Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mullin' Over Mullen

One of the potential candidates for the Penn State coaching position is Dan Mullen of Mississippi State.

A news source WAPT is reporting:
Sources close to Mississippi State University's program have said that football coach Dan Mullen is close to signing a deal to replace Joe Paterno at Penn State.
Here is a YouTube Video of Mullen:
What are your thoughts, Nittany Nation?

Here is a man who has composed a most unimpressive record of 20-17 in three seasons at Mississippi State.  The only jewel I can see is the pounding of the wolverines in the Gator Bowl, 52-14. 

This season, his team is 6-6 with losses to Auburn, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Arkansas.  The Bulldogs don't have a victory over a ranked team.  In his best season, 9-4 in 2010, the team lost to the usual suspects:  Auburn, LSU, Alabama and Arkansas, but did beat Florida 10-7 and then spanked the wolverines silly in the bowl game.  The win over Florida, and a win over Ole Miss ranked 25th in 2009 are the only wins over a ranked team in that period.  Miss State's best conference finish was fourth in a division with six teams.

Am I missing something here?

Of course, you probably could say the same thing about Penn State over the past three seasons, albeit we did tie for first in our division this year.  But beating ranked teams is not something that Penn State seems to do anymore.  At best, we appear to be aspiring to the status quo.

Hypocritical Media

Should we be surprised that the media is hypocritical?  Do as we say. . . not as we do?



Tom In Paine talks about this in his blog:
Two major events have occurred since the firing of Joe Paterno which prove that the news media are not only incompetent and dishonest but hypocritical beyond anything anyone would have thought possible.
The first revelation concerns the molestation charges against Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine.One of Fine's accusers secretly tape recorded a phone conversation he had with Fine's wife in 2002 in which the sexual contact with Fine was discussed and where Fine's wife admitted she knew everything her husband had been doing. Fine's accuser says he took the tape to the Syracuse Post Standard in 2002 along with his allegations against Fine and played the audio tape for them. The newspaper declined to report the allegations saying that, even with the tape they wanted more corroborating evidence before they would report it. In other words the Syracuse Post Standard gave more of the benefit of the doubt to an accused child molester than the news media in general gave to Joe Paterno, a man with a polished solid gold reputation for 60 years. And there has been no outcry by any of the sanctimonious self-serving members of the media who railed against Joe Paterno focused on the Post Standard for "having knowledge of" sexual abuse and not reporting it.
It gets a lot worse. It has also been revealed that the victim took the same audio tape to ESPN more than ten years ago with his allegations against Fine and played the tape for them, No one at ESPN did a thing. For ten years. They didnt talk to their own lawyers.They didnt refer it to any child protective agency. They didnt refer it to any law enforcement agency. They did nothing.
This is the same ESPN whose commentators called for Joe Paterno's firing immediately for, in their factually challenged hypocritical world, "not going to the authorities". The same ESPN whose commentators said Joe Paterno going to the administrative head of campus police the next day with McQueary's non-specific report wasn't enough. The same ESPN who accused Joe Paterno without a shred of proof, of being aware of child sexual abuse and "not doing enough". The same ESPN that had an audio tape confirming from the mouth of the abuser's own wife, the sexual abuse of a ball boy at Syracuse university. And did nothing.
And are the same sanctimonious self-righteous group of journalists insisting that anyone at ESPN who had been aware of those tapes for the last ten years and who is still with ESPN be fired? No. Of course not.
 
Unfortunately the second set of revelations makes it even worse for the media.
 
According to the mother, in a piece that can be read here, the principal of the high school her son attended, Karen Probst, was present in 2002 when her son openly accused Sandusky of molesting him and not only did the the school principle do nothing, according to the mother the principle actually tried to talk her and her son out of reporting it.
Additionally, according to the mother, Steve Turchetta, the boy's high school coach in 2002, repeatedly allowed Sandusky to come to the school and take the boy out of school not only without parental consent but without even any parental notification. And Turchetta continued to allow Sandusky to take the boy out of school even after the mother found out and protested.

It was Joe Paterno's picture that sold newspapers and got web hits, not Karen Probst's. It was going after Paterno that made the very small and sanctimonious feel very big.
The irony is, that in the end, Joe Paterno did more and with less knowledge, and did it faster than anyone connected to either the Sandusky allegations or the Bernie Fine allegations, all of whom had more knowledge that he did.

So what will ESPN do now? Will they accuse themselves of "not doing enough"? Will they accuse themselves of allowing a sexual predator to remain free? Will there be any media condemnation by others of ESPN? Anyone hear any media condemnation? Anyone demanding people at ESPN be fired? Or will they all hide under their sheets?
I don't think I'll live long enough to see something like that happen.

And unfortunately for Joe, I don't think he'll live long enough to see his name restored.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Searching for an Answer

Fear not, beleaguered Penn State fans.  Help is on the way.  Penn State has organized a search party committee to find us a new head coach.

Yaaaaaaay!  Are you tingling like I am?

From the Penn State release:
Penn State President Rodney Erickson appointed Joyner to head the search committee, which is comprised of:

- Linda Caldwell, Penn State Faculty Athletics Representative;
- Charmelle Green, Penn State Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator;
- Ira Lubert, Chairman and co-founder, Independence Capital Partners and Lubert Adler Partners;
- John Nichols, Emeritus Professor, Penn State College of Communications and Chair, Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics;
- Russ Rose, Head Coach, Penn State Women's Volleyball Team

Joyner said the search committee will meet this week.
Let's analyze this line by line, just for $hits and giggles.

The committee is appointed by the cyborg Erickson--the stiff doing the commercials now for Penn State during the football games.  He's also president, so he's got that going for him.  Why are we still playing that?  Is it because all our other commericials are forever tainted with  JoePa or Spanier stink?  Could we pay LSU Freek to paste Erickson's head over top of Spanier and Tom Bradley over Joe in the old commercials???


Ok.  So then we have the list of party committee members, starting with Joyner at the top.  At least he comes with football experience, and is the ONLY committee member with any football experience.

Here is his bio:
Dr. David Joyner received his B.S. in Science from Penn State in 1972 and his M.D. from Penn State's College of Medicine in 1976. Following residencies in general and orthopedic surgery at The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and a brief stint in the World Football League, Dr. Joyner began a medical career with a sports medicine emphasis.
Dr. Joyner is a health care and business consultant as well as an orthopedic physician.
As a physician, I suppose I should be happy with a colleague in control, and a brief stint in the World Football League looks great on any resumé, I'm just not really sold that Dr. Joyner has found what makes him happy in life yet. 

Dr. Caldwell was appointed by the devil GRAHAM SPANIER.
Penn State President Graham Spanier has appointed Dr. Linda Caldwell, professor of recreation, park, and tourism management, to serve as Penn State's faculty athletics representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

A 1976 graduate of Penn State, Caldwell earned a master’s degree in recreation resources administration in 1982 from North Carolina State University. She earned a Ph. D. in recreation in 1986 from the University of Maryland.
She will bring a lot of recreational influence to this committee.

Charmelle Green was hired by Beelzebub Tim Curley, to "bring a broad combination of professional experience from Notre Dame."  And we all know how successful the Irish are at hiring coaches!
Most recently the head of the Office of Student-Athlete Welfare & Development and the sport administrator for women's swimming & diving, Green has spent the past six years in Notre Dame's athletic administration. During that time, she oversaw the student development program, with the mission of providing a balanced Notre Dame experience for student-athletes by focusing on five key areas: academic excellence, athletic success, career preparation, community involvement and personal development.
 
Prior to joining athletic administration at Notre Dame, Green was an assistant softball coach from 2001-05. During her tenure on the coaching staff, the Fighting Irish were selected for the NCAA Tournament four times and won four Big East Conference regular season championships.
 
An All-American softball player at the University of Utah, Green spent time in Salt Lake City after graduation working as a recreation program coordinator from 1995-98. Among her notable achievements was raising more than $700,000 in annual revenue. She was also an integral part of developing an advisory board for the development of an inner-city school for the arts.
Hopefully she can improve on that fund raising ability to put the down payment on a coach for Penn State.  Don't look too hard, but you won't see the word football in any of these other bios.
 
Ira Lubert sounds like he should have been a linebacker.  Lubert Trophy winner? 
Mr. Lubert has thirty years experience in the real estate investment sector. . . Mr. Lubert holds a B.S. in human development from Pennsylvania State University and currently serves on the board of directors for Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, The Franklin Institute, and PREIT (NYSE: PEI).
Mr. Lubert also serves on community boards, and is currently on the Board of Trustees of Pennsylvania State University.
I wonder how he got this gig?  What more could you want from someone trying to pick a football coach?  He probably drew the short straw, or he was absent from the last meeting whereupon they nominated him as punishment.
 
John Nichols completed all his education in Minnesota, and by virtue of that fact, is a football connoisseur.
John S. Nichols, a member of the Penn State faculty since 1977, is a professor of communications and a specialist in international communications, comparative media systems and telecommunications policy.
He is the co-author of "Clandestine Radio Broadcasting," selected as a Choice "Outstanding Academic Book," and a contributing author to 18 other books in the fields of international communications and foreign affairs, two of which also won Choice awards. Books to which he contributed include: "Telecommunications in Latin America" (Noam), "Nicaragua in Revolution" (Walker), "U.S.-Latin America Policymaking" (Dent), "International Communication" (Anokwa, Lin and Salwen) and "Communications in Latin America" (Cole).
He reportedly watched a football game one time, and has stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.  How is a background in telecommunications in Latin America going to help us find a head coach?  Is our next coach even going to speak English?

Russ Rose.  At last!  A head coach!  Not in football, but at least we're getting warm here.
Record-breaking. History-making. Unprecedented. All of those words can be used to describe the tenure of Penn State women's volleyball head coach Russ Rose's career in Happy Valley. After 32 seasons leading the Nittany Lions, his name has become synonymous with the pride and tradition of the program. At the helm of arguably the most successful program in the country, Russ Rose continues to pass along the confidence and character he has gained during his career.
In 32 seasons at Penn State, Rose has collected wins at a staggering pace. Never having posted fewer than 22 wins in a season, he enters the 2011 season as the NCAA leader in career winning percentage, having won more than 86 percent of the matches he has coached at Penn State. He is just the third active Division I head coach to reach 1,000 career wins, having reached the milestone with an NCAA National Semifinal victory against Hawaii in 2009. A victory which earned the Nittany Lions a spot in the NCAA Championship match.
I like Russ.  I'm glad he's on this committee, even if he doesn't have any direct football ties.  He is a successful head coach himself, and of all the people on this list, he probably has the biggest vested interest in the next head coach at Penn State.  Why?  Because the football program underwrites all the other sports (with the possible exception of men's basketball, and let's face it . . . this program wouldn't be playing in the Bryce Jordan Center if Beaver Stadium wasn't next door.)  In other words, his salary depends on football and the success of that program.  Volleyball probably wouldn't be the first to go if cuts have to be made, but how far down on the list will the pain go if football falls apart???

Joyner said the committee will meet this week--over coffee and donuts.  Maybe they'll meet at the Tavern and see which big time football coaches are hanging out there!

Maybe they should have organized a committee to select the committee to search for the next head coach? 

I guess I'm just pissed they didn't ask me!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Wrecking Ball

Lions have "CHEESE TOUCH!"
Monte Ball rolled all over Penn State en route to scoring 4 touchdowns and leading the Badgers to a 45-7 victory over the Nittany Lions in Madison.  Ball brought his season TD total to 34, five behind all-time leader Barry Sanders.  And while the offensive output against this Penn State defense was impressive, the key to the Badgers success was four turn-overs.  Three fumbles--two on punts--and an interception gave the Badger offense great field position and kept our defense on the field a long time.  The Badgers had the ball almost twice as long as Penn State and they ran 36 more offensive plays.

I don't need to tell you how big this game was.  Although the Lions can claim a "share" of the Leaders Division title, the claim is hollow and meaningless, as Wisconsin will head to Indy to face Michigan State again.  But don't worry, football fans.  Rematches are in this season as it appears we will have to endure another LSU-Bama bore fest for all the marbles.

I could dissect this game in detail, but you probably watched it and you don't want to hear about it again.  In a capsule, we played sloppy and unfocused.  We lost time of possession by the largest margin since probably 1994, when Penn State's average scoring drive was around two minutes on the season.  Throw in a few turnovers and we never stood a chance.

It was a whine and cheese party in Madison.  They brought the cheese, and I will provide the whine.  Yes.  I'm going to say it.  I am going to go there.  The officiating sucked.  IT DID NOT COST US THE GAME--Wisconsin was too good for that.  But that makes the piss-poor officiating all that more egregious.

The night before the game I was talking with a friend about this.  I knew that Penn State could not hope to blow-out Wisconsin.  Our only hope was a close game.  But in a close game, the referee can make the critical call that swings things.  I told my friend that the Big Ten had already decided that Penn State could not be in this title game.  They did not want that kind of publicity.  Who am I kidding?  They never wanted us in any title race.  But the point I made to him was that the referees would favor the Badgers at all costs.

Not even half way through the game--at 4:30 PM--he texted me saying I was right about the referees and he bows to my greatnesss.  There are times when I hate to be right.

Seriously.  Wisconsin did not need the help.  And the bad calls--like the blatant PI on Haplea that wasn't called and the unsportsmanlike penalty on McGloin for throwing the ball incomplete after the play was whistled dead for a penalty--only kept Penn State from ever having a chance to climb back into this game.  Again, the calls did not keep us from winning--we weren't good enough to win this game.  But they made an uncompetitive game even more lopsided.

And why was Russell Wilson still taking snaps in the fourth quarter?  You never want to see a player injured, but there would have been some poetic justice to watch Bielema's face if his star QB suffered an injury slipping on the wet field when he didn't need to be out there.

In the end, the game was disappointing beyond words.

And now the fate of this program is in the hands of the Board of Trustees and David Joyner (who was on the board!)  The list of potential candidates has shrunk due to circumstances beyond the football field.  Will they rush to fill the position, perhaps making a bad choice just to make a choice?  The precedent has been set:  they rushed to fire Paterno before they even investigated the situation.

My how the tables have turned.  At the beginning of this season, a large number of PSU fans were hoping Paterno would retire and that Penn State would direct a national search for a replacement instead of staying in house like Paterno wanted to do.  Now, just months later, we miss Paterno and would prefer to see Tom Bradley take the helm, rather than a second-rate coach with no proven ability.

Think about it.  Who do you want to coach this team?  Al Golden does not have the experience.  London at Virginia?  Did you see that Virginia team against Va Tech?  Meyer might be a good temporary choice, but it doesn't look likely that will happen.  He's either a liar and he is going to Ohio State, or he's not going there.  I've heard rumors of Tony Dungy, and of all the candidates I've heard so far, that might be the best.

Unfortunately, the buffoons on the BOT either don't realize how importnat this football program is to the University--or they don't care.  Either way, I fear a knee jerk move to erase Paterno completely from the picture and anyone ever associated with him.  They will act too quickly in the name of wanting to do something, to start the healing, and to move forward.  But making a bad decision is worse than making no decision in this case.

Say what you will about Paterno.  Maybe he knew more about Sandusky than we know.  Maybe he should have done more.  But he still built this program to what it is today--or at least to what it was before November 5th.  He graduated students.  He cared about the athletes under his supervision.  He spurned changing uniform designs to make a buck or show off.  He benched players for celebration.  He did football the way it was meant to be done, even if he didn't always win and didn't always make us armchair quarterbacks happy.

But in its time of need, Penn State has seen fit to expel the strongest moral compass in collegiate football--EVER--just when we need morality the most. 

We can only pray that his replacement is a fraction as noble and successful as Paterno, while still doing football the right way.

BY THE NUMBERS:

From the GoPSUsports site:

Team Totals PSU WIS
FIRST DOWNS 1227
Rushing 613
Passing 413
Penalty 21
NET YARDS RUSHING 114264
Rushing Attempts 2749
Average Per Rush 4.25.4
Rushing Touchdowns 04
Yards Gained Rushing 114279
Yards Lost Rushing 015
NET YARDS PASSING 119186
Completions-Attempts-Int 11-25-119-29-0
Average Per Attempt 4.86.4
Average Per Completion 10.89.8
Passing Touchdowns 12
TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS 233450
Total offense plays 5278
Average Gain Per Play 4.55.8
Fumbles: Number-Lost 4-31-1
Penalties: Number-Yards 7-584-35
PUNTS-YARDS 5-231 5-203
Average Yards Per Punt 46.240.6
Net Yards Per Punt 41.429.8
Inside 20 31
50+ Yards 21
Touchbacks 01
Fair catch 10
KICKOFFS-YARDS 2-127 8-457
Average Yards Per Kickoff 63.557.1
Net Yards Per Kickoff 39.541.1
Touchbacks 00
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD 4-34-0 2-24-0
Average Per Return 8.512
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD 6-128-0 2-48-0
Average Per Return 21.324
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD 0-0-0 1-0-0
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD 1-6-00-0-0
Miscellaneous Yards 00
Possession Time 21:4338:47
1st Quarter 3:3711:23
2nd Quarter 4:2910:31
3rd Quarter 7:447:16
4th Quarter 5:539:07
Third-Down Conversions 4 of 13 9 of 16
Fourth-Down Conversions 0 of 2 0 of 0
Red-Zone Scores-Chances 0-1 6-6
Touchdowns 0-1 5-6
Field goals 0-1 1-6
Sacks By: Number-Yards 2-120-0
PAT Kicks 1-16-6
Field Goals 0-0 1-1

Again, time of possession and turnovers absolutely killed us.  The interception by McGloin occurred right after the Badgers had kicked out of bounds and we had good field position at the forty.  Bad pass.  Killed us.  The fumble by Redd on the opening drive of the second half was a killer too.  No chance to get back in the game.

INTANGIBLES:

The only thing we won on Saturday was the coin toss.  We deferred.

A wet crowd of 79,708 jumped around Camp Randall Stadium.

Wisconsin leads the all-time series 6-9.

THE BIG (TEN) PICTURE:

Michigan State and Wisconsin will square off AGAIN for the Big Ten title.  Personally, I think the tie breaker system sucks.  Why send Wisconsin back to face the Spartans.  Been there done that.  Head to head competition ought to play a rule in who they face, not just in the division.  Wisconsin had their shot and blew it.  The next ranked team in the division should have shot.  Otherwise, why did they even play the first game in the first place?

Illinois has fired Ron Zook, after becoming the first school to win their first six games, and then lose the last six.

SHEDDING TEARS:

1.  For college football fans--who will be forced to watch a rematch between LSU and Alabama in all likelihood.  See BIG PICTURE above. Oh yeah, like Georgia might win.
2.  Arkansas--pounded by LSU
3.  Pitt--WVU wins the backyard brawl by one point
4.  Notre Dame--LUCK is with Stanford, not the Irish
5.  Clemson - lost to South Carolina; must face Va Tech in the ACC championship

LOOKING AHEAD:

I'm not going to speculate on the bowl here.  We'll preview that after the picks are made.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Microphone Man #2

Hey!  It worked last week. . .

All right, Penn State!

This half of the Internet yells BEAT. The other half yells WISCONSIN.

BEAT.

WISCONSIN.

BEAT.

WISCONSIN.

I can't hear you!


BEAT . . . . WISCONSIN!



BEAT . . . . WISCONSIN!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Celebrate Thanksgiving . . .

Baste a Hokie!



And my favorite Thanksgiving clip . . . again:

Statistically Speaking: Monte Ball Edition

What IS behind curtain number 3?


The NCAA rankings don't favor Penn State well this week in the match-up with Wisconsin.



NCAA Stats Comparison
Category:Penn St.WisconsinDelta
Rushing4510-35
Passing Offense9557-38
Total Offense8912-77
Scoring Offense1065-101
Rushing Defense344410
Turnovers Gained146147
Passes Had Intercepted362-34
Pass Defense63-3
Net Punting9270-22
Punt Returns805-75
Kickoff Returns269165
Turnover Margin237-16
Fumbles Recovered2710881
Passes Intercepted14195
Fumbles Lost701-69
Turnovers Lost492-47
Passing Efficiency1102-108
Pass Efficiency Defense4106
Total Defense86-2
Scoring Defense363
Fewest Penalties Per Game203212
Fewest Yards Penalized Per Game23252
Punt Return Yardage Defense6155-6
Kickoff Return Yardage Defense668014
Offense Third-down Efficiency923-89
Offense Fourth-down Efficiency1710-7
Defense Third-down Efficiency4139-2
Defense Fourth-down Efficiency356934
Tackles for Loss22297
Offense Tackles for Loss51611
Pass Sacks254217
Pass Sacks Allowed214726
Time of Possession4027-13
First Downs8322-61
First Downs Allowed124-8
Red Zone Efficiency863-83
Red Zone Efficiency - Defense11569-46
Average NCAA Rank:45.8129.54-16.27
Weighted Avg. Rank:51.2519.33-31.92

The Badgers are better than Penn State in almost every category.  Wisconsin's 29.54 average NCAA rank is good for FOURTH in the nation, behind LSU, Alabama and Stanford in that order.  In case you are wondering, PSU's 45.81 is ranked 20th in the Nation.

Even in the categories where PSU has an "edge", that edge is thin.  Kickoff returns and fumbles recovered is where it is at.  We need to recover fumbles and run back kicks to win this game.

Penn State is a 15 point underdog.

Well, throw out those stats.  Stifle Edith.  Come on Eileen.  Good Night Irene.

This game is going to come down to the team that wants it the most.  Penn State has overcome incredible tragedy and odds to even be in this position.  Yeah, they've won a lot of close ugly games against less than marquee opponents.  In fact, the two marquee opponents to date--Nebraska and Alabama--beat us.

But Ohio State beat the Badgers (in Ohio Stadium.)  And in case you forgot, Penn State beat those same Buckeyes (actually a better Buckeye team because they had Posey back) last Saturday in Ohio Stadium.  Michigan State needed a Hail Mary pass to beat the Badgers, but again, that was not in Madison.  The guys with a W on their helmet are averaging about 52 points per home game.

Make no mistake about it.  Penn State will be lucky if they are still in this game going into the fourth quarter.  But if they are still in the game--watch out.  This team is on a mission, and that mission is not to lose.

In my preseason assessment, I ranked this game as the second most difficult game to win behind the Alabama game.  It still is.  Here's what I said:
After I put this list together, I found out that Jon Budmayr, who was supposed to start for the Badgers at Quarterback, has been injured. NC State transfer Russell Wilson is going to be thrust into the job early on, according to the ESPN Big 10 Blog. Of course, he may be back by the last game of the season, but who knows if he can win his job back (ala Bolden last year) or if he will mentally and physically be able to manage the team.

Had I known this, I might have dropped the Badgers down to 4th. But maybe not. Does it really matter who is the quarterback? They are going to line up a herd of cattle across the field and pound the ball at you come hell or high water. They have depth at running back--Montee Ball (are you kidding me!), James White and Zach Brown. Despite losing two all-Americans on the line, the Badgers are expected to reload. That's what they do. Big. Offensive. Linemen.

Prediction: We lose. We might win, but I just don't have the confidence (stupidity) that I used to have. I think a lot will come down to how banged up these teams are after the Big Ten season. It should be an interesting finale, and hopefully will have some championship implications.
Well, well, well.  I wasn't far off.  But who knew a reject from NC State would end up being a star QB for the Badgers?  And while I'm not sure there's enough Kool Aid to really make me think we can or will win this game, I just can't shake the feeling that this team, these players, these coaches--won't find some way to pull this out and head to Indy for the Big Ten Championship.

And perhaps the stars are aligning.  Apparently, the starting center for Wisconsin is out due to an injury.
The Badgers are known for their outstanding offensive lines, but they are dealing with a key injury as center Peter Konz is out with a bad ankle. That has led to some shuffling on the line, which could be a break for Penn State's defensive front.
Tom Bradley has gone on record saying he wants the PSU head coaching job.  This is a big test, but if he brings home a win--and perhaps a Big Ten Title--can the Board of Trustees really look past him?

GO STATE!  BEAT BADGERS!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What Might Have Been

From ESPN:


If only we had found a way to beat Nebraska!    Every one loss team is in the Top 10!  Oh, well.  With the benefit of hindsight, maybe we wish we'd have done more!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Nuttin' to It

WE BEAT THE BUCKEYES!!!!!!

The mighty Nuts of Columbus fell to the Nittany Lions 20-14.  What many expected to be a defensive struggle turned into a plethora of points in the first half, but in the end, defense was the name of the game in the second half.  Ohio State withstood a goal line stand, turning the men in white away with no points, while the Lions managed to recover two fumbles that helped keep the Buckeyes off the board.

The Penn State offense looked like it had found new life with the wildcat formation but in the end, we scored one less point than our season average of 21.  The addition of Belton and Drake seemed to spark the offense in the first half, but couldn't produce points in the second.  It was particularly disappointing and frustrating to see Penn State fail to convert on first and goal from the two.  It was like the 1979 Sugar Bowl all over again, sans Joe Paterno.

The play calling on that series was baffling.  Two fullback dives up the middle?  An ineffective QB sneak?  Another dive up the middle by Green?  Joe must have been on the phone calling plays!  Perhaps it's just easy to second guess from our armchairs, but seriously?  As imaginative as the offense seemed elsewhere on the field, the anal sphincter still squeezes tighter than a boa constrictor inside the red zone.

I said in my statistical analysis this week that the game would be won by the team that made the fewest mistakes.  They had two fumbles.  We threw one pick.  But it was not a pick six, so we had that going for us for once.  So we won by one score and one turnover.

And a win is sweet.  This is the first victory in the post-Paterno era.

The Lions advance to 9-2 on the season, 6-1 in the conference and they still control their own destiny.  Of course, so does Wisconsin.  Next week's battle in Madison will decide the Big Ten Leaders division.  Ohio State falls to 6-5 (3-4) and are still bowl eligible.  Perhaps they can salvage their season with a win over THEM next week.

After seeing our "new" offense today, I am more optimistic about our chances.  Consider this:  this was the first game we use Belton and Drake like this.  It now gives the Badgers something else they have to prepare for this week.  And it gives our coaches some options we didn't have before.  I am going to assume another week of practice will produce another wrinkle and better results.

Anthony Fera hit two field goals.  I was a little concerned about the kicking game, but he came through.

After watching Nebraska today, I can only wonder why that team didn't show up last week in Beaver Stadium.  With teams in the top ten falling right and left, who knows how far this team could have gone?

But, the still have another Big test next week.

This coaching staff is doing an amazing job of keeping this team focused and playing well.  I have been on record as saying I wasn't sure Bradley was "head coach" material.  I was wrong.  And if there is some way he can be the next coach--not just the interim coach--I am okay with that.



BY THE NUMBERS:

From the GoPSUsports site:



Team Totals PSU OSU
FIRST DOWNS 1615
Rushing 910
Passing 54
Penalty 21
NET YARDS RUSHING 239206
Rushing Attempts 3943
Average Per Rush 6.14.8
Rushing Touchdowns 21
Yards Gained Rushing 241235
Yards Lost Rushing 229
NET YARDS PASSING 8883
Completions-Attempts-Int 10-18-17-17-0
Average Per Attempt 4.94.9
Average Per Completion 8.811.9
Passing Touchdowns 01
TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS 327289
Total offense plays 5760
Average Gain Per Play 5.74.8
Fumbles: Number-Lost 0-0 2-2
Penalties: Number-Yards 5-406-32
PUNTS-YARDS 4-144 4-153
Average Yards Per Punt 3638.2
Net Yards Per Punt 3630.8
Inside 20 30
50+ Yards 00
Touchbacks 01
Fair catch 11
KICKOFFS-YARDS 4-277 3-203
Average Yards Per Kickoff 69.267.7
Net Yards Per Kickoff 46.249.7
Touchbacks 11
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD 2-10-00-0-0
Average Per Return 50
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD 2-34-0 3-72-0
Average Per Return 1724
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD 0-0-0 1-15-0
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD 0-0-0 0-0-0
Miscellaneous Yards 00
Possession Time 30:0829:52
1st Quarter 8:026:58
2nd Quarter 7:587:02
3rd Quarter 8:426:18
4th Quarter 5:269:34
Third-Down Conversions 6 of 13 7 of 13
Fourth-Down Conversions 0 of 1 0 of 2
Red-Zone Scores-Chances 1-21-1
Touchdowns 1-21-1
Field goals 0-2 0-1
Sacks By: Number-Yards 3-170-0
PAT Kicks 2-22-2
Field Goals 2-20-0

Time of possession is equal.  In fact, nearly every category is equal except for the fumbles.  Neither team passed well, and Penn State logged three sacks.

INTANGIBLES:

Ohio State won the toss and deferred.

Ohio State leads the all-time series 14-13.

Tom Bradley notches win #1.  408 more to go . . .

Attendance was listed at 105,493.

THE BIG (TEN) PICTURE:

Michigan State locked up the Legends division, throttling Indiana 55-3.

The Ann Arbor Aholes ran the score up on Nebraska 45-17. Welcome to the real Big Ten, Huskers.

Iowa beat Purdue 31-21.

Northwestern beat Minnesota 28-13.

Wisconsin forces game seven by beating Illinois 28-17.

Thankfully, the inaugural Big Ten Championship won't include O$U or THEM.  Hallelujah!

SHEDDING TEARS:

1.  Okie State--missed a field goal (maybe!) and threw an INT in OT to lose to ISU.
2.  Clemson--locked up ACC title game, but lost to NC State 37-13
3.  F$U--amazing loss as time expires on clock mismanagement, but then a review calls the play incomplete which stopped the clock.  A defensive penalty moves it five yards closer, but then the kicker misses anyway.  Virginia's first win ever in Tallahassee.
4.  Oregon falls to USC on a missed FG that would have tied them in regulation--doesn't anyone want to face LSU in the title game???
5.  Oklahoma lost to Baylor 45-38--doesn't anyone want to face LSU in the title game???

LOOKING AHEAD:

Okay, be honest.  Did you expect PSU to be playing for the Big Ten Championship game at this point?

Did you expect to see Wisconsin lose after the Badgers manhandled Nebraska?

But here we are.  One game away from Indianapolis.

And the Badgers are beatable.

Here is their season to date:

W  UNLV 51-17
W  Oregon State 35-0
W  Northern Illinois 49-7
W  South Dakota 59-10
W  Nebraska 48-17
W  Indiana 59-7
L  @ Michigan State 37-31
L  @ Ohio State 33-29
W  Purdue  62-17
W  @ Minnesota 42-13
W  @ Illinois 28-17

Wisconsin did not play an away game until OCTOBER 22.  Both losses are on the road, and were close.  But they struggled early against the Illini.  Penn State may be the best defensive team they will face all year.

And let us end with this thought from "not so fast" Lee Corso:

Microphone Man

All right, Penn State!

This half of the Internet yells BEAT.  The other half yells BUCKEYES.

BEAT.

BUCKEYES.

BEAT.

BUCKEYES.

I can't hear you!

The mighty Zookers are fighting for their lives against the Big Ten refs.  Should be up 21-7 on Whisky, but only 17-7 in Big Ten points.

GO ILLINI!

BEAT . . . . BADGERS!

BEAT . . . . BADGERS!

Oklahoma State destroyed by Cyclones

The Number 2 team in the country has fallen.  Only LSU and Houston are still undefeated.



The Cowpokes missed a field goal in the fourth quarter (did he miss it or not--man it was close) that sent the game into OT.  Iowa State picked off Okie State in the second quarter to keep them from scoring, and then pounded the ball in for a TD to win 37-31.

It was the first time Iowa State ever beat a team ranked higher than seventh. And what did their fans do then?

They sang Sweet Caroline. (music starts about the 1:50 mark.) 

I don't see him. Can you find Guido in this video????



May this be the first of many upsets this weekend . . . PSU, Nebraska, Illinois.  I'll even sing Sweet Caroline if Illinois wins! 

Sweet, Illinois . . . . BOM BOM BOM . . . so good, so good, so good!!!

Is there something in the air, or did I just pass gas???

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Game Guide: Heels over Hokies Edition

North Carolina is facing off against the Chokies tonight on ESPN.  GO UNC!

In the Big Ten:

PSU heads to Columbus as a 7 point dog.  GO STATE!  CRACK NUTS!

Northwestern is favored by 15.5 over the Gophers.  GO WILDCATS!

Wisconsin is favored by 14.5 over Illinois.  Trap Game?  Looking ahead to PSU?  Who cares, as long as Illinois wins.  GO ILLINI!

Iowa is favored by 3 over Purdue.  Purdue deserves some love after upsetting O$U last week.  GO BOILERS!

Michigan State is favored by 28 over Indiana.  As long as MSU keeps winning, we won't see Denard Robinson in the inaugural title game.  That's a good thing.  GO SPARTY!

Nebraska is a 3.5 dog in the Big outHouse.  No brainer.  GO HUSKERS!

In games featuring past opponents:

Alabama faced Georgia . . . Southern.  NL.  ROLL TIDE!

The Owls are a 2 touchdown favorite over Army.  I hate to root against the armed services, and quite frankly, strength of schedule means squat to PSU right now.  GO ARMY!

Kent State is favored by 3 over EMU.  GO EMU!

Indiana State (6-4) takes on Southern Illinois.

Guilt By Association

It is simply incredible what has happened to Penn State since Sandusky was charged.  Keep in mind through all this, he has maintained his innocence, and no one has been convicted of any wrong doing.  The only two people fired by Penn State (Paterno and Spanier) were NOT INDICTED.

David Brooks admonishes us all to feel superior.
First came the atrocity, then came the vanity. The atrocity is what Jerry Sandusky has been accused of doing at Penn State. The vanity is the outraged reaction of a zillion commentators over the past week, whose indignation is based on the assumption that if they had been in Joe Paterno’s shoes, or assistant coach Mike McQueary’s shoes, they would have behaved better. They would have taken action and stopped any sexual assaults.

Even in cases where people consciously register some offense, they still often don’t intervene. In research done at Penn State and published in 1999, students were asked if they would make a stink if someone made a sexist remark in their presence. Half said yes. When researchers arranged for that to happen, only 16 percent protested.
In another experiment at a different school, 68 percent of students insisted they would refuse to answer if they were asked offensive questions during a job interview. But none actually objected when asked questions like, “Do you think it is appropriate for women to wear bras to work?”
So many people do nothing while witnessing ongoing crimes, psychologists have a name for it: the Bystander Effect. The more people are around to witness the crime, the less likely they are to intervene.
Unfortunately, the court of public opinion moves much faster than actual courts, and is not subject to the constraints of something silly like the Constitution.  Penn State  (and those apparently affiliated with the University) are apparently guilty until proven innocent to wit:

Alphalion75 writes on BWI:
This morning, my manager asked to meet with me.....

She knows I'm a Penn State grad....and simply wanted to give me some advice not to put up any PSU items in my workspace and not to make it public where I went to school......for my own protection. I told her, no disrespect and I appreciate the advice, but I'm "Penn State Proud" and she can dismiss me if she wants, I'm not going to take down my Penn State flag for anyone....the gall of some people.
Franco Harris responded to the firing of Paterno by supporting the venerable coach.  What did he get for his valor?
The fallout of the Jerry Sandusky sexual-abuse scandal have taken down another Penn State man.
Not for what he did, but for what he said.
The Meadows Race Track and Casino has fired former Penn State and Steelers great Franco Harris as a spokesman for his support of Joe Paterno.
Apparently, you are NOT allowed to have an opinion in America anymore.  At least one that your boss does not share.  It get worse . . .
 
Gregory White tells The Daily Collegian he will never hire a Penn Stater.
I am sickened beyond belief by the disgusting support of pedophilia shown by Penn State students. To go as far as to riot by the thousands in support of people who did little to nothing to protect young children is inhuman.
As this seems to be the majority or at least not a minority of the student body morals I have had my corporation’s staff working this holiday weekend to go through all employee files. Anyone who went to Penn State will have their final checks waiting for them Monday morning and no one from Penn State will ever be hired by any company I run in the future!
Gregory White
Austin, Texas
Are you kidding me????  Having a college degree is now grounds for being fired?

Did you know that Jeffrey Dahmer spent a semester at Ohio State (before failing out)?  Check out his picture--he even has the Buckstache!  Don't hire any Ohio State graduates unless you support cannibalism!  The Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski went to Harvard, Michigan and taught at Berkley.  Don't hire anyone from those schools unless you support mail bombings!

Didn't anyone ever teach these people that two wrongs don't make a right?  Punishing innocent students/faculty members does not atone or make up for the horrific acts which allegedly have been committed.  Can't we just let the courts handle the punishment?

Advertisers are getting in on the flagellation, as Cars.com has pulled advertising on ESPN for Penn State games.  And Citizen's Bank has decided not to hand out the buttons for the final two games:
In light of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, Citizens Bank is reportedly stopping distribution of Penn State football buttons for away contests at Ohio State and Wisconsin.
The slogans for the buttons were to be "Much Ado About Nuttin'" for Ohio State and "Brie 'em to Their Knees" for Wisconsin.
Granted, the slogans could be construed to have other meanings, but come on.  They're football buttons, and have never been intended to have political or social commentaries.  Only the narrow minded, who have already passed judgement, and like David Brooks said above, have decided that they are morally superior to all those involved, would have a problem with these buttons.

They have removed Paterno's name from the Big Ten Championship Trophy.

And, as if things can't get any worse, Rick Chandler warns fans to enjoy Paterno's statue while they can.

And I know just what you are wondering?  Who is Sandusky anyway?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WE ARE PENN STATE!

Statistically Speaking: Going Nuts Edition

Here are the NCAA statistical rankings for PSU and O$U:



NCAA Stats Comparison
Category:Penn St.Ohio St.Delta
Rushing5827-31
Passing Offense8711831
Total Offense8810820
Scoring Offense10274-28
Rushing Defense2827-1
Turnovers Gained147965
Passes Had Intercepted314-27
Pass Defense52823
Net Punting9235-57
Punt Returns7833-45
Kickoff Returns1910-9
Turnover Margin21276
Fumbles Recovered3810971
Passes Intercepted93324
Fumbles Lost8721-66
Turnovers Lost603-57
Passing Efficiency10882-26
Pass Efficiency Defense44642
Total Defense8157
Scoring Defense31613
Fewest Penalties Per Game224624
Fewest Yards Penalized Per Game274720
Punt Return Yardage Defense6230-32
Kickoff Return Yardage Defense6711-56
Offense Third-down Efficiency9678-18
Offense Fourth-down Efficiency12219
Defense Third-down Efficiency305323
Defense Fourth-down Efficiency5648-8
Tackles for Loss166145
Offense Tackles for Loss79891
Pass Sacks283810
Pass Sacks Allowed2411692
Time of Possession4334-9
First Downs7810527
First Downs Allowed14173
Red Zone Efficiency7724-53
Red Zone Efficiency - Defense11656-60
Average NCAA Rank:46.3548.051.70
Weighted Avg. Rank:50.3350.25-0.08

It almost goes without saying that Penn State has to minimize turnovers to win this game. I don't know if there is any other team that has thrown more pick sixes in Ohio Stadium since 1993. I pity them if they have.

But I also think we have to be better in the RED ZONE, both offensively and defensively, if we want to have much of a chance in this game.  The offense has been improving as the season wears on, but our defense is still ranked 116th out of 120 teams in the nation, allowing opponents to score 92% of the time when they reach the red zone.

Offensively, the Buckeyes are almost as bad as we are--in fact, we have an edge in total offense, but O$U has an edge in scoring offense.

Rushing defense is equal, with PSU having an edge in pass, pass efficiency, scoring and total defense.

I look for this to be a low scoring game with the team that makes the fewest mistakes prevailing.  Of course, that's almost as obvious as saying the team that scores the most points will win the game.  But I don't think either of these teams is going to light up the scoreboard much.  Last weeks gameplan still had Paterno's fingerprints on it, except for maybe the pass back to McGloin.  It will be interesting to see what Bradley comes up with this week, and whether we take any chances on the road--which we normally wouldn't do under Paterno.

I am also concerned about our kicking game, and this game may be decided by a field goal or two.  Last week's was.  And we came up short, er, wide right.

The Bucks are favored by a touchdown as of this writing.

Here is the season summary for the Bucknuts:

W  Akron 42-0 (Akron is 1-9)
W  Toledo 27-22
L   @ Miami (FL) 6-24
W  Colorado 37-17  (Colorado is 2-9)
L   Michigan State 7-10
L  @ Nebraska 27-34
W  Illinois 17-7
W  Wisconsin 33-29
W  Indiana 34-20
L  @Purdue 26-23 OT

In my preseason assessment, I ranked this game as the 4th toughest behind Bama, Wisconsin, and Nebraska.  A loss does not eliminate us from Big Ten contention, but it would be nice to get some positive momentum before heading to Madison for the final game.

Here was my preseason summary and prediction:
Now it may seem that I am counting the Bucks out this year. Au contraire. (That's French for not so fast.) I don't think we will win any game from this point on in the countdown. But of the remaining games, we might have a chance at this one if the wheels come off in Columbus. And I wouldn't be surprised if they do.
Will the team rally around Fickell and use this adversity to become better? They might. Or the distractions and changes might disrupt the Big Ten juggernaut and throw it out of its groove.
Prediction: I don't think we will win this game, as of typing this in August. If Penn State shows me something on the field, and Ohio State struggles with new coach/quarterback, then I might reconsider. I just hope that win or lose, we play a competitive game, and don't throw the game away with an overly conservative game plan on the road that plays right into their strength. Both wins over the Buckeyes came when we played conservative and they made the mistakes (the Troy Smith fumble in 2005 and the Pryor fumble in 2008.) Both were relatively low scoring, conservative games. Maybe that's the way to go, but if we get behind, I hope we try to make something happen instead of falling apart.
Well, at 6-4, O$U has struggled this season.  Of course, my Magic Eight Ball didn't tell me about the distractions that Penn State would face at this point.  I mean seriously, the odds of Paterno being fired before the end of the season had to be like infinity to 1.  WHO could have seen that coming?

Anyway, I think there is not enough at stake for us on the field, there are too many distractions, and with a reorganized coaching staff held together with band aids and duct tape, I don't think we can overcome the cheaters in Columbus.  I'd sacrifice a small animal, though, to win this game.  And the next one.  Two animals.  Small ones.  Vermin that no one likes anyway.  Maybe a mouse.  Or a gopher.  I'd even kill a wolverine for a couple of wins.  Just two more.

Can we do it????

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nostradamus said there'd be days like these

Those of you readers who are familiar with my work know that I usually try to find the humor in life around us.  Sometimes that is hard to do, such as after Penn State loses a football game.  Sometimes, it is impossible--humor after what may or may not have transpired at Penn State is impossible if not inappropriate.

Saturday Night Live tried.

And Bill Bettwy by cartoon in the Altoona Mirror.

As for me, I'm not going to touch the subject.  Oops!  Did I just say touched?  My bad.

But I did find something interesting.

Did you know that Nostradamus (the 16th century seer and not the founder of Notre Damus) wrote about PATERNO in one of his quatrains???  Most historians think he was referring to a city in Italy called Paterno.  I wonder if maybe he wasn't predicting what happened at Penn State!

Here are the quatrains from Crystalinks:

80


The blood of innocents, widow and virgin,

so many evils committed by means of the Great Red One,

holy images placed over burning candles,

terrified by fear, none will be seen to move.



81

The new empire in desolation

will be changed from the Northern Pole.

From Sicily will come such trouble that

it will bother the enterprise tributary to Philip.



82

Thin tall and dry, playing the good valet


in the end will have nothing but his dismissal;

sharp poison and letters in his collar,

he will be seized escaping into danger.



83

The largest sail set out of the port of Zara,

near Byzantium will carry out its enterprise.

Loss of enemy and friend will not be,

a third will turn on both with great pillage and capture.



84

Paterno will hear the cry from Sicily,

all the preparations in the Gulf of Trieste;

it will be heard as far as Sicily

flee oh, flee, so many sails, the dreaded pestilence !

Do you not have goosebumps???

The blood of innocents and so many evils committed by means of the Great Red One?  Are people not saying that McQueary ("big red") is morally responsible for allowing this to perpetuate?

Burning candles--does that not refer to the vigil at Penn State?

And while Paterno's "empire" is not new, it would be to someone in the 16th century.  And that empire is certainly in desolation now.

Tributary to Philip?  Okay this is a bit of a stretch here.  There's Phil, the most famous groundhog in PA, but I doubt that has anything to do with this.  There's Phil Grosz, of Blue White Illustrated.  Maybe fans will stop paying for his magazine, advertising on his site or paying the "tribute" to get premium information on his paid site.  Works for me.  Isn't this getting eerie?  And Erie is a city in Pennsylvania!

The good valet--is that not Spanier???

George Paterno wrote a book about Joe, The Coach From Byzantium!

A third will turn on both . . . is that Curley and Schultz--and Paterno or McQueary is the third?  Or is there more to come?

And is it mere coincidence that PATERNO is mentioned in quatrain 84.  I think not!  Paterno is 84 years old!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Jay Paterno

I'll be the first to admit that I've been hard on Jay paterno over the years, re his playcalling, coaching results on the field and qualifications for his current position.  But man, this whole situation just goes so far beyond football.  I can't imagine having my father go through something like this at age 75, let alone 84.

Penn State #21

From ESPN:
Three undefeated teams remain:  LSU, Oklahoma State and Houston.

Only one team has not won a game this season:  Florida Atlantic.

Three teams have only one win:  Indiana, New Mexico and Akron.

No Mo-Joe

Nebraska and Penn State played a football game yesterday.  The Huskers prevailed 17-14.  But the hearts and the minds of the fans and players were probably not on the game so much. It was a well-played exciting game, but the atmosphere and sportsmanship couldn't overcome the "elephant in the stadium."

There was something else there.  And there was something that was missing.

The tragedy that has brought the football program to it's knees--in humility and prayer--was talked about in tailgates and among friends.  Everyone has an opinion.  Everyone thinks they are right.  But all those differences were put aside as the two teams joined in prayer before the game at midfield.

It was refreshing to see a spectacle like that in an age where opposing teams are more likely to plant their flag on their opponents logo or stomp on a Terrible Towel.

As many put it, it was the start of a long slow healing process.


No matter how exciting the game was or what the outcome, though, it could not overcome the grievous pain felt for the victims.  It will be a long time--perhaps never--before that elephant in the stadium is gone.  Maybe it should never leave, as a painful reminder of the evil that lurks in the hearts of some men (and women!)

But the game could also not overcome the loss that fans felt as one person was absent.  To be honest, that man's physical absence on the sideline has been present most of this year, and several times in past years.  This was not the first time Tom Bradley was in charge.  But it was the first time he was officially in charge--and ONLY in charge.

His interim debut was not rewarded with a victory.  The players could not walk the winning game ball to the house on McKee Street.  The hole left was most palpable as his son broke down, missing his father.

I don't think it matters whether Tom Bradley wins or loses.  I strongly suspect this is the last season for all these coaches on this sideline.  My sense from the Board of Trustees is that they will clean house at the end of the season.  Sometimes, when you operate to remove a tumor, you have to remove some good tissue with the bad, just to make sure you get all of it.

It is not clear how the Board plans to go from here.  The best case scenario would be to hire a new athletic director and allow that person, in conjunction with Rodney Erickson, to conduct a national search.

But already, there are rumors of Trustees reaching out to other coaches (Garban calling Virginia coach London for instance) and this kind of approach will not end well.  The Board is not made up of people who are uniquely qualified to pick a football coach.  Having individual Board members making calls is not an effective way to produce a candidate.  The Board needs to put qualified people in place who will then continue working with the next coaching regime, rather than pushing personal agendas along haphazardly.  I would rather start next season with Tom Bradley still at the helm, than rush through a selection process to just to have the job done but not done properly.

But I digress.

I felt the men on this team played their hearts out on Saturday.  Readers who are familiar with me will know that I do not take losses well.  This loss may just be the best loss I have ever seen.

Under extraordinarily difficult circumstances, this team faced down a top 20 opponent who was favored to win before they even stepped onto the field and went toe to toe with them until the last seconds faded away into a beautiful autumn afternoon in Happy Valley.  In addition to all the emotions swirling in the stadium like the wind, for some this was their last game in Beaver Stadium as seniors.  Their coach was gone with little time to prepare for that sudden change.  I am so proud of these men for rising above all that, even if they came up short on the scoreboard.  They did not come up short in the eyes of the world or in the hearts of true Penn Staters.

Falling down by 17 points, this team fought back and fought back hard.  They scored 14 points in the final quarter and a half and came up a field goal short of tying Nebraska in the final minute.

If you want some football analysis, here it is:  the missed field goal in the first half might have been the key to this game.  It totally deflated the team after that, and obviously the margin of losing was 3.  Those points were critical.  The fumble by McGloin led to another score and was arguably the play of the second half.  (His reception on the trick play was a close second!)   But I firmly believe the unsung heroes of Nebraska's victory were its special teams.  Their punt unit downed 5 of 8 punts inside our 20.  In case you are wondering, we punted 7 times and downed no punts inside the Husker's 20.

In a game where the two teams were almost evenly matched in turnovers, passing, rushing and time of possession, it was special teams that carried the day.  They kicked the field goal.  We missed.  They controlled field position--we did not.

And like that one presence that was missing--physically but not spiritually--that one man who could not finish his career . . . it just wasn't meant to be.

BY THE NUMBERS:

From the GoPSUsports site:



Team Totals NEB PSU
FIRST DOWNS 2121
Rushing 1010
Passing 109
Penalty 12
NET YARDS RUSHING 188166
Rushing Attempts 4843
Average Per Rush 3.93.9
Rushing Touchdowns 22
Yards Gained Rushing 200174
Yards Lost Rushing 128
NET YARDS PASSING 143209
Completions-Attempts-Int 13-27-0 17-35-0
Average Per Attempt 5.36
Average Per Completion 1112.3
Passing Touchdowns 00
TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS 331375
Total offense plays 7578
Average Gain Per Play 4.44.8
Fumbles: Number-Lost 1-11-1
Penalties: Number-Yards 6-453-32
PUNTS-YARDS 8-360 7-296
Average Yards Per Punt 4542.3
Net Yards Per Punt 40.436.6
Inside 20 50
50+ Yards 23
Touchbacks 02
Fair catch 14
KICKOFFS-YARDS 4-276 3-193
Average Yards Per Kickoff 6964.3
Net Yards Per Kickoff 48.844
Touchbacks 10
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD 0-0-0 3-37-0
Average Per Return 012.3
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD 3-61-0 3-61-0
Average Per Return 20.320.3
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD 0-0-0 0-0-0
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD 0-0-0 0-0-0
Miscellaneous Yards 00
Possession Time 29:0330:57
1st Quarter 5:099:51
2nd Quarter 9:075:53
3rd Quarter 8:286:32
4th Quarter 6:198:41
Third-Down Conversions 6 of 16 5 of 16
Fourth-Down Conversions 0 of 1 1 of 3
Red-Zone Scores-Chances 2-22-2
Touchdowns 2-22-2
Field goals 0-2 0-2
Sacks By: Number-Yards 1-71-3
PAT Kicks 2-22-2
Field Goals 1-10-1

I won't dwell on these as they were discussed above.

INTANGIBLES:

The Drum Major stuck the flip.

The crowd of 107,903 was fantastic and the largest crowd of the season.

Nebraska won the toss and deferred.

To whoever was responsible for the airplane flying around the stadium with its disparaging message:  you should be ashamed of yourselves.  You are entitled to your opinion, but that was not the venue or manner to express it.

Of course, I also question the decision to play "Lay your hands on me" during the senior video montage.  Kind of questionable if you ask me.

Nebraska evened the all-time series at 7-up.

THE BIG (TEN) PICTURE:

Penn State is still leading the LEADERS division, but must win both of it's remaining games to make it to the conference championship.  Actually, with the Buckeye loss, I think PSU would still go to Indy with a win over the Badgers, but I'm too lazy to look up the tie breakers.  But the opposite is simple:  win both and PSU is in.

The Buckeyes lost in OT 26-23 to Purdue.
THEM beat Illinois 31-14.
Wisconsin crushed Minnesota 42-13.
Northwestern fried Rice 28-6.
Michigan State defeated Iowa 37-21.

SHEDDING TEARS:

1.  For the victims of sexual abuse.  These are real.
2.  Boise State--lost to TCU 36-35.  TCU scored a two-point conversion and Boise missed a 39 yard field goal.
3.  Stanford lost to Oregon 53-30.
4.  Texas Tech was demonized by Okie State 66-6. 
5.  Speaking of Texas, the Longhorns lost to Missouri 17-5.

LOOKING AHEAD:

Penn State head to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes next week.  PSU could still lose this game if they beat Wisconsin, assuming Whisky wins out as well.

I'll preview this game later.  I don't feel up to it at the moment.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A New Beginning

Tomorrow will be the dawning of a new era in Penn State football, although like Ben Franklin, many are wondering if the sun is rising or setting.

The players will be the same.

But it won't be the same.  It will never be the same.

Tomorrow, Tom Bradley will begin his audition.  He has three very difficult games to coach, and must do so in less than ideal circumstances.  I do not think the BOT has any intention of keeping any coaches after this season, but who knows at this point.  They are just a bunch of whacky, crazy guys.

But Tom has the opportunity to show that he can be a head coach, if not here then elsewhere.  There isn't much time.  The competition is unfairly tough.  The distractions make his task monumental.

Will Tom Bradley lead this team to victory?

Will the players arise to the occasion?

I'm sure the fans will support this team either way.

But if Bradley manages the trifecta of beating Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin, it will be very difficult not to give him due consideration as the next head coach.

The first test is tomorrow.  Can he get past Bo?

Thank You Veterans!

May we all find time amid this scandal to remember those who made our liberty and freedom possible, some paying with their very lives.
Thanks and prayers to all our veterans!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Weekly Game Guide

Virginia Tech, favored by one over Georgia Tech, is currently leading eight.  GO JACKETS!

In the Big Ten:

The Huskers are favored by 3 over Penn State.  GO STATE!  SHUCK HUSKERS!

The Cheateyes are favored by 7.5 over Purdue.  GO BOILERS!

Illinois versus THEM is a pick.  How great would it be for Illinois to win?  I'd sacrifice a small animal for that!  (Hey, it worked last week!)  GO ILLINI!

Northwestern is favored by 16 over Rice.  GO WILDCATS!

The Spartans are favored by 2.5 over Iowa.  GO HAWKS!

Wisconsin is favored by 27 over the Gophers.  How great would it be for Minnesota to win?  I'd sacrifice a Klondike Bar that!  GO GO GOPHERS!

Indiana has a bye week.

In games of past opponents:

Temple beat Miami (OH) 24-21 last night.

Alabama is a 17.5 point favorite over Mississippi State.  ROLL TIDE ROLL!

Eastern Michigan is favored by 3.5 over Buffalo.  GO EMU!

Indiana State is at Missouri State.  GO TREES!

Who (or What) Will Be Next?

Lester Munson of ESPN feels that the Lynch Mob in Old Main has more work to do.

But who's left?  Mike McQueary?  (He's actually not going to be at the game because of death threats.)  But a good point, but he's thinking bigger.

Tom Bradley?  Not big enough.  Think BIGGER.

With Spanier and Paterno gone, who is left that is bigger?

The Board of Trustees?  Good idea--GREAT IDEA--but think BIGGER!

Mr. Munson, bless his little heart, thinks that Penn State should stop playing football for a couple of years.

That's right.  Let's just kill the football program, which coincidentally will kill the ENTIRE sports program at PSU since football pays ALL the bills.
As the trustees attempt to reset the priorities of the university and its football program, here are some things they must do:

Consider the cancellation of the football program for a period of at least two years. It might not be possible to establish a new culture without the total elimination of the old one. A two-year hiatus might be the only way to eliminate a systemic problem. How important is football to an institution of higher learning that serves 95,000 students and is supposed to be dedicated to the pursuit of excellence? When Tulane University was caught in a basketball point-shaving scandal in the mid-1980s, the university leadership eliminated the sport for several years to allow a complete renewal of values. When the U.S. Congress discovered a series of abuses in 2008 in its page program, which was designed to offer opportunities to young people, the members of Congress agreed to eliminate it altogether.
I already "suggested" that we should just close down the whole University, so I've got dibs on that one Lester. 

But then, Lester praised the Board of Trustees for their exemplary action of canning the 84-year old Paterno.  Not everyone sees this action as exemplary.

To wit, we have Dan Vecellio writing on The Huffington Post about why the media has missed the mark:
Quick. Don't think. Who is prime suspect number one in the scandal involving Penn State right now? If you were to read 95% of the stories put out by the national media since Sunday or gone on Twitter or (from stories I've heard) spoken with any of the national talking heads trudging through State College right now, they would tell you that the villain in this horrible, horrible incident is Joe Paterno.
Tell me, when was the last time you heard Jerry Sandusky's name? When was the last time you heard about the charges brought against athletic director Tim Curley and former VP of Business and Finance Gary Schultz? I'm fairly certain that these three men have been the ones charged with crimes in this on-going investigation.

1. "JOE PATERNO NEVER FOLLOWED UP ON THESE CHARGES" or "JOE PATERNO SENT THIS UP THE CHAIN OF COMMAND AND WASHED HIS HANDS OF THE SITUATION.
This was the first of many "facts" that was made up by the national media. If you've read the Grand Jury testimony, I commend you. Now go read it again. Pick out the part where it says Joe never went back to Tim Curley or Gary Schultz to see what was happening in the process. It never says he did, but it sure as hell doesn't say he didn't either.
2. "JOE PATERNO KNEW ABOUT (OR HAD TO HAVE KNOWN ABOUT) THE '98 ALLEGATIONS AND STILL LET A CHILD RAPIST AROUND HIS TEAM"
Once again, go back to the testimony. Nowhere does it say that Joe knew about any allegations before 2002. In fact, one person I know sat in a class on Tuesday and listened to Patriot-News reporter Sara Garim, who has been the point person for all of the investigative stories dealing with this case, say that Joe testified he did not know about the 1998 allegations, going as far to say: "I think it's fair to say, as far as you could possibly say, that Joe Paterno didn't know about [the 1998 investigation]." If some real investigating had been done by the national media, they'd probably know that too.
3. "JOE PATERNO ENABLED A CHILD RAPIST"
Use your words better. I understand your need for emphasis to sell, but using the word enable makes it seem like Joe hand-picked the boys for Sandusky.
4. "JOE PATERNO IS TIM CURLEY'S/GRAHAM SPANIER'S BOSS" or "JOE PATERNO RUNS PENN STATE UNIVERSITY"
Many columnists have brought this point up in regards to Joe pushing Mike McQueary's information up the chain of command. Since Joe runs everything there, he is to blame. He is the head honcho. Find other columns these men and women have written. Look at their Twitter feeds over the past year. Look at them from the past week! They'll tell you that he doesn't even run his own football team anymore and hasn't for 15 years. For an 84-year old man to not be able to look over 85 players and a coaching staff, but yet control 44,000 students on the University Park campus, plus the administrators, plus the faculty, plus the staff and handle day-to-day operations of a university seems unimaginable to me. But you know, whatever argument works at the time, guys.
When Joe Paterno released his retirement statement Wednesday morning, he said that he would finish out the year coaching. A large majority of the people I follow on Twitter and TV commentators said it wasn't enough and were adamant about it. He needed to resign now or be fired by the Board of Trustees. A huge, HUGE backlash for a man who just wants to coach four or five more football games. Later on in the afternoon, Ben Jones of Black Shoes Diaries and StateCollege.com tweeted that he was told Jerry Sandusky was spotted working out in a gym with his wife this morning. The reaction? "Wow." "Geez." "Welp."
This story has become so twisted that negative emotion about a man coaching a football game exceeds that of an accused chlid molester walking the streets of the town where he committed his crimes by what it seems to be millions of percent. By focusing on the tear-down of the most notable figure involved in the case, people have become numb to the man who did the most damage and those who have been accused to covering up that damage.
Sensationalizing a story led to Joe Paterno being the first man to lose his job in this fiasco. And while I have no qualms about saying Joe had to step down after this mess blew up, when looking back at the facts, is he really the first man who should have gotten the axe?
Now, since the media has completed Objective One: Bring Down JoePa, I hope they do what I always believed journalists did: find the facts, dig through the sources and tell the people the real stories happening in State College.
AMEN!  My God!  Someone IN THE MEDIA with a freaking clue!

And then there is TOM IN PAINE who posts about the railroading of Joe Paterno:
That is exactly what is going on now with the phony moralistic and imbecilic calls by factually challenged sportswriters and other journalists, not exactly known for their ability to think in the first place, for Joe Paterno the coach of Penn State football, to resign or be fired over a child abuse scandal involving a former defensive coach at Penn State.

The fact that, based on all the facts presently known, Paterno did nothing wrong, not in any imaginable way, doesn't stop the sanctimonious, self-righteous pseudo-moralistic members of the press from piling on over an issue for which they feel safe in piling on.

Based on all the facts at the grand jury's disposal Paterno did nothing wrong. And the Pennsylvania State Attorney General said as much as well.
But if you want to pretend youre a moral hero, if you are self-serving and sanctimonious and looking to beat your chest about something, that isnt good enough. That also wont sell newspapers, get TV ratings, or get website hits the way going after a figure like Joe Paterno would. And the justification by these factually challenged journalists who are trying to do something journalists have proved they are incapable of doing in the first place -- think -- is that while Paterno did nothing criminally wrong he was morally wrong in not reporting what he heard to the police.

The incident in question was witnessed by an assistant coach who actually saw the abuse take place. This coach - an eyewitness -- did NOT go to the police with what he saw but the press is giving him a pass anyway. Why? Because he is not a big fish. Because he is not going to embellish anyone's reputation. Because pointing the finger at him is not going allow sanctimonious journalists to stick out their chests the way the morally sanctimonious always do.

The mother of the boy who was sexually abused by Sandusky issued a public statement yesterday. In it she said that Sandusky in 1998 "admitted to my face - he admitted it", that he had sexually abused her son. She said in the same statement that Sandusky admitted the abuse to her again in 2002. What did the mother do? Nothing. Did she go to the police with this specific admission? No. But Paterno was supposed to with none of the facts the mother had.
So we have an assistant coach who actually witnessed the incident but didn't report it to the police and the mother of the victim who was told twice over a 4 year span by the abuser himself that he had abused her son and neither went to the police. But Paterno, who didn't have a fraction of the information those two had, and didnt have a fraction of the moral responsibility of the boy's own mother,was supposed to do more than the boy's own mother did. And should be fired for not doing so.

I still can't believe they fired Paterno.  My wife went to bed early last night so I had to tell her about it the following morning, like she couldn't read it on the front page of the paper.  I pulled a Matt Millen and ended up crying and leaving the room to compose myself.
 
I hope that justice will find its way to each and every member of the Board of Trustees.