Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fumbles, Fouls and Faux Pas

What is this world--and especially this country--coming to?

First we have the "incident" with the Minnesota Gopher:



Apparently, the University has issued an apology about the incident.


Minnesota spokesman Dan Wolter said the mascot did not mean to offend anyone and that the incident was "plainly a mistake."

Wolter issued the following statement:

"On behalf of Goldy and the University of Minnesota, I want to apologize to the Penn State player involved and anyone else who may have taken offense from this incident. We have reiterated to Goldy the importance of exercising appropriate religious sensitivity in the future."

Hayes said he has seen the video and isn't upset about the incident, though he added some of his teammates have poked fun at him about it.


So let me get this straight . . . the guy being made fun of doesn't have a problem with this, but there is a problem. I watched the youtube video above, and quite frankly, I fail to see the problem. Yet, it is PLAINLY A MISTAKE.

Which brings us to the next issue that threatens to destroy civilization as we know it. THE WHITE OUT TEE SHIRT. From FoxNews:

The shirts — intended to foster school spirit — sport a vertical blue line down the center with the words "Penn State White Out" emblazoned across the chest, forming a design that some say resembles a cross.

Penn State says it has received six complaints about the shirt, including one from the Anti-Defamation League's Philadelphia branch, from people who say it connotes a Christian cross. The logo design also has become the focus of controversy in the student newspaper, "The Daily Collegian," which has received several letters to the editor on both sides of the issue.

Michal Berns, a junior majoring in media law and policy, said she refused to buy the $15 shirt because of its religious connotations.


Good for you Michal. That solves the problem right there. If you don't like it; don't buy it. You don't have to go out and curtail everyone else's right to buy it if they choose to do so. Is this really so difficult folks?

Larry Johnson, Jr. has been suspended by the Chiefs after allegedly Twittering gay slurs. I don't even want to get into that mess.

Bob Griese has been suspended by ESPN for saying that Juan Pablo Montoya was missing from the NASCAR advertisement because he was "out getting a taco." I actually heard that and thought nothing of it at the time. Sort of funny, but is it really worth a suspension?

Bob Leach has this gem in his press conference, but I don't know if the fat girls are offended and if he will be reprimanded:




Maybe I'm not the best person to comment on this, since I am a victim of the PC police. I was fired from Penn Live after a "private" email exchange.


Dick wrote: I log on to other big ten school sites get their take on opposing teams, things in general. Each case there is a rivaly[friendly] lotta chain yanking etc. but no where, no one spews the venom, constantly bad mouthing[big time] the other conf. teams in particular OSU,MICH,[them as you refer]IOWA, pretty much the top tier teams who pretty much beat the Nits on a regular basis.

I replied: The whole Big Ten bad-mouthing by PSU fans has a lot to do with how we have been treated as a team and as fans since joining the conference. Exhibit A is 1994 when a lot of our conference "brethern"--sportswriters in the midwest--voted Nebraska over PSU. What the bloody [FN] hell?! Damn straight the buckeye journalists would rank THEM number one if they were undefeated and had beaten OSU. But Penn State? What about the good of the [FN] conference back then???!!!!The conference can shove it up their a$$e$.

JP--who you purport to respect has talked about the way certain conference officials laugh behind his back. It was his infuriation over the [FN] BIG TEN REFS WHO THROW THE GAMES FOR OSU AND THEM that got national instant replay. Yeah, that ball hit the turf in Beaver Stadium and the refs called it a catch. That'll never happen in Ann Arbor or Columbus in Penn State's favor. Perish the thought!

One of my readers read the exchanges and said this:
Wow! This guy really has a problem. Probably the F-bomb that got you fired.

I have since received numerous follow-up emails from Dick, who conveniently hides behind private emails--private when it suits him--but you will not find a single public comment on this blog from the cowardly rat. What I don't get is if he didn't want to hear what I had to say before--to the point of crying like a baby to PennLive--then why does he continue to email me? He supposedly is an ex-marine who should have sworn to uphold the Constitution and protect our rights as Americans. Apparently I do not have a right to express myself to him, unless he deems it appropriate. I'm sorry. I was not aware that we had amended the Constitution to give him that right. He is now the Czar of Good Manners in Conversation.

In the end, this politically correct bullcrap boils down to who has rights and who doesn't. Worse yet, in most cases, the offended is a minority or in a minority, e.g. 6 complaints about 30,000 Tee Shirts. We live in a representative democracy where policy is supposed to be formulated by a majority vote--not a minority number. Instead, the person who offends someone else--even ONE person or even if it MIGHT offend one person--doesn't have the right to hold that opinion. But the one being offended has the right.

Am I missing something here? Is that really what our Constitution says? You have the right to free speech, unless it offends someone else? That is not to say that there aren't rules to follow. Had I published those F-bombs on PennLive for everyone to see, I wouldn't have been surprised if they had a problem with that. If Griese had called Montoya a lazy spic, I could understand ESPN taking action. I even understand the slander aspect of LJ's situation which is why I didn't go into that topic. There is a fine line between opinion and racisim/bigotry.

But if you don't want to listen to Bob Griese, then don't. You don't like the white out shirt? Don't buy it. Don't Twitter with LJ. You don't like my blog--stay the hell away from here then. Don't like my answer to YOUR email query, then delete and never reply back. Is it too much to ask that you allow others to partake if they so choose?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Weekly Rooting Guide

Penn State is a 13.5 point favorite over Northwestern on Saturday in Evanston.

Tonight, the Va Tech Chokies take on a North Carolina team which is coming off a come from ahead loss to F$U. The Chokies are picked by 17 at home. Let's Go Tar Heels!

In the Big Ten:

Iowa is a heavy (17.5 point) fave over the Hoosiers. Go Indiana!

Wisconsin is a 6.5 fave over Purdue. We play neither one so who cares.

The Buckeyes host New Mexico State to the tune of 39.5 points. Go Big Ten.

THEM is an 8 point fave over the Illini. GO ILLINOIS!

Sparty is a 6.5 favorite over Minnesota.

In Top ranked action:

Florida is favored by 16 over Georgia. Go Bulldogs!

Texas is a 9 point favorite over Okie State. GO COWBOYS!

Cincinnati is picked over Syracuse by 14.5. GO ORANGE!

USC is a 3.5 favorite over Orgeon. GO DUCKS!

LSU is a big favorite over Tulane (35 points.)

TCU is a big favorite over UNLV (33 points.)

Boise State is a 33 point favorite over San Jose State.

And Bobby Bowden's team . . .

F$U is favored by 7.5 over NC State. GO WOLFPACK!

By The Numbers: Northwestern

Here are the NCAA Stats for Penn State and Northwestern:


NCAA Stats Comparison
Category:Penn St.Northwestern
Rushing2992
Passing Offense3723
Total Offense2349
Scoring Offense3257
Rushing Defense439
Turnovers Gained3815
Passes Had Intercepted5168
Pass Defense968
Net Punting110116
Punt Returns9991
Kickoff Returns116103
Turnover Margin4561
Fumbles Recovered8023
Passes Intercepted1818
Fumbles Lost3295
Turnovers Lost3992
Passing Efficiency2153
Pass Efficiency Defense473
Total Defense346
Scoring Defense161
Fewest Penalties Per Game639
Fewest Yards Penalized Per Game427
Punt Return Yardage Defense11749
Kickoff Return Yardage Defense8368
Offense Third-down Efficiency36
Offense Fourth-down Efficiency5432
Defense Third-down Efficiency1157
Defense Fourth-down Efficiency831
Tackles for Loss473
Offense Tackles for Loss1657
Pass Sacks836
Pass Sacks Allowed2078
Time of Possession652
First Downs2214
First Downs Allowed444
Red Zone Efficiency4419
Red Zone Efficiency - Defense115
Average NCAA Rank:32.4952.43
Weighted Avg. Rank:26.561.5



Just like last week, there is no indication statistically, that this should be a close game. (Northwestern is actually better than THEM in average NCAA rank, but not when weighted for important categories.)

Offensively, the Wildcats have a slightly better passing unit, but this will be offset by Penn State's better ranked pass defense. Both teams are excellent on third down conversions, but Penn State has the edge defensively. Penn State has the third best overall defense in the nation and the best scoring defense in the country.

NW is actually worse in TO margin and TO's lost. Both teams are struggling with KO returns and net punting.

The factors which work against Penn State this week aren't on paper. They are a showdown on the horizon with the Buckeyes and a natural letdown against an allegedly inferior opponent after a big win. These disadvantages can be nuetralized by coaching and leadership--which I think Penn State has at this point.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Penn State Halloween

With a cast of thousands (actually five), The Lion's Den is proud to present the Monster Mash, starring Joe Paterno, Sean Lee, The Nittany Lion, and Blue Sapphire PJ Maierhofer.


Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Scary Places to Play

From RealClearSports . . . Beaver Stadium is #6.

Beaver Stadium started with a capacity just under 50,000 but kept growing with expansion after expansion until it more than doubled its size. With a capacity of 107,282, it is, for the 2009 season, the largest stadium in the United States. It’s so enormous that on game day, University Park becomes, in essence, the third largest city in Pennsylvania, behind only Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Every home game is special, but a night game at Beaver Stadium is unlike any other experience. In 2004, a tradition of "WhiteOut” began, where the fans in the entire stadium wears white and it becomes brighter than a day game. The only part not covered in white is a small sections where seniors wear blue shirts that form an outline of the letter ‘S’ around others in white shirts.

Between the call and response of “We Are … Penn State," jumping up and down during “Zombie Nation” and “WhiteOut," Penn State is full of traditions that make Beaver Stadium an atmosphere like no other.


WE ARE . . . PENN STATE!

The only other college football stadium on the list is Death Valley, LSU's Tiger Stadium, which logged in at the #2 scariest venue.

Monday, October 26, 2009

THEM Recap

From PSUFootball1:

Blog Poll Week 8

RankTeamDelta
1 Texas 2
2 Florida
3 Alabama 2
4 Iowa
5 Boise State
6 TCU 1
7 Cincinnati 1
8 Southern Cal 2
9 Penn State 1
10 LSU 1
11 Georgia Tech 1
12 Oklahoma State 1
13 Oregon 2
14 Virginia Tech 2
15 Houston 2
16 Ohio State 2
17 Pittsburgh 3
18 Utah 1
19 Miami (Florida) 10
20 West Virginia 1
21 South Carolina
22 Notre Dame
23 California
24 Mississippi
25 Central Michigan
Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: Brigham Young (#14), Kansas (#22), Michigan (#23), South Florida (#24), Texas Tech (#25).

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Beatagain Wolverines

Penn State gave up its first touchdown in the first half of a game this entire season, but then outscored the miserable wolverines 35-3 en route to a 7-1 record. And the final score doesn’t even reflect how poor this THEM team really is. Why any recruit would even consider joining that mess in Ann Arbor is beyond me.

Is anyone surprised by the 35-10 outcome? Granted, a lot of Penn State fans were nervous about this game . . . but that was anxiety over whether we would play to win versus playing not to lose or it was angst over the referines who with the flip of a flag or two seconds on the clock could change the outcome of the game. Most of the Penn Staters I talked to did not worry about THEM having the better team. Most were worried about getting screwed.

Even so, there was some clock mayhem before the end of the half when the game clock froze and gave THEM 10-12 extra seconds. It was immaterial as Forcier fumbled and was forced to spike the ball with no time outs, leading to a short field goal. But the game was still relatively close at that point.

Yet the talking heads of sports media anointed Forcier as the best quarterback in the Big Ten. Based on what? Is it because of a single good game against an Irish team that couldn’t stop a nerdy kid with acne and no date from scoring on prom night? Forcier has as much claim to that title as Obama does to a Nobel Peace Prize. I ended up watching most of the game at my sister’s surprise birthday party and thankfully the sound was off. I would have expected better from Millen.

The guys with ugly helmets and piss yellow pants managed just 110 yards on the ground—they were averaging 235 yards per game. The tandem of 4CA and Robinson combined for a less than a-maize-ing 140 passing yards, going 13-33 (39%) and throwing two picks. We already knew their defense was bad, but Graham Zug had a career day being lonely in the THEM endzone. The coverage wasn’t bad—it was non-existent.

The weak spot of our team is obviously special teams, and they did not disappoint. But even when Penn State gift wrapped a possession on the 24 yard line following a blocked punt, the hapless men in yellow fumbled the ball back to us. They lost two fumbles on the day. They recovered a third fumble, but it cost them a chance for a TD before the end of the first half. But on behalf of the special teams, our kick-offs were more productive and included a 54 yard return by Chaz Powell to open the third quarter.

A bad snapped sailed past 4CA for a safety. Penn State capitalized by throwing a 60 yard pass to Quarless two plays later, the only touchdown not thrown to Zug all alone in the endzone. The rout was on and Penn State never looked back.

Penn State fans can only hope that Rich Rod is there to stay.

BY THE NUMBERS:

From GoPSUsports:

Team Totals PSU THEM
FIRST DOWNS 18 17
Rushing 9 9
Passing 8 7
Penalty 1 1
NET YARDS RUSHING 166 110
Rushing Attempts 40 40
Average Per Rush 4.2 2.8
Rushing Touchdowns 0 1
Yards Gained Rushing 192 151
Yards Lost Rushing 26 41
NET YARDS PASSING 230 140
Completions-Attempts-Int 16-27-0 13-33-2
Average Per Attempt 8.5 4.2
Average Per Completion 14.4 10.8
Passing Touchdowns 4 0
TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS 396 250
Total offense plays 67 73
Average Gain Per Play 5.9 3.4
Fumbles: Number-Lost 0-0 3-2
Penalties: Number-Yards 5-35 5-33
PUNTS-YARDS 7-215 7-314
Average Yards Per Punt 30.7 44.9
Net Yards Per Punt 26.9 39.3
Inside 20 4 1
50+ Yards 0 2
Touchbacks 0 1
Fair catch 1 3
KICKOFFS-YARDS 7-421 4-225
Average Yards Per Kickoff 60.1 56.2
Net Yards Per Kickoff 41.7 31.5
Touchbacks 2 0
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD 3-19-0 2-27-0
Average Per Return 6.3 13.5
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD 4-99-0 4-89-0
Average Per Return 24.8 22.2
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD 2-43-0 0-0-0
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD 0-0-0 0-0-0
Miscellaneous Yards 0 0
Possession Time 34:48 25:12
1st Quarter 7:54 7:06
2nd Quarter 6:54 8:06
3rd Quarter 9:55 5:05
4th Quarter 10:05 4:55
Third-Down Conversions 5 of 15 3 of 15
Fourth-Down Conversions 0 of 0 1 of 2
Red-Zone Scores-Chances 5-5 2-4
Sacks By: Number-Yards 5-26 2-12
PAT Kicks 3-3 1-1
Field Goals 2-2 1-1




INTANGIBLES:

Penn State won the toss and deferred.

Penn State has won back to back games in this series for the first time since 1994-96.

Attendance at the Outhouse was 110,377. Kudos to the Penn State fans who made the trip.

JoePa notches win #390, still 5 ahead of Bowden who somehow managed a come from behind win at UNC.


THE BIG (TEN) PICTURE:

!*w@ somehow managed to remain undefeated as they beat Sparty 15-13 with a TD pass on the final play of the game. It was a play that gave me Henne to Manningham nightmares all over again. It was the first time Ferentz has won at East Lansing. I just shake my head. Is there a luckier undefeated team out there? In history? The Hawks take on Indiana next week.

The Bucks bounced back against the Gophers. The game was close in the first half, 7-0, but a big fourth quarter and multiple turnovers helped Ohio State cruise past Minnesota 38-7 in the second half. The Buckeyes take on New Mexico State next week.

Northwestern had to come from behind to beat the Hoosiers 29-28, having trailed 28-3! The Wildcats will host PSU in Evanston next week.

Purdue continued its winning ways, and Illinois continued its losing ways, as the Spoilermakers won 24-14. Illinois takes on THEM next week.

The Badgers are back in action next week against Purdue.

SHEDDING TEARS:

1. For MSU—you should have hired THEM’s clock operator. There wouldn’t have been a second left on that clock.
2. For UNC—dadgummit
3. For Tennessee—missed/blocked field goals huge in two point loss to Bama
4. For Miami—lost in OT to Clemson

LOOKING AHEAD:

Penn State heads to Evanston next week to take on the Wildcats. Northwestern has not duplicated their bowl season success of a year ago when they took Missouri into OT but came up short. They have struggled more this season than I thought they would.

To date:

Towson W 47-14
Eastern Michigan W 27-24
Syracuse L 37-34
Minnesota L 35-24
Purdue W 27-21
Miami(OH) W 16-6
Michigan State L 24-14
Indiana W 29-28

So their only impressive win was against Purdue, and that was impressive only because Purdue went on to upset the Buckeyes. They have lost to the good teams they have faced, if you assume Syracuse and Minnesota are good. The only quality opponent on that list is Sparty and they lost that game.

Of course, it is possible that Penn State could be caught looking ahead to Ohio State. I don’t think that will happen, and we shouldn’t even need our “A” game to win this one.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Two QB or Not 2 QB

That is the question.

From Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror, THEM may use both QBs in the game today.

Tate Forcier looked so impressive leading Michigan back against Notre Dame in week two that it seemed odd the exciting freshman would be embroiled in a quarterback controversy just four weeks later.

Forcier, two weeks removed from a concussion, will start for the Wolverines on Saturday, but Penn State also must be prepared to face backup Denard Robinson.

Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said using two quarterbacks has "been the plan all year," and he will continue to give both freshmen opportunities. Forcier did not play well - 8-of-19 for 94 yards and one interception - two weeks ago in a 30-28 loss at
Iowa. He was pulled late in the game in favor of Robinson, who led the Wolverines to a late touchdown but threw an interception on a final drive with 46 seconds to go.

Michigan's coaches did not know at the time that Forcier had suffered a concussion. The switch in that game, Rodriguez said, was made because of performance.

Forcier, who chose Michigan over Penn State in the recruiting battle, said he's back to 100 percent after the concussion and a shoulder injury suffered in week four against Indiana.

Penn State's defense will see two very different styles between Michigan's two quarterbacks. Forcier is a much more polished passer, while at this point in Robinson's career he is primarily a running threat.

So for Penn State fans, who would we rather see in the backfield? Despite his claims of being one hundred percent, and despite THEM's offensive numbers, Forcier seems to be regressing as the season goes on. But, if we can't collapse the pocket, he could pick us apart all afternoon. The coaches also have more 4CA on film to prepare for than Robinson.

And while Robinson adds another dimension--running, I think that takes some pressure off the secondary (in terms of coverage but possibly at the expense of increased pressure on run support), and we have done well containing the running QBs we have faced, especially Juice Williams. I think we might fare better against Robinson, but if 4CA is not truly 100%, I'd have to think we'd do OK against him as well. A true platoon may be good for us, as each of them tries too hard to outdo the other and forces too many plays. Neither one would have the opportunity to settle into a groove.

DickRod Shining


All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy. All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy. All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy. All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy. All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy. All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy. All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy. All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy. All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy. All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy. All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy. All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy. All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy. All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy. All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy. All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy.

All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy.

All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy.

All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy.

All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy.

All
Workouts

And

No

Play

Makes

DICK

A Dull Boy.


All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy.

All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy.

All Workouts And No Play Makes Dick A Dull Boy.

All Workouts

And No Play

Makes DICK

A

Dull Boy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Paterno Tribute

Joe Posnanski (SI) has written an open letter of sorts to Angelo Paterno, late father of Joseph Vincent Paterno.

Angelo, look at the way your son's eyes darken now. Look how he balls up his fists and uncrosses his legs, as if he's uncomfortable, as if he suddenly remembered someplace he needs to be. Look how the smile on his face—the smile that punctuates all the stories he tells, like the one about Bear Bryant wanting a lane of traffic cleared for his team (the Pennsylvania governor said no), or the time at a coaches' convention that Dan Devine mentioned an unnamed loudmouth coach at Oklahoma, and Barry Switzer shouted, "Switzer!" and raised his hand—look how that grandfatherly smile twists into a grimace. Madonn'! Someone is asking Joe Paterno about the wins record. Again.

The wins record. What the hell can Joe say about the wins record? That he doesn't care about it? That he does? Angelo, that record is like a noose around his neck ...

And now? They still don't see him. They see that wins record. That's how so many people define your son, Angelo. After beating Minnesota 20--0 last Saturday, he has 389 victories, five more than Bobby Bowden (at least for now; the NCAA wants to take away 14 of Bowden's wins, but Florida State's appealing) and more than any other Division I coach ever. People act as if that's what it's been about. As if that's why he still coaches. "What am I gonna tell you?" Joe asks. "I try not to pay attention to it. But it's there. I don't want the record. I say that, and I know people say, 'Oh, who are you kidding, Paterno, with that humble pie?' But humble pie's got nothing to do with it. What am I gonna do with that record?"

People have been telling Joe to quit for more than 40 years, going back to the time in '67 when he went for it on fourth down in the Gator Bowl against Florida State. The Nittany Lions didn't get the first down, the game ended in a tie, and on the plane ride home a joker on that team, Jack Curry, walked back to the coach, who was sitting with his head in his hands.

Joe looked up to see his player's face. Curry said, "When you started the game, people didn't even care who the coach was at Penn State. But after you went for it on fourth-and-one, the whole country went, 'Who the hell is the coach at Penn State?'"

As for being out of touch ... Joe relentlessly pleads guilty. He will tell you (and tell you and tell you) he doesn't have a cellphone, and he doesn't have a computer, and he doesn't know anything about all the social networking. ("What's that thing called, Facemask?" he asks.)

Angelo, methinks the coach doth protest too much. That's the Brooklyn in him. That's the you in him. Let them underestimate Joe. Let them think the world has passed him by. Let them think the old man has gone soft. Nobody needs to know that during the off-season Joe called all his coaches together for their usual meeting.

And, first thing, he said, "Gentlemen, we need to start Twittering."

Maybe he did lose faith for a while, Angelo. Friends saw something flicker in him a few years ago. For more than 30 years, nothing had changed at Penn State. Teams won. Players graduated. Joe taught football and life.

A friend says, "I think after Adam [Taliaferro] got hurt, Joe had a crisis of faith. I think he wondered in a small way if [coaching] was worth it."

In 2002 his brother died. They were so close, Angelo.

Toward the end of the '04 season, before Penn State played Indiana after a six-game losing streak, Joe canceled practice and held a team meeting. He said, "We're so close. We're going to win our last two games, and then we're going to win the national championship next year." His players looked at him, stunned, unsure if they were listening to a prophet or a madman.

"Nobody else believed," Adam says. "Nobody. Not even people in the program. Only Coach Paterno believed. And then ... everybody believed."

"He got what I meant," Joe said. No, Joe has not gone soft yet. People will talk about the wins record, Angelo, and make no mistake, Joe Paterno in little State College, Pa., wants to win every single game. But, even now, he hears your voice over the cheers: Are you making an impact? He is still trying.

"If all my life has been about is winning football games," Joe says, "then my father is
rolling around in his grave."

More Vintage Paterno photos here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Weekly Game Guide

Bobby Bowden's Seminoles take on the Tar Heels tonight on ESPN. LETS GO HEELS!

Penn State is a 4.5 favorite over THEM on Saturday in Ann Arbor.

In other Big Ten games:

Purdue Spoilermakers are 10 point favorites over Illinois. A loss by Purdue would be a terrible letdown after last week, but I gotta root for Illinois since we don't play the Spoilers.

The Buckeyes will try to bounce back against the Gophers. The Bucks are 17 point favorites. Did you hear they changes their cheer at Ohio State? Instead of O-H-I-O, when Pryor goes back to pass they chant O-H-N-O!

Northwestern is a 5.5 favorite over Indiana. Who cares?

In the second most interesting game this weekend in the Big Ten, the Spartans are a 1 point dog to the Hawkeyes who have to travel to East Lansing. To stay in the title picture, the Lions have to hope !*w@ has to drop at least a game. This would be a good one right here. GO SPARTANS!

In Top Ranked Action:

Texas faces off against Missouri. The Horns are 14.5 point faves.

Florida is a big favorite (22) over Mississippi State.

Cincinnati is a 17 point fave over Louisville.

Bama is an 16.5 fave over the Volunteers.

Boise State is favored by 24 over Hawaii.

In games featuring previous opponents:

Syracuse is a 9 point favorite over Akron.

Temple is a 1.5 fave over Toledo. Go Owls!

Eastern Illinois is 5-2 and faces Jacksonville State which gave Bobby Bowden a run for his money. Who hasn't given Bobby a run for his money????

Anything else? Oh, yeah. GO BC! Beat Irish!

By The Numbers: THEM

Here are the NCAA statistics for Penn State and THEM:





NCAA Stats Comparison
Category:Penn St.Michigan
Rushing258
Passing Offense3786
Total Offense1925
Scoring Offense429
Rushing Defense658
Turnovers Gained6868
Passes Had Intercepted6885
Pass Defense1480
Net Punting862
Punt Returns9671
Kickoff Returns11937
Turnover Margin6788
Fumbles Recovered9785
Passes Intercepted3143
Fumbles Lost3966
Turnovers Lost6382
Passing Efficiency3254
Pass Efficiency Defense1238
Total Defense564
Scoring Defense246
Fewest Penalties Per Game930
Fewest Yards Penalized Per Game536
Punt Return Yardage Defense11646
Kickoff Return Yardage Defense8487
Offense Third-down Efficiency344
Offense Fourth-down Efficiency6449
Defense Third-down Efficiency2134
Defense Fourth-down Efficiency456
Tackles for Loss733
Offense Tackles for Loss1088
Pass Sacks1186
Pass Sacks Allowed1649
Time of Possession9114
First Downs1630
First Downs Allowed347
Red Zone Efficiency6778
Red Zone Efficiency - Defense147
Average NCAA Rank:37.1455.38
Weighted Avg. Rank:28.9246.5



The only common opponent for both to date is !*w@. Both teams lost, and both teams had late opportunities to tie/win that went for naught on turnovers. For all the talk about how close this game will be, the NCAA stats are heavily in favor of the Lions. THEM leads significantly in a few categories: net punting, punt return yards, kick-off return yards and kickoff return defense. I hope they lead in punting this week as well, since you don't put points on the board if you are punting! They are also better in offensive fourth down conversions, but that is a rather dubious honor since it implies that the team has had to go for it on fourth enough times to pad those stats. When you look at the actual numbers, as opposed to the rank, you see PSU has a 4th down conversion of 50%. That is four attempts with 2 conversions. But for THEM, they rank higher based on a 56% efficiency--NINE attempts with five converted. That said, I really hope this game doesn't come down to whether they are able to convert a fourth down or not.

Another quirky stat is the time of possession, where THEM ranks 114th in the country. Yet they have the 8th ranked rushing defense. You would think that a team that good at running the ball, would be pretty good at chewing up the clock. Apparently not. But their offense does make good use of its time, being 9th ranked in the nation in scoring. The time of possession skewing is probably a combination of turnovers, poor passing, and poor defense. They can stop the run, but not the pass. PSU averages TOP of 32:57 while THEM averages 27:07, so the actual disparity of those ranks is about 6 minutes--give or take a COUPLE OF SECONDS! We really should not bet atlking about time in Ann Arbor.

I think the key stats for a Penn State win on the road is our rush defense against their rush offense. Force THEM to pass, and we will have a good chance to win. If we can't contain their run game, it could be a long, dreary afternoon.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Blog Poll Week Seven

I departed this week from a long-standing tradition of keeping the #1 team the same as long as they contiunue winning. Florida was my #1 last week, but quite frankly, I thought Alabama looked better. I'm in a pissy mood, so down go the Gators. Deal with it.

I also had to rank Pitt which didn't help my mood. But the bastards keep winning somehow, but I'd feel foolish ranking a one-loss Idaho team or a one-loss Central Michigan team. Don't get me wrong--I THOUGHT ABOUT IT. But I have to admit, the Wannstache would probably beat either of those two teams. So be it. But the Rank Nazi is just waiting for another loss--and then NO RANK FOR YOU!

RankTeamDelta
1Alabama 1
2Florida 1
3Texas
4Iowa 2
5Boise State
6Southern Cal 1
7TCU 2
8Cincinnati 2
9Miami (Florida) 2
10Penn State 3
11LSU 1
12Georgia Tech 8
13Oklahoma State 2
14Brigham Young 2
15Oregon 2
16Virginia Tech 12
17Houston 5
18Ohio State 10
19Utah 6
20Pittsburgh
21West Virginia
22Kansas 8
23THEM
24South Florida 5
25Texas Tech
Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: Oklahoma (#18), Nebraska (#21), South Carolina (#23), Missouri (#24).

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Minnesota Flats

Snow covered the grass parking lots, a misty rain fell through most of the game, but the Nittany Lion team put on their best performance of the season for the Homecoming crowd of 107,981 en route to beating the Minnesota Gophers 20-0. This was the first shut-out since PSU beat Temple in 2007. It was the first “complete” game the Lions have played this year, although special team coverage and punt returns continued to be a weak spot.

Daryll Clark threw for 287 yards, completing 21 of 32 pass attempts and no INTs. Royster was back in form with 137 yards on 23 carries. Beachum got the ball a few times, mainly since Green had an ankle injury. The offensive line provided Clark with protection, and Clark looked more comfortable in the pocket than he has in other games this year.

But sparked by the return of Sean Lee to the line-up, the defense shut-out the Gophers and won the gold stars for the day. The little varmints brought bad weather with them, but no protection against a tenacious pack of Lions. Minnesota managed just 138 total yards, with only 37 on the ground. QB Weber was picked off once for the only turn-over in the game. With such a lack of production, it is no wonder they only had 7 first downs in the game. But what is even more revealing is the time of possession disparity which the Lions won nearly 42 minutes to 18!

Penn State has not allowed a first half touchdown this season, and only five total touchdowns on the year. This was the 40th shut-out of Paterno’s coaching career.

The Gophers got within sniffing distance of the goal line—their only trip into the redzone the entire day—early in the fourth quarter. With a first and goal from the eight, the Gophers got the ball to the one before turning the ball over on downs after a spectacular goal line defensive stand. Bowman and Wallace strung the play out and wrapped up Whaley short of paydirt. The Lion offense did not score on the ensuing drive, but moved the ball out of the shadow of the endzone and finished it off with a punt that trickled into the Gopher endzone for a touchback. Mission accomplished and shutout intact.


A lot of talk this previous week was about the Minnesota linebackers (a non-factor for the most part) and All-American receiver Eric Decker (an even bigger non-factor with a single catch for 42 yards.) I’d be cautious about calling this a statement game, but the Lions are definitely saying something. Slowly but surely, this group is improving each week. There is still room for improvement, especially on special teams, but I think things are starting to come together for the offensive line and the running game.

On a day when upsets or near upsets seemed like a dime a dozen, Penn State did just what you would expect a ranked team to do. They dominated the game despite adverse weather conditions. It’s too bad we played !*w@ so early in the season, because I don’t think this team has peaked yet. But there is a lot of football left to played—a lot of winnable games—but a field of potential landmines still awaits between today and the January bowl season.

BY THE NUMBERS:

From GoPSUsports.com:
Team Totals MINN PSU
FIRST DOWNS 7 21
Rushing 2 6
Passing 4 14
Penalty 1 1
NET YARDS RUSHING 37 177
Rushing Attempts 18 43
Average Per Rush 2.1 4.1
Rushing Touchdowns 0 1
Yards Gained Rushing 53 193
Yards Lost Rushing 16 16
NET YARDS PASSING 101 287
Completions-Attempts-Int 10-22-1 21-32-0
Average Per Attempt 4.6 9.0
Average Per Completion 10.1 13.7
Passing Touchdowns 0 1
TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS 138 464
Total offense plays 40 75
Average Gain Per Play 3.5 6.2
Fumbles: Number-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties: Number-Yards 5-40 9-76
PUNTS-YARDS 6-299 3-90
Average Yards Per Punt 49.8 30.0
Net Yards Per Punt 44.8 23.3
Inside 20 2 2
50+ Yards 5 0
Touchbacks 1 1
Fair catch 2 0
KICKOFFS-YARDS 1-67 5-324
Average Yards Per Kickoff 67.0 64.8
Net Yards Per Kickoff 48.0 47.8
Touchbacks 0 2
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD 0-0-0 1-10-0
Average Per Return 0.0 10.0
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD 3-45-0 1-19-0
Average Per Return 15.0 19.0
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD 0-0-0 1-0-0
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD 0-0-0 0-0-0
Miscellaneous Yards 0 0
Possession Time 18:01 41:59
1st Quarter 6:36 8:24
2nd Quarter 3:23 11:37
3rd Quarter 3:25 11:35
4th Quarter 4:37 10:23
Third-Down Conversions 3 of 11 11 of 17
Fourth-Down Conversions 0 of 1 0 of 0
Red-Zone Scores-Chances 0-1 3-3
Sacks By: Number-Yards 0-0 1-11
PAT Kicks 0-0 2-2
Field Goals 0-0 2-3



INTANGIBLES:

Penn State won the toss and deferred.

All-American defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd did not attend due to “miscommunication.” Virginia OT Kolb was among the uncommitted recruits in attendance.

Students were throwing snowballs. Japan attacks Pearl Harbor. Man invents fire.

Joe Paterno is now at 389 career victories, FIVE ahead of Bobby Bowden, appeal of 14 other Bowden wins notwithstanding.

THE BIG (TEN) PICTURE:

!*w@ is the only undefeated team in the Big Ten, overall and in conference play. They took down the Badgers in Madison after trailing at halftime, a game eerily similar to their victory at Beaver Stadium. The final score was 20-10, almost identical to the 21-10 decision that opened conference play. The Hawks travel to East Lansing next week.

But the BIG story of the week was the upset in West Lafayette, where the unlikely Spoilermakers took out Ohio State 26-18. Cryor threw two picks and fumbled twice, as the Buckeye offense sputtered miserably. The Boilers are 2-5 but that includes a two point loss to a good Oregon team and a 3 point come from ahead loss to the Irish. The Buckeyes will try to rebound against the Gophers next week.

THEM rolled over Appalachian Delaware State 63-6. They will host us, hopefully not roast us or toast us, next week.

Michigan State overcame a slow start to upend the Wildcats 24-14. Luckily for Northwestern, they can bounce back against the Hoosiers next week.

The Hoosiers, though, managed to win 27-14 against Illinois, the only team without a conference victory. The Illini will take on the Spoilermakers next week.

Wisconsin has a bye next week.

SHEDDING TEARS:

1. Va Tech—Hokies are chokies, losing to Ga Tech
2. The Buckeyes—thanks for hurting our schedule strength!
3. Nebraska—shucked by Texas Tech 31-10
4. Kansas—first loss to Colorado. Thanks for playing.
5. Oklahoma and Sam Bradford—so close . . .
6. The Irish—having suffered through the streak against THEM—I feel your pain. I still enjoy your pain. But I feel it.
7. South Florida-“bull”ied by Cincy

LOOKING AHEAD:

Penn State heads west to Ann Arbor. How good is THEM? Who knows? 4CA has looked awesome at times, and beatable at others. The team looked good against the Irish, but then lost to Michigan State in OT. They almost beat the Hawkeyes, hanging in to the bitter end.

Thus far:

Western Michigan W 31-7
Notre Dame W 38-34
Eastern Michigan W 45-17
Indiana W 36-33
Michigan State L 20-26
!*w@ L 28-30

The scary part of this game is the location. If this were at Beaver Stadium, I’d think our chances were really good. But in Ann Arbor, strange and unfair things seem to happen. I don’t think we’ll need to worry about Joe clamping the playbook shut like he did in 2007 with Morelli at the helm. But you never can be sure with Joe, stubborn as he can be. THEM has the 8th ranked rushing attack in the nation, but they will face our 6th ranked rushing defense. I expect this to be a real nail biter, but I am wondering how 4CA will look against our defense.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

End of an Era

Today marks the end of an era for me. It is the first time since 1993, when I was a resident, that I will miss a home football game at Beaver Stadium.

I always thought the only thing that would keep me from a game was my own funeral. Although this might upset some people, I am still alive.

It is not the weather that beat me.

Unfortunately, it is Penn State.

I woke up this morning fully expecting to head out early to make sure I got a space that I had already paid for. There was no need to pack tailgating stuff--we wouldn't be allowed to put up a tent or have any fun anyway. Just sit in the car for an extra few hours.

But I still wouldn't get "my spot." And my dad has knee arthroscopies, and while he is still able to play golf in his 70's, sitting in the cold is not helpful. My mom just had foot surgery yesterday, and was willing to go IF I could get a spot--normally I am seven rows from the stadium and with the escalator at gate B, getting to my seats is easier for her. But who knows where the parking nazis would force me today.

And the more I thought about it, the angrier I got. I considered taking my gun along, but that would only ensure that I was behind bars before the day was over. I didn't need some snot nosed, pimple faced kid trying to earn a few bucks for his pizza and beer addiction tell me where to park my car. Worse yet, I didn't need an officer of the law whose salary I pay with my tax dollars telling me where I can or cannot park, especially after sending over $8,000 to Penn State this year alone.

It would be like the police knocking on my door and throwing me out of my house because there are homeless people that need shelter. I don't deny they need shelter, but the answer is not to take my shelter away from me. I'm sorry Kate if people can't afford reserved parking spaces. So those that do should suffer? None of us can be blamed for the weather, but this asinine decision to stab the donors in the back is simply unconscionable.

I would not have enjoyed today, and so I will watch the game on DVR, as my son has a hockey game at 3:30 that I can now actually attend.

Unfortunately this decision brings me no peace. I am still disheartened by my streak ending. While it is not be like losing a good friend to cancer, it is still a loss and for a heinous, random twist of fate.

I hope the University official that made this decision is fired.

Friday, October 16, 2009

MinnyShack



Don't miss Joe Spackler in Minnyshack . . .

"The crowd is standing on its feet here at Beaver Stadium. The normally reserved Nittany Lion crowd, going wild, for this young Daryll Clark..who's come outta nowwhere."

"My foe, my enemy, is an animal. And in order to conquer him, I have to think like an animal and, whenever possible, to look like one. I've got to get inside this dude's pelt and crawl around for a few days."

"License to kill gophers by the Trustees of the Penn State University. Man free to kill gophers at will. To kill, you must know your enemy, and in this case my enemy is a varmint. And a varmint will never quit, ever. They're like the Vietcong. Varmintcong."

Thanks to Lion4Life76 for his Joe as Carl Spackler sig pic at the top!

Obama Parking Plan

Do you donate enough money to Penn State to have reserved parking?




In most cases, reserved means that the spot will be kept for you.


But according to an email advisory from Penn State, because of weather conditions, there will be change. If you ask me, I've had quite enough CHANGE to last a lifetime, and you can keep the change if it's all the same.

Between 2 and 8 inches of additional wet, heavy snow has been forecast for University Park overnight tonight (Oct. 16) and before gametime Saturday. Penn State is asking football patrons coming to the Homecoming game vs. Minnesota at Beaver Stadium to be patient and understanding, as the hazardous conditions in the area have taken roughly 20,000 parking spaces offline for the game.

Football fans are being urged to carpool, and those who can walk to the stadium – particularly students – should do so. University officials are working to identify alternative parking areas. All grass lots will be closed. Those bringing RVs to the game may be redirected to other locations for parking.

The following procedures will be in place in paved and gravel lots:
-- Pink numbered, reserved lots, preferred lots (orange, blue and black) and all general yellow parking will be redirected to space-available lots either on campus, or
in designated lots in the community.
-- Parking in numbered, reserved lots (green, red and purple) will be on a first-come, first-served basis for permit-holders in those lots. Parking will be restricted to one space per vehicle until 11 a.m. or until the lots are filled. If the lots are not filled by 11 a.m., they will be opened to the general public, with the restriction of one space per vehicle remaining in place.


Obama has taken over parking at Penn State! We'll just take spaces from those that have them and give them to those that chose or couldn't afford them in the first place. Ain't that special?


11 AM???!!! I wasn't even planning on leaving Altoona until after noon. Now I'm, going to have rearrange my schedule just to keep my spot, and the first-come first served means I'll probably get stuck wherever the hell they feel like forcing me to park.


It's weather people. Not a terrorist attack or state of emergency. Why in the bloody hell would you take spots away from those that paid (a lot) for them and give them away forcing the one that had spot to now have to find spots. Does that make sense to you? I mean, I understand there is a problem, but is taking spots away from other people helping the siutuation. That would be like taking healthcare away from those that already have it to provide for . . oh, nevermind.


Granted, there may be some spots open from people that don't come, but can't they wait until 1:30 or 2:00 to raffle off the good spots? I really don't feel like freezing my butt off any earlier than I have to. That's one of the reasons I willingly PAID for the reserved spot in the first place.


The email had a phone number to call 1-800-NITTANY. I called it while I was having my stroke, but after going through the menu and pressing one, I was informed that no one was there to take my call and I should try calling back later. That was helpful. And another perfectly good blood vessel popped for nothing.


In all my years of attending games, I don't remember a fiasco like this--and I have sat through some pretty miserable weather. Nothing ever happened like this when Kay Kustenbauter ran the NLC. Or before Obama.


A fan on the BWI messageboard wrote:
they better be refunding some of our money for the g*&^$#!@ed reserved parking spot. This is nonsense.

Yeah, that will happen.

And some comments from Black Shoe Diaries:

DAMN YOU, CURLEY!!! It’s like the German army stalling outside Moscow in a river of mud.

Have fun with that guys. Thankfully, I’ll be watching this bitch in 62 inches of HD.

there is no way this will result in anthing but a gigantic cluster f&*K

I feel bad for the people who spend tons of cash for those paved lot spots and are getting a homecoming weekend with no tailgating.

this is fantastic. i remember we still had people park in the lots for Hurricane Ivan. how the heck is this any different?

Oh MY! I kinda wish I was going out there just to watch the clusterpryor happen!

Pfft. Whatever. I’d like to see them come by and tell me that I can’t tailgate at my numbered, reserved spot. I can see them telling the motorhomes they can only have two spaces, not four, but just try and stop me from drinking and heating up some chili. THEY WILL NEED TO PRY THE CHILI AND YUENGLING FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS BEFORE I NOT TAILGATE BEFORE A HOME FOOTBALL GAME.

I love your attitude, people will be killed if I show up and my numbered reserved spot is taken by some random [I guess you can insert whatever here?]

with the weather i don’t imagine the permit holders will get there by 11am. i’d be happy if i were the general public. good parking…not that you can tailgate. but still…

I couldn’t believe this when I read the press release from PSU. They have found yet another way to f%#$ up football weekends. Who in the world is going to show up by 11:00 for a game that starts 4.5 hours later when the best you can do is sit on your cooler in the snow/rain and attempt to look like you’re having a good time. One of the exact reasons I give thousands of dollars to the university every year is exactly for the purpose that I can have a spot relatively close to the stadium after driving for hours to come to the games.

This is going to have a huge impact on fundraising for the NLC. They have just royally pissed off their major contributors all in one shot.Since RV spots are made up of 4 regular parking spots, I’m more than happy to drive a car and give up 3 of those spots to others that lost a space to park in the grass. It’s absolutely nuts to face us with the proposition of having no where to park at all.

I’ve been donating to the NLC for almost 20 years. For the first time ever, I’m considering stopping my contribution. The dark years didn’t do it because I always had confidence that better years were ahead. I can buy season tickets off of ebay, stubhub, etc. for a premium that is less than the contribution it takes to get one of these parking spots. Once you lose the gaurantee of being able to have a reserved spot, what is the value of continuing to contribute to the NLC? Oh right, it must be the media guide they send every year ($20 value yours for absolutely no additional cost!).

I called the NLC and of course they said that they have no control over the situation and that they had no input on the decision. They couldn’t offer any advice except to try to arrive by 11:00 to be assured that a spot would be available. [At least you talked to somebody!]

I’ve also spoken to a few fellow alumni that are just as PO’d and considering whether to make a contribution next year. Way to go PSU.



But who are you gonna call? (Not 1-800-NITTANY--they're too busy giving YOUR spot away!)