Friday, March 30, 2012

STEP UPDATE: March 30

There are still 16,204 seats available as of tonight at 10PM.  There was little movement in the overall numbers this week, with a shift from lower donation levels to higher donation levels.  This is to be expected since only NLC members with a lot of points can pick right now.  They are the ones that presumably want to improve their seat location or add seats to their account, and can afford to do so.

 Anne Danahy of the Centre Daily Times writes that ticket sales are down slightly.
Assistant Athletic Director Greg Myford said the Nittany Lion Club membership is just above the 20,000 mark so far. In 2011, there were 22,474 members, up from 21,577 in 2010.

Overall donations are up by $900,000 compared with last year for a total of $16.3 million, Myford said.
They can sugar coat the numbers all they want, but the reality is that there are about 4,000 more tickets available right now than there were in June at the end of the selection process last year.  Four thousand seats were given up.  All ticket holders have the option of retaining their seats, so even if they plan on moving up or down, their seats would not currently be listed as available.  And any move of equal seats from one giving level to another, wouldn't change the total of available seats.  The only factors that could see that number decrease are if people decide to ADD seats to their current package, or new members who never had seats before choose later in the process.

You might think that $900,000 in higher donations would reflect a profit.  But if you do the math . . .  at $385 per seat for a season ticket, times 4000 empty seats . . .  that works out to $1.54 million dollars in lost revenue if those seats aren't sold.  And that doesn't include the extra donation level fees for those seats that are lost if they go unsold.  Obviously, for many of the more attractive games, e.g. Ohio State and Wisconsin, those seats will get sold individually with no problem, so the overall math is fuzzy at this point.

Anyway, here is the breakdown after a week of trading:

SECTIONDonationSeats AvailableSeats AvailableSeats AvailableDelta
6/8/20113/23/20123/30/2012
WB$4002322702755
WC$4002515988-71
WD600-200041180145-35
WE600-20001295-4
WF600-200037200142-58
WG$40018143106-37
WH$40030233937132
WJ$100613155-76
NA$10018172163-9
NB$10038200195-5
NC$1004020722922
ND$1003617118918
NE$100481931996
NF$100171781813
NG$1003517618812
NH$100301671758
NJ$100352082168
NK$1003617320532
NL$100392072136
EJ$100141011021
EH$4005184284346
EG$40060165162-3
EF600-200073182134-48
EE600-20000110
ED600-2000389249199-50
EC$4002832472470
EB$40014810892-16
WBU$1000308-22
WCU$4004775815854
WDU$6006527217276
WEU$6003033613687
WFU$60059670872315
WGU$4003184894912
WHU$100110248-54
WJU$10025147132-15
NAU100-4004811193-18
NBU$10053567216
NCU100-4001211071070
NDU100-400949310714
NEU100-400105142128-14
NFU100-4004082908
NGU100-40065809414
NHU100-4007851532
NJU100-400126113111-2
NKU$1001000
NLU100-400184-4
EJU$1003126530944
EHU$1009138126-12
EGU$40010671153119845
EFU$600882985101126
EEU$600762877855-22
EDU$600144414221414-8
ECU$4001541152615348
EBU$10026856-12
SAU$10088117115-2
SBU$10015410011010
SCU$10012510912314
SDU$10010611912910
SEU$1002642420
SFU$100163628-8
SGU$100175751-6
SHU$100871181224
SJU$1007910011313
SKU$10011395994
SLU$1001011171170
TOTAL122841639016204-18615%
1002104488748971030.22%
400498956085583-2534.45%
600+519158955724-17135.32%

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ch-ch-ch-changes

The O'Brien Era is going to bring changes.  Many fans have been looking forward to some changes since 1999.  Change can be good.  If your diaper is dirty, you need a change.  But could too much change be good? 

Well, we won't know until September.

But what we do know is that there are changes happening as we speak type.  You might need to sharpen your pencils and get an extra eraser before all this is over.

In brief, and I will refer you to Philip Cmor's article on A Change of Pace for further reading on the subject, here are some things going on in Spring practice.  The very fact that we know so much that is going on in practice is a change in itself.

Try and dodge these bullets, Mr. Bond . . .

  • Bill Belton has moved from wide receiver to runningback.  Perhaps because . . .
  • Curtis Dukes is out of spring practice for academic issues.
  • Curtis Drake is moving from wide receiver to corner.
  • DE Dakota Royer is moving to tight end.
  • Keep up with me here.
  • Devon Smith got tripped up on grass again.  Investigation and punishment (if necessary) is pending.
  • Cornerback Derrick Thomas will participate this spring.  Joe's Dog House has been sold.
  • DE Shawn Oakman will not return (unspecified reason)
  • Danny O'Brien, a potential QB transfer from Maryland, was at the opening day of practice.
  • Curtis Cothran, DE from Council Rock North verballed to PSU
  • Ryan Switzer, wide receiver and West Virginia's Gatorade Player of the Year--will be visiting PSU this weekend
  • O'Brien (coach, not the transfer) feels the change in conditioning program has already produced visible body changes.
  • Phil Simms will switch from QB to linebacker.
I don't know about you, but my head is spinning.  And this is only the first day!

Friday, March 23, 2012

STEP on up!

Today, I was able to log on to the virtual venue for the seat selection process for 2012.  There are about 4,100 more seats available today than last June.  In all, there are 16,390 seats available (15% of the stadium if you use 107,282 as the listed capacity for Joe Paterno Field at Beaver Stadium.)

So without further ado, since I appear to be all out of ado at the moment anyway . . .

SECTIONDonationSeats AvailableSeats AvailableDelta
6/8/20113/23/2012
WB$40023227038
WC$40025159134
WD600-200041180139
WE600-2000129-3
WF600-200037200163
WG$40018143125
WH$40030233937
WJ$1006131125
NA$10018172154
NB$10038200162
NC$10040207167
ND$10036171135
NE$10048193145
NF$10017178161
NG$10035176141
NH$10030167137
NJ$10035208173
NK$10036173137
NL$10039207168
EJ$1001410187
EH$400518428-90
EG$40060165105
EF600-200073182109
EE600-2000011
ED600-2000389249-140
EC$400283247-36
EB$400148108-40
WBU$10003030
WCU$400477581104
WDU$60065272169
WEU$60030336158
WFU$600596708112
WGU$400318489171
WHU$1001102101
WJU$10025147122
NAU100-4004811163
NBU$10053563
NCU100-400121107-14
NDU100-4009493-1
NEU100-40010514237
NFU100-400408242
NGU100-400658015
NHU100-4007851-27
NJU100-400126113-13
NKU$10010-1
NLU100-400187
EJU$10031265234
EHU$1009138129
EGU$4001067115386
EFU$600882985103
EEU$600762877115
EDU$60014441422-22
ECU$40015411526-15
EBU$10026866
SAU$1008811729
SBU$100154100-54
SCU$100125109-16
SDU$10010611913
SEU$100264216
SFU$100163620
SGU$100175740
SHU$1008711831
SJU$1007910021
SKU$10011395-18
SLU$10010111716
TOTAL1228416390410615%
10021044887278329.82%
4004989560861934.22%
600+5191589570435.97%

The last three perecentages are the ratio of seats in that category to the total number of seats available--not the total in the stadium, ie of the 16,390 available seats, about 36% of those are in the $600+ donation level.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lubrano for Trustee

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Failure to Lead

The Board of Trustees has issued a new statement to rationalize cover their asses explain its decision to fire Joe Paterno.  The following is excerpted from the email I received from Penn State (they also address firing Spanier, but in this football blog, who really cares about that):
Our decisions were guided by our obligation as Trustees, always, to put the interests of the University first.

While Coach Paterno did his legal duty by reporting that information the next day, Sunday, March 3, to his immediate superior, the then Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley, the Board reasonably inferred that he did not call police. We determined that his decision to do his minimum legal duty and not to do more to follow up constituted a failure of leadership by Coach Paterno.

The Board spent hours on conference calls between Saturday, Nov. 5, and Tuesday, Nov. 8, discussing appropriate action and our fiduciary responsibility as the Trustees. On Wednesday evening, Nov. 9, we met in person in State College. At about 9 pm, we unanimously made the difficult decision that Coach Paterno's failure of leadership required his removal as football coach.

We are sorry for the unfortunate way we had to deliver the news on the telephone about an hour later to Coach Paterno. However, we saw no better alternative. Because Coach Paterno's home was surrounded by media representatives, photographers and others, we did not believe there was a dignified, private and secure way to send Board representatives to meet with him there. Nor did we believe it would be wise to wait until the next morning, since we believed it was probable that Coach Paterno would hear the news beforehand from other sources, which would be inappropriate.
Why is it that the only two people who actually did anything (Paterno and McQueary) are the only ones being punished (Spanier notwithstanding???)  The attorney generals (Gricar and Corbett) didn't do anything.  Keystone Central didn't do anything--the victim's mother did!  Is it really Joe Paterno's decision to initiate an investigation.  The last time I looked, he was the FOOTBALL COACH.  Most employers don't want employees calling the police until supervisors have been contacted and then letting the higher-ups handle that.  Paterno calling the police would have been a breach of school policy!  And in the end, at the time Paterno was aware, Sandusky was no longer on PSU property and presumably neither was the victim.  Paterno calling the police accomplishes nothing that Curley calling the police would have.

To the best of my knowledge, Tim Curley was not fired.  He is on administrative leave.  How is his failure to lead not worthy of being summarily fired?  Paterno didn't even get the dignity of administrative leave pending an investigation.

I'm so mad I don't know what else to say.  Fortunately, a BWI poster submitted an amusing poll which pretty much sums up a lot of the bull shit here:
What would the smart, successful, and well educated members of the Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees have people believe?

1. The head football coach is the most important and powerful position in the university. It is why we spent two months meticulously interviewing and finding the right candidate, and only two minutes finding the new president.

2. We care, especially about children, because when we heard 1) Child, 2) Sandusky, 3) Sexual Assult, and 4) On Campus, we could not think of a single question to ask.

3. Even though our BOT members are not allowed to talk, we know at least one of our esteemed members would leak the news between when we finished up at 10 pm and the next morning.

4. We really, really, really thought we had all the details because Spanier and Baldwin told us so, even though Spanier was only present for his testimony, Baldwin said she could not divulge details, and no one else's testimony mattered.

5. The $10 million plus we will be spending on this scandal was all necessary and well thought out, in line with our commitment to be responsible stewards of the university.

6. We gave Lanny orders to prioritize the university foremost in his duties, not us.

7. We plan to honor someone who brought such shame to our university that we had to fire him. Head coach emeritus is quite the honor afterall, and completely consistent with our actions.

8. Spanier issued a statement that did not reflect our views, even though when presented with the opportunity to clarify what we believed, we issued nothing.

9. We are very disappointed in the university employees for following university procedures. But if they hadn't followed them, we would have fired them for cause.

10. Even though everyone at the university involved actually took actions and followed up, we didn't think it merited any actions on our part. Our employees exhibited a real failure of leadership.
Number 9 is currently winning after 30 total votes.

Even John "I can't beat Michigan to save my job" Cooper was able to see the situation clearly when he commented--and I paraphrase here--Jim Tressel got fired in Columbus for not reporting a wrong, while Joe Paterno got fired for reporting what he was supposed to report.

The whole angle that PSU covered this up to protect its image is absurd.  Had Curley or Schultz contacted the police, everything would have been fine.  If the police/DA found evidence, then Penn State would look like the hero for bringing the monster to justice.  If they found nothing, then what more could be done?  How would bringing Sandusky to justice in 2002 have negatively impacted PSU or the football program?  Penn State had nothing to hide in 2002.  Sandusky was no longer employed by them.  It doesn't make any sense to cover anything up at that point.

Yes, the LEADER SHIP at the level of the Board of Trustees is a BIG SHIP.  Like the Titanic.

Maybe the next BOT meeting should be held at Olive Garden.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lavender and Gray

Normally, I wouldn't even mention something like this, but apparently Eleven Warriors (or is that Eleven Worriers?) linked a picture I farked likening Jim Tressel to Richard Nixon.  This was in the context of a post praying suggesting that Penn State leave the Big Ten.  Along with Iowa.  That makes me feel better.
When I fantasized about casting Penn State's gutter-dwelling, cowardly fanbase out of the Big Ten, the only time I thought the Federal Justice Department would be involved included necrophilia charges centering on some sick abuse of Joe Paterno's corpse. (RIP Joe Paterno, who tragically was eaten alive by a pack of wild wasps in 2009.)
Sadly, the Federal├ęs are now sniffing around an alleged cover-up of the Jerry Sandusky incident. I'm sure Penn State's fans/lawyers would argue something like "AW SHUCKS, it's just mere string of unfortunate coincidences over the course of nearly 15 years." I hope the judge shits on them when they do.
The Big Ten should not be associated with anything that is going to come out of this federal investigation into Penn State. Federal prosecutors, especially the one looking into Penn State, aren't known for games. So just know if Penn State catches a case, it's curtains for them.
If Penn State had any dignity, they would have forfeited the rest of their 2011 season. They didn't. In fact, they hired another football coach and plan on fielding a team in 2012. I hope it doesn't take a Federal incitement to prove how disgusting this is.
All Penn State players should be given their immediate and unconditional scholarship release and a stuffed Nittany Lion head should be mounted on the wall as a lesson to the next group of people who think "the brand" is more important than systematic child molestation. Trust me, Delaney, you won't regret this one.
Yes indeed.  Every single person in Pennsylvania--and especially the football fans of Penn State--feel that the Penn State name is more important than child molestation.  We should just dismantle Beaver Stadium, sell the scrap iron, and donate the money to rape victims.  The problem will be solved and no more kids will ever be molested again. 

Seriously?  So if you're girlfriend asks you to kill someone to prove that you love her, it's okay to do it?  Doing something wrong for a good reason doesn't make it good.  It's still wrong.  Blaming--and more importantly punishing the current team--does nothing to rectify the wrongs allegedly committed and doesn't provide one iota of relief to any victim that has suffered.  How can rational human beings have such convoluted thinking?  Oh wait!  It's a Buckeye site.  I answered my own question. 

Which brings me to the reason I actually started this post . . .



Apparently Pope Urban has pissed some people off already.
Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer sent a letter of apology to a campus lesbian and gay advocacy group for a team rule that punished "loafing" players by making them wear lavender jerseys during practice.

Responding to the Scarlet and Gay complaint, Meyer said players pulling up short for the second time during drills would be made to wear another color other than the "purple" jerseys.
"The use of purple was never intended to be used to offend anyone, but since it has, we have taken steps to change the color," Meyer wrote in his return letter March 1. "Please accept our sincere apologies."
Meyer added, "We have core values of respect and honor within our program, and these are two principles that are central to my personal life, my coaching and to Ohio State and its athletics programs. Bias has absolutely no role in how we think or operate."
Scarlet and Gay president Tim Valentine welcomed the swift change.
There's a Scarlet and Gay president?  I guess there's nothing wrong with that on multiple levels.  Is Northwestern pissed because he called the lavender jerseys purple?  Does Iowa still have the pink visitor's locker room?  Does anyone care?  Oh wait.  They want to throw Iowa out of the conference too!!!!

Breneman Picks Penn State

Highly sought after TE Adam Breneman has picked Penn State!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What About Bob?

Penn State's new head football coach, Bill O'Brien, fondly referred to as BO'B or just BOB on the Internet, seems to be taking fans and writers by storm.  Initial shucks and awww have given way to more optimistic shock and awe, riding a wave of several high profile recruits already verballed to PSU or strongly considering doing so.

Rich Scarcella (in the York Dispatch) writes:
I like him," Mike Guman said. "I like him."
Guman doesn't know whether O'Brien will be a successful head coach at Penn State. Neither do any of us.
But Guman, ESPN/ABC analyst Matt Millen and many other former Nittany Lions like what they've seen from O'Brien in his first two months on the job.

I've been impressed so far. He seems real, energetic, smart, disciplined and detail-oriented.

O'Brien already has dismissed one player, Shawn Oakman, for "a violation of team rules." He's also instituted "early-bird runs" at 5 a.m. Mondays for guys who cut class.
"We're gonna do things the right way here," he said. "We're gonna go to class and we're gonna play good, tough football. There are certain things off the field that we are not gonna tolerate."
He's replaced longtime strength and conditioning coach John Thomas with Craig Fitzgerald, who directs an Olympic-style lifting program that uses free weights, another change.
So he can talk the talk . . . but can he walk the walk?

Many Internet fans are excited.  In one thread on BWI, we see comments like these:
I truly believe that the crumbling empire is quickly being recontructed with new, younger and energetic life with the hiring of BO'B and his staff. All those kids who would have loved to play at a formerly "vibrant" Penn State, but went elsewhere due to wanting to play under a more energized program, are now seeing that this program has life again. Therefore, I think that the 3 recent commitments we say this week is just the start of a flood of highly talented kids who will commit over the next few weeks and months. Assuming BO'B has this current team show life and vast improvements over the last 2 years, we should see the rebuilding of this empire similar to what Alabama has seen since Nick Saban came there.
Can you pass me some of that Kool Aid?  I will admit that the early recruiting success is exciting, but it remains to be seen whether it can be sustained and whether these kids are still on the list next February.
I believe that the PSU FB "Sleeping Giant" is awakening!
Yeah, and I think the schemes, particularly passing game are/will be a step up; the passing QB and a more sophisticated passing game has become a bigger part of college FB.
I do believe the situation is very analogous to what has happened with the Wrestling Team. All the parts of the machine are there, the remaining question is whether O'B is the same quality mechanic that Cael is.
O'Brien looks like he can get PSU up to date, or even ahead of the curve, in this area.

But not everyone is all in with BOB.  In addition to some realists who responded in the above thread we have guys like Robert Spahn who wrote in the Altoona Mirror Voice of the Fan:
For as much success that O'Brien has enjoyed in Foxborough, he's endured just as much, if not more, failure in his previous stops as a coordinator, including at Georgia Tech and Duke.
O'Brien has been marginal at best when working with quarterbacks not named Tom Brady. The Patriots were already established and boasted three Super Bowl victories within seven seasons before O'Brien ever set foot inside of Gillette Stadium.
One could even argue that O'Brien was unable to generate the points needed in the two Super Bowl appearances the Pats made since he arrived, both of which were offensive duds, according to Patriots' standards.
Now that O'Brien has finally begun his PSU duties fulltime in the wake of the recent Super Bowl loss, the PSU faithful are anticipating an offense that resembles what Brady does with the Patriots.
That is so unrealistic it's almost laughable.
Crystal Ball Run writer Kevin McGuire collects a number of opinions such as:
While he worked in college previously, he was never a sparkling can't miss coordinator, and has never been the head man at any level. Plus, the recent track record of New England Patriots offensive coordinators is none too special. After all, maybe Tom Brady "made" Charlie Weis and Josh McDaniels much more than the other way around.
Still, I like the hire... a lot, actually.

I understand O'Brien detractors but I disagree with them on many levels. First the necessary requirement of head coaching experience is becoming a bit overblown for my liking.
 
If folks want to belly ache about something get upset with the defensive coordinator hire of Ted Roof, that's the actual head scratcher here. Beyond that I'm pretty pleased with the prospects of what O'Brien has to offer Penn State.
 
It almost doesn't matter who Penn State hired. In my mind, I don't see any way that it's not a long-term rebuilding process there. I think just about any coach is going to struggle there for the next four or five years. Any discussion of Bill O'Brien has to be evaluated in that context.
Given the general lack of interest from high-profile candidates, O'Brien actually makes for a decent hire.

The idea that this program is "broken" or can't be quickly salvaged doesn't fly with me. Michael laid out the fact that at worst-- worst-- Penn State is still ahead of the curve on basically half the league. And given the resources they have, there's no reason they should fall off pace with Nebraska and Iowa, if not surpass them. Everything is there for that to happen, and for the Nittany Lions to firmly entrench themselves as one of the top 2-3 teams year-in and year-out in this conference.
At this point, we just have to give the man a chance.  Unfortunately, history is not on BOB's side.  The reality is that most programs struggle for a few--if not many years--after a legend is gone.  Although F$U started last season highly ranked, have they returned to the prominence of being in the Top 5 nearly every season like Bowden boasted for almost two decades?  Is Nebraska back?  Alabama took a long time to recover after the Bear.  And after Gene Stallings.  Notre Dame has not had a great year since Holtz was on the sidelines.  Oklahoma after Switzer.  Pitt after Johnny Majors (the first time.)  I could go on and on.
 
And the schedule this season is not as favorable as perhaps it has been of late.  Ohio and Temple are both coming off bowl game wins.  Navy is a tough opponent.  Virginia lost their bowl game, but spilt the series with us the last time we played them.  In the Big Ten, we have O$U and Wisconsin at home, but road trips to Iowa and Nebraska that will be grueling.  In most years under Paterno, that OOC schedule would be good for 3-4 wins.  Now, I unfortunately could see a 2-2 start before a tough Big Ten schedule.
 
But that is not a prediction, and hopefully come August I will find my alcohol usual unfounded optimism.
 
So I leave you now with another BOB (Big Ol' Bear):
 
 
Holy Hell, Bob, that's a big ol' bear you got there!
 
•BOB is Big Ol' Bear, the party size bear.


•Weighs about 27 pounds!

•That's over 5,000 times larger than a regular gummy bear!

•Over 450 servings per BOB

•BOB is carefully hand made by gummy artisans in the USA with the best ingredients

•BOB is gluten-free!