Friday, December 31, 2010

Better Later Than Gator

I just realized that we have a bowl game tomorrow.  OK, I didn't JUST realize it.  I knew it was coming up.  But with holiday parties (I'm the entertainment for our office party--I also do Bar Mitzvahs and Birthdays), meeting with the accountant to figure out how much money I didn't make this year, Christmas, Christmas cards, running a football pool, watching NASCAR bowl games and drinking beer, I just didn't realize the game was coming up so soon.  I must also admit I've been distracted by all the Paterno rumors, which I do plan to blog about after the game is over so as not to distract myself any further.

But despite everything going on, the game is tomorrow.  PSU V. UF.  Paterno V. Meyer.  North V. South.  Big Ten V. SEC.  Tastes great V. Less Filling.

So how do we match up with these Gators?

Both teams are 7-5.  Like PSU, the Gators did not beat a ranked team on their schedule (PSU did beat THEM when they were ranked 25th in one poll, but who's counting?)

Here's how Florida fared:

Miami(OH)W 34-12
South FloridaW 38-14
TennesseeW 31-17
KentuckyW 48-14
AlabamaL 31-6
LSUL 33-29
Miss StateL 10-7
GeorgiaW 34-31 OT
VanderbiltW 55-14
South CarolinaL 36-14
App. StateW 48-10
F$UL 31-7

In the only common opponent, at Alabama, neither PSU nor Florida fared well.

In terms of NCAA rankings, here are how the two teams compare:

NCAA Stats Comparison
Category:Penn St.Florida
Passing Offense5285
Total Offense6879
Scoring Offense8048
Rushing Defense7626
Turnovers Gained10434
Passes Had Intercepted5547
Pass Defense2313
Net Punting241
Punt Returns5253
Kickoff Returns554
Turnover Margin6262
Fumbles Recovered9586
Passes Intercepted8311
Fumbles Lost3107
Turnovers Lost1891
Passing Efficiency6685
Pass Efficiency Defense7923
Total Defense459
Scoring Defense4031
Fewest Penalties Per Game3111
Fewest Yards Penalized Per Game 394
Punt Return Yardage Defense4371
Kickoff Return Yardage Defense4234
Offense Third-down Efficiency4273
Offense Fourth-down Efficiency7563
Defense Third-down Efficiency854
Defense Fourth-down Efficiency1486
Tackles for Loss8741
Offense Tackles for Loss674
Pass Sacks10176
Pass Sacks Allowed1260
Time of Possession4490
First Downs6668
First Downs Allowed3526
Red Zone Efficiency76116
Red Zone Efficiency - Defense11853
Average NCAA Rank:52.1657.54
Weighted Avg. Rank:57.542.17

Penn State has a slight edge in average overall ranking, but the weighted rank, which gives more weight to important categories like Total Offense and Defense, and less emphasis to categories like total penalties, we see that Florida has the better team on paper.

Neither offense is very good, but PSU has a slight edge, especially in scoring.  Uncharacteristically, the PSU defense is struggling this year and the numbers reflect that.  Florida has the edge here and defense is usually the more important factor in winning these games.

But what about the intangibles?

Will the Florida players be motivated to send Urban off with a win?  Or will the uncertainty of their future and the hoopla surrounding the resignation be a distraction?

For Penn State, are the rumors true?  Will Paterno step down afterward?  (I don't think so.)  Are the rumors a distraction, or will they fire up the team the way it seems to have fired up both Joe AND Sue Paterno?

Paterno has done well in bowl games over his career.  Generally if you give Joe enough time, he will have his team prepared.  There have been exceptions to this rule, including the last bowl game against Florida, although PSU played without two of its star players in that match-up.

Penn State is 0-2 all-time versus Florida.

The line favors Florida by 7.5 points.

I think Paterno finds a way to put things together, hopefully using the bowl game as a springboard to a great season next year.  I pick PSU in a close one--somewhere around 20-17.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Anthony "Zettles" on State

According to many sites, including The Detroit, Anthony Zettel has chosen Penn State over THEM, MSU, and Iowa.
Standout defensive end Anthony Zettel, who played at Ogemaw Heights High in West Branch, Mich., will play college football at Penn State, according to several recruiting Web sites.

Zettel, the nation's No. 65 prospect according to, made the announcement Tuesday night. He also was ranked No. 3 in the state by the Web site.

Zettel had 113 tackles, including seven sacks, and he forced four fumbles during his senior season.
BSD has a nice write up complete with videon highlights of Zettel.

Welcome to Penn State, Anthony!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Buckeyes Busted

I am quite surprised by the recent NCAA punishment of five Buckeye players for, among other things, selling merchandise to raise cash.  Doesn't Ohio State pay these players enough already?

From ESPN:
Pryor and four teammates were suspended Thursday by the NCAA for the first five games of next season for selling championship rings, jerseys and awards. They also received improper benefits -- from up to two years ago -- from the tattoo parlor and its owner.

Pryor must repay $2,500 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring, a 2009 Fiesta Bowl sportsmanship award and his 2008 Gold Pants.
Herron must repay $1,150 for selling his football jersey, pants and shoes for $1,000 and receiving discounted services worth $150.
Posey must repay $1,250 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring for $1,200 and receiving discounted services worth $50.
Adams must repay $1,000 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring. Thomas must repay $1,505 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring for $1,000, his 2008 Gold Pants for $350 and receiving discounted services worth $155.
A sixth player, freshman linebacker Jordan Whiting, must sit out the first game of the 2011 season and pay $150 to a charity.

Smith said the punishment should be mitigated because of how the players used the money they received.

Pryor's high school coach, Ray Reitz, told ESPN's Joe Schad that Pryor sold items because "he wanted to help his mother."

Oh, it's for his mother.  Just like Cam's money was for his father's church.  That makes it all right.  Or not.
Smith was asked how getting money for their families jibed with getting free or cut-rate tattoos.

"The discount on tattoos is not as big as the other pieces," he said. "I'm not trying to make those two the same. But the cash was relative to family needs."
Nice.  Real nice.  I feel dirty just reading about it.
The NCAA did not suspend the players for Jan. 4 Sugar Bowl against the Razorbacks because they "did not receive adequate rules education during the time period the violations occurred."

So if any of these guys decide to go to the NFL, they basically won't have any on-field penalty.  Nice.  real nice.  I guess they won't suspend them from the bowl game because stupidity is a valid defense.  That, and the Buckeyes really need them to be competitve.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Dynasty Lives On

The Penn State Women's Volleyball team won their FOURTH consecutive NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP tonight, defeating Cal 3-0 in straight sets.

Congratulations women!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New Logo Unveiled

From the conference that can't count--the same one that gives you the Land Grant Trophy-- comes the new Big Ten 10 16 Logo!  Read all about it here.

Thanks to Tiffany Brewster, a sixth grader at State College Elementary for her winning submission.

Seriously?  How much did they pay for that design?

At least the old logo paid homage to the fact that there were 11 teams, by ingeniously hiding the 11 in the background.  This one--well there's nothing hiding there except maybe a 16.  Is that a clue about the future?

EDSBS has a detailed analysis of the new logo.  "Those are clearly boobs."

And what do you think about the conference divisions--the Legends and the Leaders.  They sound like WNBA or lame soccer team names.

At least they named the championship trophy after Paterno--the Stagg-Paterno Trophy.  Ted Kwalick is also named on the tight end trophy, and Courtney Brown for Defensive Lineman of the Year.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Urban Renewal--NOT!

Trying to keep up with Pitt and Wannstedt, Urban Meyer has AGAIN announced his retirement from college football, nearly a year from his last retirement.

Florida coach Urban Meyer says he is leaving one of the premier jobs in college football for the second time to spend more time with his family.

Meyer's announcement caught players, fans and the rest of college football by surprise.

Meyer called assistant coaches, many of whom were on the road recruiting, earlier this week to relay the news. Quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler told the AP he was "stunned" and that no one saw this coming.

Meyer will coach his last game for Florida in the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl against Penn State in Tampa.

[This] season ended with an embarrassing 31-7 victory to Florida State, Meyer's first loss to the rival Seminoles.
After that game, Meyer vowed to fix the Gators' problems.
So does that mean the problem is Meyer himself, since he promised to fix the problems . . . or can you just not trust him?  You decide!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Wannstedt Fired

According to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and ESPN, Pitt football coach Dave Wannstedt has resigned.

Per the Post Gazette:
Pitt football coach Dave Wannstedt resigned under pressure today, it was announced at an emotional press conference at the team's UPMC Southside facility.

According to multiple sources, it was not Wannstedt's decision to resign and he was forced out by the university administration.

An emotional Wannstedt, who will remain as the special assistant to athletic director Steve Pederson, addressed the media and had a written statement.

ESPN adds:
Wannstedt's tenure was marked by upset losses to teams such as Ohio University and Bowling Green and a failure to play in a BCS bowl -- something the Panthers did under lame-duck coach Walt Harris before Wannstedt took over in 2005. Wannstedt went 42-31 in six seasons, including a 26-12 mark from 2008-10 that is Pitt's best for a three-season stretch since 1981-83.

Pitt won only one bowl game under Wannstedt, beating North Carolina 19-17 in the Meineke Car Care Bowl last season.

Pederson, who returned to Pitt in 2007 after first serving in the job from 1996-2002, also was concerned about numerous no-shows at Heinz Field. The announced attendance often was far larger than the actual attendance, and the Panthers had few sellouts under Wannstedt. Pitt was 4-2 at home this season, with blowout losses to West Virginia and Miami (31-3).

This will be Pederson's first national coaching search since his failed hiring of Bill Callahan at Nebraska in 2004, a move that followed the surprise firing of Frank Solich following a 9-3 season.

Personally, I'm going to miss Wanny, although I have no idea what a special assistant to Pederson means.  Does that mean he's in charge of donuts and coffee?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

G'Day Mate!

Penn State is heading to the Outback Bowl to face the Florida Gators.  Bon Appetit!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Buying A Tiger

From cwashpt on YouTube:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Late Wrap Up

The Land Grant Trophy is a piece of hardware that seemingly penalizes the winner, who has to look at its boxy visage like an item of furniture that destroys the feng shui of a room. It almost makes losing to Michigan State a good thing, not having that contraption on campus any longer.

But that is about the only good thing I can find to say about this game.

Due to a scheduling snafu, I was actually vacationing in Orlando at Universal Studios, while Penn State played this game. I found out just prior to boarding the Simpson’s ride that Penn State lost.

As such, it was not until Wednesday that I was able to review the game.

So what happened? On the first play of the game, Baker rushed right up the middle for 16 yards. And just when it looked like Penn State was going to make a defensive stand and force a third and long, Devon Still got tagged for a blow to the helmet/head on the QB. He did it. He got flagged. But PSU uncharacteristically got flagged 8 times for 67 yards in this game. Personally, I think the flags in college and the fines in the NFL are getting out of hand. Are we playing flag football or what? But that is a rant for another day.

Fast forward. Fast forward. Score. The Spartans made it look easy. If I didn’t already know the outcome, I’d be worried we were going to lose by a lot.

Silas Redd bobbled the kickoff and ended up short of the 20. No help there.

McGloin promptly hits Brackett in the flat for a big gain to the 40. Royster folls with a nine yard run. We’re looking good. Toss sweep gets a first down and more. A 25-yard strike to Devon Smith gets the ball to the 16. Red dances to the 10. If I didn’t know the outcome already, I’d say we look like we could win this game.

But then a delay of game and a well defended screen later left PSU in long yardage. McGloin nearly got intercepted and Penn State had to settled for the field goal.

Michigan State starts with good field position at the 36. But the drive would yield nothing thanks to the tight end dropping a wide open pass from Cousins. Punt and touchback sets State up at the 20.

Penn State punts. Huh? What? I must have fallen asleep. Rewind. False start. Rewind. False start. Penn State overcame the first, but not the second. But McGloin was close to making the connection to Moye that could have changed this game around. Close, but no Land Grant Trophy. As it was, Penn State punted; touchback.

At this point, Penn State is 4 points down to the 10th ranked team in the country. I’m not pleased with the penalties, but we seem to be able to move the ball well. We got a break from the Spartan tight end dropping what could have been a big play, but all in all, we’re in this thing.

Would Fera have been able to pin the Spartans deep? Who knows?

Sparty would drive the ball 80 on eight plays highlighted by a double reverse that put them up 14-3. (Didn’t that look like holding against Stephen Morris? I reviewed it even though it isn’t reviewable!) Blown coverage on the TD pass. I just shake my head.

Missed opportunities continued as Bracket let one go off his hands that would have resulted in a first down and a big gain. With the drop, McGloin scrambled on the next blitz, made the pass, but it was well covered and PSU had to kick.

More mistakes—running into the kicker. Didn’t cost us points or field position, but it killed any chance at building momentum, took time off the clock forcing the hurry up offense and wears down our defense. But down 14-3, the game was still winnable.

Taking the opening half possession, McGloin connected with Brown for 26 yards and Penn State appeared on the move. But then the short yardage, tight sphincter bug bit Penn State yet again, unable to convert a second and three into a drive sustaining first down. In one sense, I’m pleased we just didn’t try to shove it up the middle two straight plays. And while the toss play may not have been the best choice in that instance, it had worked earlier, but Michigan State defended it well.

The defense actually comes up with a three and out stop, thanks in part to an overthrow on an open receiver by Cousins, but Penn State cannot capitalize and goes three and out on the next possession.

When I initially read about this game, I was disappointed with the defense. OK—I still am. But the third quarter of this game was a study in offensive frustration that saw Penn State yield great field position on successive ineffective drives until the Spartans, now with great field position could capitalize where Penn State could not. Never mind that McGloin had consecutive 300+ yard passing games. The bottom line was the offense did nothing to help the Penn State D and eventually, the better team took control.

Apparently Penn State plays better in a deep hole, because the Lions came back with a quick, 6 play, 74 yard drive to make the score 21-10 early in the fourth quarter. BUT . . . I did not have the same feeling at this time like I had at halftime of the Northwestern game. Time was running short and Penn State’s D needed to rise to the challenge.

It could not. MSU answered with a 9 play 68 yard drive that featured four straight runs by Baker to set up a short TD pass from Cousins.

But the team did not stop fighting, although the Spartans did their best to keep Penn State in this game. A fumble by Baker allowed Penn State to pull within a touchdown, but not without drama. MSU would intercept McGloin in the end zone, but instead of taking the touchback, Robinson ran the ball out just to have it snatched away by Moye, who made an entire highlight reel out of the final two minutes of this game. Moye finally caught the touchdown pass, but special teams were unable to come up with the on-sides kick.
Game over.

But the season is not over as the Lions have a chance at either a Gator Bowl or an Outback Bowl bid and a New Year’s Day bowl for a 7-5 team is more than you could hope for.

Yet, at 7-5 the season seems less than spectacular. No marquee victories, but a special win over northwestern for #400. Three losses to BCS teams (OSU, MSU and Bama) but two losses to teams with less than stellar records. I like how our guys fought until the very end, but in the final analysis, what fight we had left was due to mistakes by our opponent (two fumbles.) So has this season gone. At times, we look unbeatable. At times, you wonder how we won any games at all.

The defensive front has been a problem most of the season, although injuries have plagued our defense. We just don’t seem to have the killer instinct. Moye can rip the ball away—why can’t our defense? The linebacker corps is improving, but I still don’t see that Connor/Posluszny/Bowman type player yet.

Is the future bright? We certainly have a lot of youth—who now have experience. We have a bowl game to use as a springboard to a great season next year. Can Paterno pull off one more magical season, or will we be faced with frustration and despair yet again?

All I know for sure is this: every time I have counted Paterno out, he has delivered, whether it be miraculous seasons on the field or recovery from injuries/surgery.

That said, I look forward to seeing what rises from the ashes of this season next year.


Damned statistics! Penn State out-gained the Spartans 396-331. But Sparty controlled time of possession by nearly nine minutes and went 3-3 on red zone opportunities. PSU hurt themselves with numerous penalties.

MSU rushed for 163 yards, which goes back to the defensive line I mentioned above.


Penn State won the toss and deferred.

It is the first time since 1965 that MSU won at Beaver Stadium.

Attendance was 102,649, but from people who were there, the crowd didn’t appear that big and didn’t sound that loud on TV. Sorry guys. I call ‘em like I hear ‘em.


Wisconsin appears to have won the Rose Bowl by virtue of being the highest ranked in the BCS at #5. Ohio State shares the Big Ten title for the tenth decade in a row. Always a bridesmaid . . . MSU shares the title with one loss to Iowa. Some things cannot be explained.


1. Boise State—seriously, I was hoping they could bust the BCS.
2. LSU—the glass slipper finally shattered.
3. Alabama—Newtonian physics sucks
4. Iowa—lost to, hee, hee, um, Minnesota. Hee. Hee. Sorry, that is too funny.


Bowl game to be announced.