Saturday, August 31, 2013

Paterno Would Have Loved It

It was a close game, and the defense made the winning play . . . Joe Paterno's kind of game.

Penn State survived a late Syracuse drive to win 23-17.

Full Recap to follow later . . .

Thursday, August 29, 2013

College Football is Back!

So the 2013 season opens with some great games today . . . Indiana taking on Indiana State, Minnesota against the Rebels of UNLV.

Well, that was exciting, wasn't it.

At least the title was exciting.

Minnesota is currently leading UNLV 30-13 in the second half.

In a slightly more interesting, but with no Big Ten implications game, South Carolina is rolling over UNC 27-10 late in the third quarter.  You would think UNC would have some kind of advantage, given that the NCAA refuses to punish them for anything.  Oh, well, The Ol' Ball Coach will punish them tonight.  But even God is helping out the Tar Holes, as lightning has delayed the inevitable.

And Penn State kicks off the season against Syracuse this Saturday at 3:30 at Met Life Stadium.  TV coverage will be ABC/ESPN 2.  The Lions are favored by 7.5 points.

The big question on everyone's mind is . . . .will the sanctions be reduced?  Well, perhaps it is, but the big question that everyone is waiting for an answer to is WHO will be the quarterback.  (I'm thinking it will be Fergusen, but I wouldn't be surprised if Hack leads the charge.)

QB controversy is nothing new for Penn State fans.  In fact, I think Paterno took a perverse joy in stringing the media along with his "the job is wide open" rhetoric that almost always ended up with the more senior signal caller taking the field.  I know.  Rob Bolden started as a true Frosh.  Yeah, that happened a lot.  Give me a break.

The one thing you could count on was that the guy taking the field in the first game was not necessarily the best QB on the bench.  Paterno loved leadership, loyalty and brains--not necessarily in that order.  Hence, guys like Michael Robinson saw their talent wasted until their senior seasons, leaving a wake of less-than-stellar signal callers in their wake.  Now that is not to say that MRob lacked loyalty, brains or leadership, but for whatever reason, those skills were not evident until he became a senior.    Don't expect me to make any sense this early in the season.

But I will tell you one thing about O'Brien.  I have complete confidence that he will pick the guy that is best for the job as a quarterback.  He may not be the best leader.  Or the most loyal guy.  Or the one that has the highest GPA.  But he will be a guy that knows the playbook and can get the job done.  Hack or Fergie--you will see some points scored.

The magic he worked with McGloin last season was just short of miraculous.  McGloin still had his weaknesses (no real long threat, and sometimes threw into bad coverage,) but O'Brien seemed to minimize those faults and use McGloin's talents to the max.  If he can do half that job with EITHER of these two quarterbacks, I don't think we'll have any problem at the QB position.

Depth will be the biggest concern, mostly because of the scholarship limits.  As such, injuries early on--and even down the stretch, could be a huge difference between 7-5 and 10-2.

You read that correctly.  TEN AND TWO.  That's my prediction for the season.  I see Syracuse, EMU, UCF, Kent State, Indiana,  Illinois, Minnesota, and Purdue as victories.  Maybe I'm just overconfident.  Maybe I've been drinking too much Sam Adams.  Indiana is actually getting better, but to make an argument for an upset here is to take a loser's perspective.  That's the kind of crazy talk that ends up getting inside your head.  You lose football games.  You get your girlfriend pregnant.  You lose the lottery.  You get an STD.  You should have gotten Direct TV instead of cable.

So stop thinking like that.  You're Penn freaking State for crying out loud.  Indiana has never beaten you and this is not going to be that year.  Period.  We are not going there.  Ain't nobody got time for that!  Minnesota?  Are you watching the UNLV game?  Seriously?  We could beat most of these teams with 55 scholarships and O'Brien blindfolded.

Which leaves THEM, Ohio State, Nebraska and Wisconsin.  The usual suspects, and Ohio State players are used to being suspects.  I'd love to see this team run the table, but I have not yet had that much to drink.  I don't think there's enough in the house for that.  So I compromised on two of the four, while most sportswriters and pundits are saying 8-4 and 9-3. 


I actually would like to see us beat THEM and OSU, and drop the last two.  We could blame it on the season being too long and not enough depth.  But more likely, the wins, if they come, will be against THEM and Wisconsin, with heartbreaking losses to the Huskers and Buckeyes.

Personally, I don't care how you slice it, as long as we win two of those games.  Hell, I'd even give up one of the "sure" victories to win 3 of those games.  If a loss to Syracuse means we win all four, I'll dress up like a piece of fruit this Saturday and pray for a Syracuse win.  But that's just not the way this thing works.

And besides, I don't look good in orange.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Where Else Would You Rather Be?

From YouTube.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Who Has the Culture Problem?

Check out this map from Deadspin:

This is just a guess, but I'm thinking Penn State isn't the only University with a "culture problem."

Pot meet kettle, thank you very much.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Photo from Twitter.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Touchdown McGloin!

Way to go, Matt!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Burn the Ships

Has it really been two weeks since I last posted? Actually it's been 16 days but who's counting?

I can assure you that my lack of posting has nothing to do with my enthusiasm for Penn State football. In fact, I'm really looking forward to this season. Despite being shafted by the NCAA, and the myriad injustices foisted upon Penn State under the guise of punishing pedophilia, I think this team is poised to have a great season.

How can that be?

Am I forgetting the sanctions?

Are we not a linebacker injury away from being Pitt?

Did anyone look at the schedule?  Ohio State (#2) , THEM (#17), Nebraska (#18) and Wisconsin (#23) are in the USA Today preseason poll.  And we all know how accurate those preseason predictions are, don't we?

How could I be so optimistic?

Coach O'Brien.

Coach Craig Fitzgerald.

John Urschel.

Christian Hackenberg.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

A football program is not the University anymore than the University is defined solely by it's football team.  It is not the tradition.  It is not the legendary coach who is no longer at the helm.  It is not what you did last year or fifty years ago. 

No.  It is the people that are here.  Now.  And what they can and will do.  It's not always the size of the dog that matters in the fight--mostly it's the size of the fight in the dog.

If you have a few minutes, I recommend you check out this Matt Hayes article on The Sporting News.   Here are a few highlights . . .
This is the way the NCAA wanted it, you know. After Jerry Sandusky was caught, after the outrage of his horrific crimes grew, the only thing left for the suddenly scrambling NCAA was to make it all go away with unprecedented punishment on those picking up the pieces.

“You’re going to hear people tell you that you have nothing to play for,” O’Brien says, his voice rising with each point he makes. “They’ll say we don’t have enough players; that we’re going to struggle. They’ll say we can’t win the Leaders Division. Bull---- we can’t win the division.”

Again, if you have the time, WATCH the Death Crawl Video O'Brien used.

You’ll never know just how good you can be until you give maximum effort.

It was Fitzgerald who came up with this 16th Century idea for the 21st Century world.  
Back in 1519, Conquistador Hernando Cortes convinced a small group of 500 men to take the world’s richest treasure by overwhelming the mighty Aztec empire. And to make sure they would, to further motivate his men to fight, Cortes had his men burn their own ships when they landed in Mexico.  
If they were going home, he said, they were going home using the Aztecs’ ships.  
The Penn State players sat in awe while watching the Death Crawl video, each wearing a stark white T-shirt with the words “Burn the Ships” emblazoned in navy blue on the back.  
The message is simple: all or nothing—complete and total commitment. No matter the sanctions. No matter the scholarship losses. No matter the odds.
Are you starting to feel excited yet?  The ships/scholarships parallel is fantastic.
“Five scholarship losses (a year) would be critical,” says one Big Ten coach. “Twenty is the death penalty. They just didn’t give it a name.”  
Technically, the Lions—who return 16 starters from last year’s eight-win team—could have more than 65 scholarship players this season. But a source told Sporting News the PSU administration wanted to get to 65 by the 2013 season for two reasons: to show the NCAA they were serious about abiding by the rules, and the hope that the NCAA would allow the program to begin the four-year run of 65 scholarship players this fall, thus giving the program one slight advantage in digging out from underneath itself.  
Like there’s any advantage to paying for someone else’s sins.  
“Why complain about it?” said Penn State linebacker Glenn Carson. “We can still control one thing they can’t take from us: we can win.”
Okay.  They technically took away Paterno's wins, but we know what Carson means.  Let the scoreboard do the talking.

Penn State won't be back because the NCAA or the Big Ten says they're back.  It won't be because I blog about it, or some sportswriter anoints it so.

Penn State will be Penn State because of the players, coaches and fans, and because of the professors, teachers, students, and alumni.