.

2. Penn State. The big question isn't whether All-American candidate Sean Lee can return from an ACL injury. It's whether All-American talent Navorro Bowman can stay out of trouble long enough to play his junior season.

I also think our defenisve line is going to be pretty good, but probably not top 5. But Illinois? How'd they make the top 5?

I'm not sure Penn State won't have the overall best LB unit--and they likely have as much depth as anybody at this position. Is it possible to hold the Navarro jail humor until he actually gets in trouble again?

Speaking of Navarro . . . Adam Rittenberg blogged about his evolution at Penn State.

Judging by the numbers alone, Bowman could be called an overnight success. But the label doesn't apply here. Bowman's career at Penn State has been a process, with seemingly every step challenged by a trap or an obstacle.

Bowman has encountered a series of hurdles at Penn State, both of his own doing and beyond his control.

In November 2007, he was charged with felony assault following an on-campus fight and subsequently was suspended from the team for the regular-season finale, the Alamo Bowl and all of spring practice. Bowman eventually pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, received a year's probation and returned to the team last summer.

Then in April, he had his probation revoked and reset for another year after admitting to smoking marijuana. A judge told Bowman any further probation violation would result in six months of jail time.

In between legal issues, Bowman dealt with two major tragedies. His father, Hillard, died unexpectedly from complications from a blood clot in June 2008. Then, the day before Bowman took the field in the Rose Bowl against USC, his high school coach, Nick Lynch, was killed in a car accident.

Bowman recorded eight or more tackles in nine games. He was arguably the lone bright spot for Penn State's defense in the Rose Bowl, racking up five tackles for loss, including a sack.

"I wasn't surprised," Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said of Bowman's season. "He's got some great athleticism. He's got good instincts for the ball, he's good football player. He's got some big-time skills."

Bowman added a few pounds during the offseason as well as several new elements to his game. He took on a greater leadership role during spring practice, helping the younger linebackers who will play behind him.

I think he's going to have a great year, and hopefully the immature behavior is behind him.

Speaking of ESPN, Penn State is #9 in the Intel Top 25.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Weekend Wrap Up

Happy Father's Day!

The Big Ten Network has made some awards--and Penn State went home with a few of them.

Best Finish of the Year WINNER: Illinois vs Penn State - Mens Basketball (March 5, 2009)
Men's Coach of the Year WINNER: JOE PATERNO - Penn State Football
Women's Coach of the YearWINNER: RUSS ROSE - Penn State Volleyball
Most Courageous PerformanceWINNER: JAMELLE CORNLEY - Penn State Senior Forward

According to, a new restaurant has opened near Shippensburg, named Joe Pa's Grille . . . but it's not clear whether Paterno is even aware of it.

Diners at Joe Pa's Grille will find some of the Penn State coach's best quotes on the walls. Joe Pa himself will not be there, but his likeness is in the form of a cardboard cut-out.

Paterno is not affiliated with the restaurant in any way officially. In fact, he may not even be aware of it.

Another feature at Joe Pa's Grille is the Penn State alum signing wall,
which is already filling up with signatures.

Nick Saban recently talked about scheduling. Although this article in Around the Bend is looking at Alabama's interest in playing Notre Dame, Penn State gets an honorable mention . . .

"Let's say you had four or five teams," Saban told the Birminghham News. "Notre Dame, Penn State, (schools) that had some sort of connection with the history and tradition of this school. And you just roll home-and-homes (on and off the schedule) so the fans could relate a little bit and look forward to playing that particular team."

Continuing, Saban added: "Like maybe we play Penn State this year, Notre Dame next year... Texas, Southern Cal -- if you just got those and just kind of rolled (them over). It would make it easier for scheduling, too."

Again, a caveat that can't be emphasized enough: Stating a scheduling desire and making it happen, considering all the money at stake for home-game revenues, are entirely different challenges.

Ah, yes. Talk is cheap, but home games pay the bills. But Saban will get his wish as Penn State will play Alabama in 2010-2011 if the Tide don't come up with another excuse to move the series back.

Friday, June 19, 2009

How Low Can We Go?

It was announced this week that Penn State has added Indiana State to the football schedule in 2011, a week before playing the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Indiana State will cash a school-record paycheck of $450,000 for a trip to Happy Valley on Sept. 3, 2011. This craptastic match-up will serve as a tune-up for Penn State's battle with Alabama the following week, but who are we to argue with success? The man responsible, Tim Curley, was named Athletic Director of the Year in Northeast Region for 2008-09.

Normally, I am a defender of Penn State's scheduling because I understand the economics behind the situation. As a fan, I may not always agree with it, but I get the big picture.

What I don't get is scheduling Indiana State. Why? For the love of all that is blue and white, why would we schedule this. . . this . . .well, let's face it, calling them a team is being generous.

Coastal Carolina lost to Appalachian State in the playoffs in 2006. Youngstown State has won National Titles in 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1997.

But what has Indiana State done?

The Mighty Sycamores went 0-12 last year with losses to Illinois State (57-6), Eastern Michigan (52-0), Western Illinois (56-0) and South Dakota State (49-9). Note that these games weren't even close. They were outscored 508-101, and Eastern Michigan was likely their toughest opponent.

In 2007, they went 0-11, coming up short in a 13-10 loss to Southeast Missouri State.

In 2006, they actually won a game, finishing the season 1-10. The lone win was a 28-22 drubbing of Missouri State.

In case you are wondering, they went 0-11 in 2005. That's a total of 1-44 in FOUR YEARS.

So not only are we playing a team from a lower division, but we are playing one of the WORST teams in that division. If you planted a Sycamore tree on the fifty yard line, it would have a better chance of winning a game than this team. Heck, if you planted a sycamore tree at the goal line, at least there would be a defender. Sooner or later some showboater would accidentally run into the tree, and hopefully cough up the football.

Sometimes when you schedule a team--like Syracuse--you don't know know how bad they'll be. Hello, McFly! This team ain't looking any better for 2011, although if they win one game, they will be better, so it all depends on how you look at it. They are 13-57 since 2002. Bad is just an adjective--and they are bad.

It's an outrage. Couldn't a school like Penn State find a better opponent? Aren't there MAC teams that would be willing to take a $450,000 paycheck home? I'd even take Pitt, but they won't accept without a return trip to Pittsburgh.

Playing Indiana State doesn't even help recruiting. We already play Indiana and Purdue. Geographically, this game is worthless. Coastal Carolina and Youngstown offer better recruiting grounds.

I'd rather see us play Akron twice in the same season. Or Temple. Are both William AND Mary busy that weekend? Craptastic--a great adjective--doesn't really do justice to this injustice. This is not a cupcake--this is what cupcakes eat. Indiana State . . . the Breakfast of Cupcakes!

This is simply inexcusable. I can handle playing inferior opponents to pay the bills, but I cannot accept playing a team that is inferior to inferior opponents, when there have to be other options available.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bowden to Forfeit Wins

The NCAA infractions committee intends to uphold sanctions against Florida State
that would take away wins in 10 sports, including as many as 14 by football
coach Bobby Bowden.After a public records lawsuit and intervention by Florida's
attorney general, the NCAA allowed Florida State to release the committee's June
2 response to FSU's appeal of the NCAA punishment that would strip the school of
the victories.Though university officials had said earlier Thursday that would
be no comment from Florida State, president T.K. Wetherell denounced the NCAA's
But the issue is far from over . . .

The NCAA called Florida State's staff involvement in the cheating "especially egregious because of their positions as individuals charged specifically with maintaining academic integrity within the athletics program."

"This is the response from the committee on infractions which entered the finding that we are appealing so you wouldn't expect them to change their mind," said Bill Williams, the Tallahassee attorney handling the case for Florida State. "We will respond to this and then we ultimately have an oral argument before the infractions appeal committee in Indianapolis (Ind.) and then they will make a final decision."

Williams said he expected the hearing would be scheduled in late
summer or early fall, but admitted that was a guess.

The NCAA explained their rejection of the appeal . . .

The 23-page response said the loss of scholarships imposed as part of the original penalty would have been much greater without taking away victories in the various sports where athletes involved in the cheating had competed.

Florida State did not challenge the loss of scholarship reductions that included two in football this year and another next year.

So how many more scholarships will Bobby Bowden be willing to forego to get his tainted wins back?

There has been speculation about what affect this has on the all-time wins race between Paterno and Bowden. Many feel that if the 14 wins are deleted for Bowden, this effectively ends the race. This assumption is based on the fact that F$U will likely not renew Bowden's contract in 2010, because it would necessitate a large buyout of Jimbo Fisher, who has already been anointed for the job.

But we already know that F$U's boosters are capable of raising ridiculous amounts of money to buy out contracts (refer to the buyout of Bowden's son Jeff as exhibit A,) so that doesn't guarantee that Bobby won't be coaching at F$U beyond 2010. Moreover, it certainly doesn't exclude the possibility that Bobby might not continue coaching elsewhere if he chooses. Surely some University will see the opportunity to have a legend on their sidelines. Hell, if he coaches for Tallahassee High School , those wins will still likely count for his career total!

Some even speculate that Paterno might consider retirement if Bobby is no longer coaching. Well, like I just said, I'm not convinced that it is a given that Bowden will not be coaching till he drops, and therefore, I would expect the same for Paterno. And even if Bowden raises the white flag and retires, it's not a done deal that Paterno would do likewise.

Dollars and Sense

A number of fans--myself included--would like to see Notre Dame join the Big Ten. Not only would this ensure more games against the Irish, but expansion would allow the Big Ten to add a championship game. More football? What could possibly be bad about that?

Unfortunately, Notre Dame likes it's independence, like Independent George on Seinfeld. Independent Irish.

NOTRE DAME: You see, right now, I have Big Ten Irish, but there is also Independent Irish. That's the Irish you know, the Irish you grew up with -- Rudy Irish, Touchdown Jesus Irish, Knute Rockne Irish, Gerry Faust Irish.

JERRY: I, I love that Irish.

NOTRE DAME: Me Too! And he's Dying Jerry! If Big Ten Irish walks through this door, he will Kill Independent Irish! Notre Dame, divided against itself, Cannot Stand!

Joe Paterno recently commented on adding the Irish, basically indicating that that ship had sailed and they had their chance. The Irish have been courted in the past and said NO. Most people think that Notre Dame stands to make more money on its own.

But Clay Travis of the NCAA Fanhouse questions the fiscal validity of this premise.

Chances are, you still think that Notre Dame is banking major revenue from this agreement in comparison to other teams. Chances are, you're wrong. What do Vanderbilt and Northwestern have in common when it comes to football? Answer: They likely both get more money for their televised football games than Notre Dame does. As does every other team in the Big Ten and the SEC.

In 2008, NBC ponied up an extension to the Fighting Irish television contract. USA Today reported that the current contract paid Notre Dame in the neighborhood of $9 million per year. The new deal won't begin until 2010, but it's doubtful the rights fees increased very much, since Notre Dame's television ratings have been dwindling for several years. (Last season, the average Notre Dame game on NBC drew less than half the ratings that CBS and ABC averaged for their college football games.)

Notre Dame's television and shared Big East conference revenue [basketball] in 2009 will be, at best, $11.35 million. Why's that number important? Because in 2008, every school in the Big Ten will clear north of $15 million from the conference, a number that will only increase in years to come. Every school in the SEC will bank, conservatively, $17 million.

What does all of this mean? Notre Dame's television revenue is going to continue to fall relative to the Big Ten and the SEC. If Vanderbilt and Northwestern aren't already ahead of the Irish, which I think the numbers prove they definitely are, another couple of years of increasing television money will erase all doubts. This will continue all the way up through 2015 when Notre Dame's newest extension with NBC runs out. By that time, the financial ramifications of Notre Dame's independence will have become more apparent to everyone.

Now just because you read this on the Internet, take it with a grain of salt. Or a shot of whiskey, whatever works for you. I don't know how accurate all these numbers are, but if the ratings numbers are anywhere near accurate, it will be very difficult for Notre Dame to renegotiate in the future. And this is especially true if Weis (or someone else?) doesn't start winning again.
But will they really kill Independent Irish?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Outside The Blog

I went to the movies today with the family. It was raining so I couldn't go running or play golf--well, I couldn't do them dryly--so I figured what the heck. On my way to the Mall, I passed Jiffy Lube and knowing that I was about due for an oil change, I was struck with the brilliant idea of leaving my car there whilst I munched over-priced popcorn and laughed at Eddie Murphy making pancakes in much the same manner as I myself would.

After the movie, I headed back to Jiffy Lube whereupon I noted that my car was parked in the exact same place I had left it. I know I took the key off my ring and left it in the car. But what I forgot was that I have a habit--perhaps an obsession--with locking my car when I exit. And that is exactly what I had done.
So as I now sat in Jiffy Lube waiting for my car which would have been done had I not been so obsessive-compulsive about locking it, I began to wonder if perhaps there were other areas of my life where habit overrules common sense.

Have I spent enough time thinking outside the blog?

So as I removed skin from my tongue sipping burnt coffee--I think the pot was made well before I ever left my car there in the first place--I decided to try something different with the blog.

But what?

After considering some options, and not really having a good feel about this "outside the blog" kind of thing, I went with something radical. Something I have never done in this blog. Something that heretofore I would never have considered doing. Ever.

I decided to say something nice about THEM. I suppose I should actually use the University's name. I decided to type something nice about that school in Ann Arbor. The one with the wolverine mascot. Not THE Michigan State. The other school in Michigan, not counting those with compass directions. The University of . . . of . . . of . . . THEM.

OK. I decided to say something nice about THEM. I never said I would refer to the actual school name.

So here goes.

I'm working on it.

It's on my to do list.

OK. I got nothing.

Um, they're not Ohio State. Well, maybe that's not so much a compliment. I think it is--unless you live in Ohio. Or if you live in any other state except Michigan, in which case you probably don't care. Surely I can do better than that.

Maybe not.

Nice, uh, M. As capital letters go. It's kind of nice. Mickey Mouse uses it. Also useful as an abbreviation for meter. If you turn it upside down, it's also a W. As in wolverine. You probably never thought of that. You turn a P upside down and you get a lowercase b. That blows. So the big . . . stupid . . . block M is, um, sort of cool if you have really low expectations for coolness.
That was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I think I'll go back to thinking inside the blog, thank you very much.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Penn State #2

Alas, the Nittany Lions trail . . . wait for it . . . number one ranked . . . NORTHWESTERN. No--we're not talking academics or chess championships either.

Unfortunately, this ranking is based on out of conference football schedules, according to Bruce Feldman of ESPN.

Here's his list:
1. Northwestern (Towson; EMU; at Syracuse; Miami [Ohio])
2. Penn State (Akron; Syracuse; Temple; Eastern Illinois)
3. Ole Miss (At Memphis; Southeastern Louisiana; UAB; Northern Arizona)
T4. Kansas State (UMass; at Louisiana; at UCLA; Tennessee Tech)
T4. NC State (South Carolina; Murray State; Gardner-Webb; Pitt)
6. Rutgers (Howard; FIU; at Maryland; Texas Southern; at Army)
T7. Kentucky (Miami [Ohio] in Cincy; Louisville; ULM; EKU)
T7. Arkansas (Missouri State; Texas A&M in Arlington; EMU; Troy)

As I am not an "insider", I do not have access to the last two teams, one of which is another Big Ten team, and I also won't know why I should know the name Andrew Datko. Well, Bruce, unless you are an insider here, you won't know why you should know the name "Dick" Foust. So there!

Of course, this run-down only takes into account non-conference games, so I won't delude myself that we have that easy of a schedule. But, it is possible that this scheduling snafu could hurt us--how could we know that Syracuse would suck so bad!!!!

First, will this schedule prepare us for Big Ten play? In Akron, at least we will face a passing QB and an early test for our reconstructed secondary. But I doubt that will seriously prepare us for Iowa. It might at least let us know if we should start worrying early! Overall, I don't think the OOC schedule helps us get ready for Big Ten play and may make us over-confident. On the flip side, we may get to see a lot of players, gain some depth, especially at QB, and probably avoid too many injuries.

As far as a title run, Paterno already said he thought he was a few players short of a championship team. Is he correct? Who knows at this point. But if Penn State is fortunate enough to run the table, it is certainly conceivable that our schedule strength will send us to the NIT instead of the big dance, if you know what I mean. In other words, a one loss Big XII or SEC team or someone like USC may get the nod over an undefeated Paterno team because of the scheduling perception.

But we have no control over the schedule.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Recruiting Success By Conference

When I first set out to look at the recruiting data from Rivals, there were some things I expected. I expected teams like OSU and USC to do well. (They recruit well AND win.) I strongly suspected that Notre Dame would perform poorly. I believe their classes to be over-rated, and don't even get me started on Weis. But I did not expect to discover that North Carolina was where talent went to die. I was also somewhat surprised how bad the SEC did as a conference--they recruit well and win, but the numbers suggest they are either over-hyped on the recruiting class end, or they don't win enough, despite Florida's national championship.

Recall that the Rank Index is the Recruiting Rank divided by the winning percentage rank for games played 2002-2008.

ConferenceAVG RankAVG IndexAdj.AVG Index
Big East40.631.921.73
Big Ten62.091.211.15
Sun Belt44.881.191.12
Big XII74.830.980.88

The average rank is where the teams in that conference were ranked in my original analysis. The Average Index is the average rank index for all the teams in that conference, whereas the adjusted average index is the average of the teams except for the highest rated and lowest rated teams. For instance, by dropping out Boise State's insanely high Index of 38, the conference average drops from 5.67 to a reasonable 1.73.

The problem with the SEC is probably related to over-hype. Their recruiting classes are consistently higher throughout the conference than any other conference. Teh numbers bear this out:

ConferenceAverage Recruiting Rank
Big XII32.17
Big Ten39.82
Big East56.63
Sun Belt98.75

In order to achieve a rank index of 1, the conference as a whole would have to have winning records ranked about 21st overall. And while the usual suspects do well--Florida, LSU, Alabama . . . the conference as a whole only ranks about 47th in terms of win-loss percentage. Here's the overview of the conference:

SECPCTPCT RankRivalsIndex
113Mississippi State30.87107330.31
118South Carolina51.6661140.23
101.75Averages 47.4221.330.45

JoePa Montage has a nice picture montage: Joe Paterno Through The Years. If you have a couple of minutes, check it out. Some nice pics with Cappelletti and Bear Bryant.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lions Land Defensive Lineman

Per Sean Fitz, Recruiting Analyst, Kyle Baublitz has verbally commited to Penn State.

Baublitz made his decision this afternoon, and said he's been leaning toward the Nittany Lions for some time now. He laid out why he chose to play his college ball in Happy Valley."It's two hours from home, it felt really comfortable to me, I love coach Johnson, he's a great coach, the atmosphere is amazing, there's a lot of positives with academics, the coaching staff and players," he said.

"It's just really kind of felt home to me."I kind of had the decision that I was going to decide for Penn State, I was just going to make it on my mom's birthday."

Welcome to Penn State!

Won't be long before he's Baublitz-ing Big Ten quarterbacks!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Recruiting Success

Ever wonder just how worthwhile (or worthless) recruiting data are? Does having the #1 ranked recruiting class really predict how well a team will do?

To explore this fascinating issue (fascinating by virtue of the fact that no actual football is being played right now,) I looked at how the Rivals ranking of recruiting classes compared over a period of time (2002-2008.) Why did I choose that time span? Because that was the time span I could easily access the data for Rivals, which ranked all 119 Division 1A schools.

I then took each team's win loss record as a percentage, and ranked that.

Then I did a simple calculation, comparing the Rivals Rank to that of the Win Percentage Rank, by dividing the former by the latter. I originally dubbed this a rank ratio, but someone with higher math skills than mine suggested that a ratio is like 1:2 and that this is an "index." So be it. The Rank Index was born. A team that is ranked close to or at it's recruiting rank would have an index of 1 or close to it. The higher the number, the better a team/coach out performs it's recruiting rank. The lower the number, the more talent is being squandered, and/or the more a team's recruiting rank was over-rated.

Here are the results:

TeamWin-Loss %PCT RankRivals RankRank Index
1Boise State87.9027638.00
4West Virginia75.379404.44
6Bowling Green61.14301063.53
8Boston College71.5114433.07
10Texas Tech68.9815412.73
13Virginia Tech74.4910262.60
14Ohio State85.164102.50
15Northern Illinois57.14461092.37
17Fresno State60.2234772.26
18South Florida61.6928632.25
19Air Force52.26591161.97
20Brigham Young59.5236661.83
21Oregon State62.3927491.81
24Florida Atlantic49.57661181.79
27New Mexico53.3155891.62
28Central Michigan48.48691101.59
29Miami (OH)50.84641001.56
31Southern Miss58.8239571.46
32Ball State45.59781071.37
33Georgia Tech58.8238521.37
34Wake Forest53.9452681.31
38Penn State63.6224301.25
39Colorado State46.2675931.24
41Louisiana Tech44.9980921.15
42San Jose State39.97871001.15
44Western Mich45.7477871.13
48New Mexico St31.131051151.10
49North Texas36.75951041.09
51Arkansas State43.8282861.05
55East Carolina40.7184871.04
56Florida Intl26.801121141.02
57Mid Tenn State40.8183841.01
67Eastern Michigan27.061111030.93
68Utah State23.701131040.92
71Washington St48.9668580.85
74Kansas State53.8553450.85
84Central Florida40.4285600.71
88San Diego State33.4099670.68
90Oklahoma State57.4844270.61
91Iowa State36.9093540.58
92Arizona State57.8040230.58
94NC State50.9663360.57
97Michigan State48.3470380.54
105Miami (FL)68.041770.41
111Notre Dame57.0547150.32
113Mississippi State30.87107330.31
115Florida State64.952360.26
117Texas A&M49.0867160.24
118South Carolina51.6661140.23
119North Carolina36.7196210.22

What exactly can we glean from these numbers?

USC and Tulane pretty much perform as expected for their recruiting classes. For Tulane, that's not necessarily a plus. About half the teams perform better, and half perform worse.

Someone criticized the data by concluding that since Georgia and Florida were so low on the list, the data was useless. Au contraire. Keep in mind that both those schools have consistently recruited well, according to Rivals. It is impossible for USC to out-perform it's recruiting class, and for each team ranked high, it becomes very difficult to live up to expectations. What these numbers suggest is that Florida and Georgia are not performing as well as they are recruiting. In the case of Florida, it is not a matter of wins and losses or National Championships--the data indicate that they should be winning, and perhaps winning more than they are.

It also sugests that schools like Boise State, Utah and TCU are doing more with their talent than other schools, in terms of producing wins. Schools like Florida State are under-performing.

As I expected, PSU did not perform overly well--38th overall and fourth in the Big Ten. Here's how the conference fared:

Big TENPCTPCT RankRivalsIndex
14Ohio State85.164102.50
38Penn State63.6224301.25
97Michigan State48.3470380.54

Another way to look at these numbers would be to examine just the numerical difference between a schools Rivals Rank versus its win-loss pct. rank (subtraction versus division.) In this case, teams with highly ranked recruiting classes aren't penalized as much for not producing winning seasons. Here's what that table looks like:

TeamWin-Loss %PCT RankRivals RankRank IndexDifference
2Bowling Green61.14301063.5376
3Boise State87.9027638.0074
5Northern Illinois57.14461092.3763
6Air Force52.26591161.9757
8Florida Atlantic49.57661181.7952
10Fresno State60.2234772.2643
11Central Michigan48.48691101.5941
15Miami (OH)50.84641001.5636
17South Florida61.6928632.2535
18New Mexico53.3155891.6234
20West Virginia75.379404.4431
21Brigham Young59.5236661.8330
22Ball State45.59781071.3729
23Boston College71.5114433.0729
24Texas Tech68.9815412.7326
29Oregon State62.3927491.8122
30Colorado State46.2675931.2418
31Southern Miss58.8239571.4618
34Virginia Tech74.4910262.6016
35Wake Forest53.9452681.3116
37Georgia Tech58.8238521.3714
39San Jose State39.97871001.1513
40Louisiana Tech44.9980921.1512
42New Mexico St31.131051151.1010
43Western Mich45.7477871.1310
45North Texas36.75951041.099
47Ohio State85.164102.506
48Penn State63.6224301.256
50Arkansas State43.8282861.054
53East Carolina40.7184871.043
54Florida Intl26.801121141.022
57Mid Tenn State40.8183841.011
72Eastern Michigan27.061111030.93-8
74Kansas State53.8553450.85-8
78Utah State23.701131040.92-9
79Miami (FL)68.041770.41-10
80Washington St48.9668580.85-10
88Arizona State57.8040230.58-17
89Florida State64.952360.26-17
90Oklahoma State57.4844270.61-17
93Central Florida40.4285600.71-25
96NC State50.9663360.57-27
102Michigan State48.3470380.54-32
103Notre Dame57.0547150.32-32
104San Diego State33.4099670.68-32
106Iowa State36.9093540.58-39
109South Carolina51.6661140.23-47
111Texas A&M49.0867160.24-51
118Mississippi State30.87107330.31-74
119North Carolina36.7196210.22-75

USC and Tulane are 0. Schools like Florida and Georgia move up. North Carolina still pretty much sucks. The Big Ten looks like this:

TeamWin-Loss %PCT RankRivals RankRank IndexDifference
47Ohio State85.164102.506
48Penn State63.6224301.256
102Michigan State48.3470380.54-32

Eventually, I hope to re-analyze these data in terms of how a given recruiting class reflects a team's rank 2,3, or 4 years down the road.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Rating the Big Ten Players

Adam Rittenberg, Big Ten Blogger for ESPN who reportedly can blog 4.1 entries in the 40, put a lot of thought and effort into looking at how players match-up in the Big Ten for this coming season. Of course, I may be biased, since he ranks SIX Penn Stater's in the top 30:

No. 2 -- Daryll Clark, QB, Penn State
No. 4 -- Evan Royster, RB, Penn State
No. 6 -- Navorro Bowman, LB, Penn State
No. 7 -- Sean Lee, LB, Penn State
No. 12 -- Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State
No. 27 -- Stefen Wisniewski, C, Penn State

In terms of the conference, here is how that data looks:

Team Players Average Rank
Penn State 6 9.67
Illinois 3 14.67
Northwestern 2 15.00
Minnesota 3 15.30
Ohio State 3 15.67
Iowa 4 15.75
THEM 2 16.00
Wisconsin 2 16.50
Michigan State 2 20.50
Indiana 2 23.50
Purdue 1 24.00

The obvious discrepancy--given that ESPN seems to think the Buckeyes are going to win the title--has already been noted by one fan, generating a second blog post:

Edwin from Dayton, Ohio, writes: I find it interesting that you have (as do most experts) Ohio State a better team and the chosen team to win whe Big Ten even with an away game at Happy Valley. But when I look at your player rankings you have 6 Penn State players you your top 30, and 4 in the top 12. This would lead me to believe that Penn State is the better team. (Although I know this is not the case) how do you justify them having the perenial players in the big ten and them not being the best? Are you just playing devils adovocate to the lion share of people that think The Ohio State is the best Big Ten team?

This points to the fundamental matchup of the 2009 Big Ten season -- Penn State's star power vs. Ohio State's depth.

Ohio State has proven throughout head coach Jim Tressel's tenure that it reloads better than any other Big Ten team. The Buckeyes have recruited better than anyone else and stockpiled talent at key positions to avoid drop-offs after major graduation losses.

Penn State's ability to reload is not as guaranteed.

Have the Lions recruited well enough to replace Shipley, left tackle Gerald Cadogan and guard Rich Ohrnberger up front, as well as four starters in the secondary? We'll find out this fall.

Ohio State had only three players make my top 30 rankings -- quarterback Terrelle Pryor (No. 8), safety Kurt Coleman (No. 13) and defensive end Thad Gibson (No. 26). But the Buckeyes appear to have fewer concerns at the positions where they experienced major production losses.

These are all valid points. But the one factor that needs to be considered here is not just what positions are being replaced, but how well each team manages that position.

For instance, it is more of a problem for Penn State to replace a quarterback, historically, although Daryll Clark kind of rewrote history last year, as did Robinson in 2005. But we are not dealing with that position anyway.

Historically, Penn State has problems replacing offensive lines. Period. It always seems to take 2-3 years to rebuild a line after it is decimated by graduation. And this may be a weakness. We have also not done particularly well with receivers, but I have more confidence here because most of the guys that will be starting this fall got some playing time last season, and they have the benefit of an experienced QB to make their learning curve easier. And some forget that Norwood, Williams and Butler all did pretty well when they first started, though that doesn't guarantee success for the next group.

Defensively, the Lions have shown themselves over the past decade to put things together, with losses like Lowry, Zemaitis, Posluszny being issues that never seemed to materialize on the field--in other words, despite the loss of their talent, we plugged in new people and still had good defenses. I think we will be all right in the secondary and on the defensive line, despite our losses to graduation.

I don't follow Ohio State recruiting and development closely enough to breakdown individual units (O-line, D-line, LBs, etc.) but overall, they must do a pretty good job at recruiting and replacing to be in so many BCS title games and BCS bowl games.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

More Monkey Theory

I already posted a rather worthless diatribe about Paterno being selfish. (A roomful of monkeys typing for infinity would eventually produce the works of Shakespeare--for blogs, it appears they would not need so much time.)

Uncle Mike (a monkey's uncle!) put together his list of most hated opponents--non-players. Number One on this Rutger's fan list?

Joe Paterno.

1. Joe Paterno, Pennsylvania State University football. Ol' Ratface spent the better part of 30 years picking on the teams now in the Big East Conference, then went to the Big Ten. Penn State fans whine about how, with undefeated teams in 1969, 1970, 1973 and 1994, the Nittany Lions were not awarded the National Championship. Maybe it's karma for Paterno running up the score on weaker Eastern opponents, thus inflating their records. And also for and poaching players from other territories. Two of his best players -- Franco Harris of Mount Holly and Rancocas Valley High, and Kenny Jackson of South River -- were among the many he has poached from New Jersey, and whose first choice could have been Rutgers. He's taken New Yorkers away from Syracuse, New Englanders away from Boston College, and Cheseapeake Valley players away from Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

The last time Penn State played Rutgers, at Giants Stadium in 1995, Penn State was leading 52-34, and Paterno had his quarterback pass with an 18-point lead near the end of the game. Touchdown, 59-34. When it was over, Rutgers coach Doug Graber -- whose job was in jeopardy and was indeed fired after the season, though he has returned to RU as a radio broadcaster -- did not shake Paterno's hand afterward, instead telling him what a classless SOB he is. Well, that may not have been Graber's
exact phrase, but it might as well have been. And this great patriotic conservative Christian known as "Saint Joseph" among his fans, he cursed right back. Later, he apologized to the press for his profanity -- but not for his classless coaching, saying, "I should not have to apologize for (my quarterback) doing what he has been coached to do." (I won't name that quarterback here: He's a henchman, not the villain.)

Now that Rutgers is a consistent winner, that cowardly old bastard won't play us. Come on, Ratface, you deserve one last lesson in manners before you head off to that great press box in the... core of the Earth.

Among Rutgers’ football opponents, there is no Number 2. Princeton? The last time Princeton football mattered at what we would now call the Division I-A level, I wasn’t born yet, and besides, how can I hate Princeton? I can’t. Syracuse? Nah, aside from their uniforms there’s nothing truly offensive about them. Pitt? Well, Jackie Sherrill… nah, didn’t piss me off enough. UConn? In football? Forget it. Probably the closest is Bobby Petrino from his Louisville days, but that was a brief interlude.

Paterno is eternal. When he finally dies, the Shittany Lions will probably mummify him and turn the Beaver Stadium press box into their own version of Lenin’s Tomb. They already call the stadium “Saint Joe Paterno Cathedral.”For longevity, for amount of defeats, for size of defeats, for style of defeats, for arrogance, and, yes, for ugliness (he really does look like a rat), Joe Paterno tops the list. Congratulations, Penn State: You are Number 1. You dirty bastards.

WooHoo! We're, um, number one.

Now that is some good old fashioned hatred right there. And to think I have been accused of spewing venom! It's amazing how a handful of good seasons makes Rutger's fans think they are equals in the football world with the likes of Penn State. The player poaching theory is just ludicrous. If those players weren't recruited by Penn State, they would have been recruited by Ohio State or Florida State, or some other state. The blogger seems to think they would have gone to Rutgers if it weren't for Joe, as though Rutgers was their only other choice!
Many Penn State fans now view Ohio State and/or THEM as our new rivals, even though we know that these games don't have the tradition and puke factor that other rivalries in the Big Ten carry. (For the sake of argument, we shall assume that there are other rivalries of note besides Ohio State- THEM, even though it is clear that that is THE only GAME that counts in the conference.)
But Pitt and Rutgers still cling to the rivalries of the past. And I doubt many Penn Staters ever thought of Rutgers as a rival. Of course, that was because they didn't win consistently.
Has anyone ever heard Beaver Stadium called St. Joe Paterno Cathedral? That's a first for me. The House that Joe Built--yes. Cathedral? Not so much.
But Uncle Mike's entitled to his opinion and I have no inclination to add a comment on his site nor email Aunt Mike to let her know that he's using nasty language.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

We Want The Lion! has started a campaign to get the Nittany Lion in Mascot Hall of Fame. I know what you're thinking . . . there's a mascot Hall of Fame?
You may also be aware of the Mascot Hall of Fame that can be found in Delaware. This is relatively new and includes just a small sampling of mascots already inducted. Of course the Phillie Phanatic was part of the initial class along with the San Diego Chicken and the Suns Gorilla. Those three iconic mascots were the first three to be inducted in 2005.

From the Big Ten, Bucky the Badger and THE Nut from Ohio State.

About a month ago we started up a campaign to ensure that the Nittany Lion would be enshrined in the Mascot Hall of Fame and the feedback has been tremendous. Our Facebook group has grown to over 500 members and includes a number of our Penn State blogging brothers and sisters, football players, many Penn State students and even a meteorologist for 6 ABC in Philadelphia! So where do we stand on our application process?

I am happy to say that we have received an outstanding video that will be used in the application. You can view the video here. Thank you to James Sheep for your contribution. I am setting up a deadline for all material to be in by next Wednesday, June 10. The deadline for the nomination to be received is June 15, so we are getting down to crunch time!

So get out there and do your part. WE DO WANT THE LION . . . in the Hall of Fame!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

More Offensive Recruits

Mike White of the Varsity Blog writes about Penn State's newest recruit, and our most recent offensive line recruit . . .

The younger Tom Ricketts, who will be a senior lineman at North Allegheny High School, made a verbal commitment to Penn State tonight. He called Bradley on the phone and made his commitment.Ricketts is the second top WPIAL offensive lineman to commit to Penn State in the past two days. Yesterday, it was Fox Chapel's Miles Dieffenbach.

Dieffenbach's decision was a slight blow to Pitt. The Panthers were his top choice until the past month, and the Panthers thought they had a good chance to get him. What hurt the most was Dieffenbach's tie to Pitt. His father, George, is Pitt's womens tennis coach.

Ricketts' decision might have been even a bigger blow to Pitt. Ricketts father, Tom II, was a standout lineman at Pitt in the 1980s. His mother, Sandy (Albright) Ricketts, was a standout swimmer at Pitt. The parents have season tickets to Pitt football games.

"Penn State has always been my secret favorite," Ricketts said. "Growing up, Pitt was a favorite, too. But just looking at the opportunities given to me, Penn State was the best thing for me. ... This past week - and maybe even a little less than that - I was pretty sure Penn State is where I wanted to go. The past three days, I said, 'This is where I need to be.' I love the campus, the coaching staff, everything about Penn State."

Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said a few years ago that he wanted to build a fence around Western Pennsylvania and keep top recruits here. But there was no fence in the past, there is no fence now and there will be no fence in the future.

Personally, I'm not sure how a kid can compare Pitt and Penn State and not choose the school with a legendary coach, an on-campus stadium that is one of the largest in the country, and a fan base that actually attends games. Obviously there are a lot of variables including the education, the rapport with the staff, travel from home, etc. I'm kind of amazed at what recruiting Wannstedt accomplishes with a rented stadium, a lackluster Big East schedule,a nd that moustache of his.
Welcome aboard, Tom!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dieffenbach's Concerto

Per BWI, Miles Dieffenbach has committed to Penn State.

The three-star prospect then took an unofficial visit to Penn State on Tuesday, and came away with some unexpected news."

I went up and visited Penn State again today and spent the day with coach Bradley and coach Paterno," he said. "My mom got to come up this time; she wasn't there the first time, so she came up to see it and she liked it a lot."

At the end we went into Coach Paterno's office and I did it right there. I committed."

Dieffenbach's shocking announcement came just a week after he received an offer from the Nittany Lions.

"I wasn't really holding out for it. I mean, I grew up a Pitt fan all my life and always hated Penn State, so when they offered me, I wasn't really that into it," said Dieffenbach. "But then I visited and it was different from what I thought. I loved it, and the tables turned."

Welcome to Penn State, Miles!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Monkey Theory

The Infinite Monkey Theorem posits that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the blog known as Doyel's Dribbles.

In this post, Doyel calls Paterno a selfish,old man:

Old isn't an insult, by the way. It's an adjective.

But he's old. And he's selfish. And why? Because he is campaigning for the Big Ten to expand by adding Syracuse, Pittsburgh or Rutgers. "Not in that order," he says.

Classy, JoePa. Hey, wait. Is that a siren? Was another of your players just arrested?

I really do try to cut my fellow bloggers some slack. We're all just trying to put up something worth reading. And when you live in a glass house, you should avoid throwing bricks.

But seriously? What was the point to this post? To educate us on the use of adjectives? To take a pot shot at Penn State's recent woes with the law? To use this as a platform for yet another Joe Should Retire diatribe?

I could spend more time responding to this, but some of the comments have already done so eloquently (which is an adverb.)

Doyel, of course JoePa is being selfish. That doesn't surprise me. What does surprise me is that his selfishness seems to offend you. Why would you expect him to behave any differently? He believes the Big Ten would be more successful with a twelfth team. Why would he be upset if pirating that team from the Big East made the Big East weaker?

Should he take the same approach to his recruiting? "Gee, I would really like the best middle linebacker prospect in the country to play for my Lions, but Purdue has had some down years... maybe I ought to let them have a crack at him instead?"

Football is a competitive sport and business. What you seem to be implying is that the world of college football would be better off by constructing boundaries to limit that competition. If the Big Ten feels it is better off with Syracuse or another of the Big East schools, and if that school feels it is better off with the Big Ten, why would you prevent them from changing the structure of the conference? If the Big East is at risk of becoming defunct because of the loss of one of its teams, then it needs to find ways to improve its conference so that teams no longer want to find another home. If they don't, then they will eventually succumb to the pressures of the game's evolution.

We're all big boys and girls here Doyel. JoePa is shouldn't have to pull his punches to satisfy your skewed sense of fairness.

See, now? That's well thought out and worth reading. ParisYankee took the high road. Or, you could take the low road . . .

Bald, isn't an insult, by the way. It's an adjective. If he had hair, I'd have titled this thing, "Doyel, incompetent man with hair."

Yawn. Once again, nothing but drivel. I'd expected that one day you'd write something worthwhile. You should take your own advice. Retire already.


UNC Wants a Piece of Us

According to J.P. Giglio of The News & Observer, Butch Davis has initiated talks to add Penn State to the schedule. Of course, he also asked a few other schools as well.

Davis said he wants to upgrade the nonconference schedule. All three Triangle
ACC teams play two home games against Football Championship Subdivision,
formerly Division I-AA, teams in '09.
"We have sent letters to Ohio State,
Michigan, Penn State and Oklahoma," Davis said. "We've tried to reach out and
get a future home-and-home series."

Davis said 2012 is the earliest opening on UNC's future schedules.

I, for one, would be in favor of UNC, at least compared to Syracuse, Eastern llinois, or Akron. But the latter two are willing to come to Beaver Stadium without a return trip, so I don't see the schedule changing anytime soon. Penn State has also been talking with Nebraska and Miami (FL).