Monday, March 31, 2008

A Ridiculous Exercise In Recruiting

I'm getting a little ahead of the curve here, but the 2009 recruiting class is going to be one of the most important in recent history. After having it's hands tied a little bit do to the small number of available slots, the staff will have a lot more head room in 2009 with 25 scholarships available. If you are interested in where exactly Penn State will have it's holes, Mike his that shit locked down over at BSD (last episode, including links to all positions, here).

Well the runners are off the blocks and lets see where the contestants stand. OBVIOUS DISCLAIMER: The current date is March 31, 2008. We have a long way to go. This Top 100 list will change substantially, players will jump ship right up to signing day (huhumcoughShawcouch), the coaching ranks are infested with Snake Oil Salesmen who wear funny hats.

A quick look at the Rivals Top 100 yields the following verbal commitments (note: schools are in order of their highest ranked verbal commitment):

SchoolVerbalsPlayer Rank
USC61, 15, 21, 30, 77, 97
LSU24, 91
FSU35, 37, 92
Michigan210, 42
Texas511, 33, 59, 65, 69
OSU532,38, 47, 48, 88
MSU250, 64
Oklahoma St170

Couple things to note: Penn State is, of course, absent. USC, Texas and Ohio State have a pretty big jump on the rest of the pack. North Carolina? WTF?

Moving on to the all important in-state race. There are five players on the current Top 100 who reside in the Commonwealth, none have given verbals. Of the five, all but the lowest ranked player are considering Penn State. That doesn't mean much right now except that they were given an offer. Most of these kids have lists with half the D1a teams on them. No bad news to report, however.

I wouldn't normally be looking at this now except to point out that you have to really be concerned about Paterno's situation. Where in the past it was always a question of "Will he be my coach in four years? Three?" we've moved right on up to "Will he be my coach, ever?" While bashing Paterno's recruiting is popular right now (and for the most part warranted), there are players who, once announcing their commitment, simply say "I'm excited to play for such a great coach." The name sells, even if it's somewhat marginal, it matters.

The current group on the recruiting trail appear to be in the worst possible situation. The team has had two average years in a row. The Paterno card has been removed from the deck, even if temporarily. Hell, they can't even say that they will be in State College next year.

To get to the point: I don't know why the hell they are waiting so long to make a decision. It is clearly hurting the program.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bye Bye Fergie [Enter NCAA]

The 'Gridiron Bash', a series of concerts being held at schools around the country on Spring Game Eve (including a show by Fergie in Beaver Stadium), has been given the axe by the NCAA:

NCAA rules do not allow student-athletes to participate in any promotional activities or appearances for a commercial venture. NCAA rules also do not allow student-athletes to receive free or reduced benefits, such as free concert tickets, that are not generally available to the student body. These rules are in place to maintain amateur status of student-athletes.

While it has been stated that the organizers have been planning this event for a year and a half, they did not contact the NCAA to ensure compliance until last week.

That last part blows my mind. You get 16 big time acts lined up to play huge venues and you forget to ask permission?

Several sources are reporting that the concert is 'postponed', but it appears the NCAA isn't moving on this one. On the NCAA not allowing players anywhere near the for-profit concert series:
"They were a very integral part of all Gridiron Bashes nationwide," Brandwein [concert promoter] said. "Student athletes were not being asked to promote the concert, they were participating in our event but not being asked to promote. Without the participation of football players and coaches, it really would destroy the essence of what Gridiron Bash is all about."

Someone is losing a lot of money on this one.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Hooray Free Agency: Michigan OL to Ohio State?

Ohio State has beaten Michigan four years in a row now, six of the last seven. They've been to two MNC's in a row. Pryor appeared a lock to follow DickRod to Michigan until Ohio State decided they'd take him instead.

Besides the nation's #1 recruit, they also landed the #1 and #4 offensive tackle, overall the #4 class nationally. Hell, they already have five of the Rival's 2009 Top 100 prospects committed.

So what do they do? Well, become the likely tranferee of one of Michigan's best lineman. He needs a new car thought the Michigan program has lost its "family values".

"We haven't talked to anyone," Mike Boren said Thursday about transfer possibilities. "We probably got 100 phone calls from schools, I-AA to Notre Dame.

So it's no lock, but the killer is that this kid comes with a bonus prize, his little brother Zack Boren. A lineback being recruited by Michigan, Ohio State and, you guessed it, Penn State.

Said his father:
"I'm not going to have two kids at two universities."

HT: The Wizard of Odds

Blue and White Roundtable: Thank God For Content Spring Roster Edition!

Thanks to Mike at BSD for putting together a very good set of questions for this edition of the BWRT. First your exam materials: Spring Practice Roster and FOS Analysis.

And if you haven't already hit these guys up this morning:

Black Shoe Diaries
Run Up The Score
The Nittany Line
There Is No Name On My Jersey
William F. Yurasko
The Nittany Notebook
Tangled Up In White and Blue

Let’s start with the ugly news. Chris Baker, Chris Bell, Phil Taylor, Knowledge Timmons, and Navorro Bowman are all sitting out the spring practice sessions. What impact will this have on the 2008 season?

Well, of course, not good. What is bothering me the most is how talented Baker and Bowman are. Bell also. I don't see Andrew Quarless on your list, and to some extent he's been a disappointment, but his name is also one I'd rather see on the roster. From a pure football perspective, losing several key guys is going to hurt us, period. Many will probably still make heavy contributions, but you'd like to see the full team work together in the spring, especially with what I think will be a dangerous Oregon State team week two of the season.

But I want to take the other side on this, too. For starters, there is actually some punishment being handed out and it appears as though the team needs this. Secondly, after two years of stagnant play, maybe a little shuffling will do the team some good. All these guys may end up starting again during the season, but they will at least have to prove to everyone they are in fact deserving of the spot.

Would you move Sean Lee to middle linebacker like Paul Posluszny in 2006 and Dan Connor in 2007?

This is a difficult question because you really want to make sure you are truly taking advantage of how good Sean Lee is. And lets not joke around, he will probably end up being the best of the three. Paul will be known for his leadership, and Connor ended up a little better statistically, but Lee brings both aspects to the table and I can't help but get excited about it. Also, there is this:

And especially this (near 1:00):

Anyway, back to the question, no. Why? I know the middle is important from a leadership standpoint, but it's a different position and unless the circumstances demand it (which I don't think is the case), I say leave Lee where he is.

If Lee stays on the outside, who would you start at the other outside linebacker assuming Bowman is out of the picture?

Tyrell Sales.

Which position on the field is our weakest link?

Just like last year, I am most concerned about our secondary. King would get burned on faceguards, but he could run with any receiver in the nation. Timmons will have a hard time getting on the field. So we are a bit thin. The saving grace here was the pickup of D'Anton Lynn. I think he gets on the field right away.

Who is your pony in the quarterback contro…uh, competition?

I think the smart money is on Dyarll Clark here. Besides having a year-up on Devlin, there was this quote from last week:

Center A.Q. Shipley doesn't have any doubt that Clark will be a leader on and off the field.

"He's champing at the bit right now," Shipley said. "He realizes this is his shot. You could tell throughout the whole winter conditioning program that he wants to make the most of it. He realizes it's his job.

"He has mobility. He can run a little bit. When he gets in the huddle, he commands respect, and that's what you want in your quarterback. He can throw the ball better than people think." [emphasis mine]

Now I understand that doesn't mean the job is already filled, just that it sounds like A.Q. thinks it's Clark's to lose.

Name three players that absolutely have to step up their performance this spring?

A.J. Wallace, Lydell Sargeant, and Kevin Kelly.

Lightning Round

Who is your pick to win the Red Worrell award given to the offensive player that shows the most improvement during spring practice?

OL Mike Lucian

Who is your pick for the Jim O’Hora award given to the defensive player that shows the most improvement?

LB Josh Hull

Your 2008 team captains are…?

Sean Lee, A.Q. Shipley, Derrick Williams

Thursday, March 27, 2008

These Are Trying Times [Plagiar-Ageism]

Not because of any great travesty, but as a blogger weeks like this are a nightmare.

Football is over, 2008 speculation has run it's course. Yes, we have spring ball, but no one is talking. Not Joe, not Graham, not the players...even the anonymous sources have been silent.

But we truck on, as all blogger must, into the depths of what is available. The reason for this drying of the well is due, of course, to Paterno's contract situation. Until things are resolved, we probably aren't going to be getting much in the way of slam dunk material.

So, out of the depths of boredom, a new beast has risen: please welcome Profiles In Plagiar-Ageism. The title is stolen, in part, from the fantastic series RUTS has been running on the potential Paterno replacement. He, of course, stole the title from the same series run by Brian after Carr's announcement.

Declaring the start of a series is a dangerous endeavor, but the past is important to understand in order to make ill fated predictions about the future, so the past must be studied. Prepare to be historized.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More Big Ten Hate Mail

It's So Easy!

Bears Neccessity has examined the out of conference schedules of the six BCS conferences. Guess who got a D-?
Most impressive win: Ohio State 33, Washington 14. I wish I were joking about this. But yes, Ohio State dominating the second half against a team that would eventually finish in last in the Pac-10 provided the Big 10’s shining moment in conference football.

Most embarrassing defeat: Take one guess. (If you said Duke over Northwestern, you are funny and wrong).

Toughest schedule: Michigan. So they have that going for them.

Easiest schedule: Ohio State’s schedule was pathetic, but since they managed to find a big conference opponent, I’ll go easy on them. We’ll go with Penn State, who faced a couple of MAC/Sun Belt teams along with Notre Dame–their combined record was 13-35.

Noteworthy: The Big 10 did not defeat a single team above .500 from the big conferences. Not one. Not any. No no no.

Unfortunately, he is 90% on here. Penn State being 'the worst' is a bit of a stupid distinction when you have schedules like Washington-Kent-Akron-Youngstown State (OSU) or Ball State-Western Michigan-Akron-Indiana St. In fact Indiana State was 0-11 in the Gateway Conference. Notre Dame totally sucks but they were still better than those four teams...and FIU was pretty bad too but they probably could have won one game in the Gateway. Yeah I'm going with Indiana here.

Anyway, back to the point. Yes, the Big Ten played some cupcakes. Not as many as other conferences, but I agree they struggled at the top end this year with the faltering of Notre Dame and Washington (although the very surprising rise of Oregon and Missouri might compensate).

In the end, these scheduling arguments are the result of a pretty crappy championship system. They have these discussions in basketball, but it is to determine who is the 30th and 31st best team instead of the 2nd and 3rd. Besides that, you don't have to have a good schedule to be a good team.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Of the 920 higher education institutions in the country, Penn State manged to gain the 22nd highest amount of cash via congressional earmarks among those schools.

This isn't very surprising, when it comes to money Old Main usually doesn't mess around. So 22nd is good for about $15.3 million. Not bad, but with an operating budget near $3.4 billion, hardly significant.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Regarding Succession

Some interesting quotes from the players:

"He'll be here, that's what I think," quarterback Daryll Clark said. "I don't think he's going anywhere. A lot of people who say [negative things] are people speaking from the outside. They really don't know what's going to happen.

"I feel that if something was going to happen, Joe would have probably addressed it already. He hasn't said anything."

Now the players standing behind Joe and saying that he will probably coach forever is nothing new, but at least we know they are in the dark as well.
"We see it every day in the papers," said center A.Q. Shipley from Moon High School. "We can't do anything about it. He's our coach this year, and whatever's going to happen after that, no one really knows.

"He's done a lot for this place. I think they owe it to him to keep him. I think he deserves to be here."

A little defensive. And again, saying "no one really knows" what will happen is 2009 is fairly clueless for one of the 2008 captains.

Fellow caption:
"[Coach Paterno] is going to go out on his own terms," Connor said. "He's been around long enough to know if he's ready for it or not. He's got a bundle of bowl wins and he's had a lot of success here. I don't think he'll be run out."

Hmmmm....there was a time when I thought that this whole battle of the titans thing was overstated, but it's pretty clear that this is for real. For as much as Paterno appears to be keeping literally everyone out of the loop, the players do appear to realize things aren't all roses.

So what the hell already, right? Those with power met in DC this weekend to discuss non-football related issues. But, off the record for some reason, most agreed that Paterno was going to be brought up in the big room.

Will Hannah Montana Save Us?

Ah, ticket scalpers, the bane of my existence. Bastards have stolen hundreds from me over the years, usually under anonymous identities on ebay. One thing that would really grind my gears was attempting to haggle down a fellow student during the post-dark ages so that a visiting friend could tag along inside the gates.

Most of my fellow students were rather shameless about it, honestly. I got out right before things turned crazy. Following the Orange Bowl, season tickets sold out in 13 days. The next year? 59 minutes. Things will likely be just as bad, or worse, going forward...but this brings me to the point.

Who is benefiting from ticket scalping? Not the fans, that's for sure. Not the schools, they don't get a cut. Not even the government...I've never been charged 6% sales tax by some shady character standing in front of McLanahans.

Que angry soccer moms. Legislators in New York are doing what they do best, writing up legislation that probably won't get passed:

Leroy Comrie, the chairman of the Consumer Affairs Committee, will introduce the legislation, officially called the Ticket Resale Consumer Fairness Bill, on Wednesday. The bill mandates that any New York City entertainment venues which receive public funding (which is true for essentially any large venue) must reserve at least 40 percent of tickets for individual customers, publicly announce the number of tickets for sale to individual consumers, and limit individuals buyers to four tickets per day per through any sales medium.

Why all the fuss?
Once upon a time, hardcore fans would camp out to buy tickets. But with the advent of online selling, ticket resale agencies or ticket brokers now swoop in and purchase bulk tickets to theatrical, musical, sporting or athletic events by using advanced computer software. Many times, within minutes, they turn around and sell the tickets for multiple times face value online, at sites such as at StubHub....Ticketmaster estimates that on some days, 80 percent of all ticket requests that arrive at its Web site are generated by the automated software bots.

Interesting, so what triggered all the legal action? Well, scalpers starting breaking rule number one: Don't piss off the parents of spoiled rich white girls. Hannah Montana, some type of fake singer, has been touring the country and parents have been shelling out thousands of dollars a ticket so their young ones can see her live.

So bringing this a little closer to home, no one needs to worry, PSU is on it!
Unfortunately, there is no way to control students reselling their tickets, said Greg Myford, associate athletic director of marketing and communications...."We're looking at how we can police [scalping] and, more importantly, act on it," he said.

Right, actually doing something, thanks for laying it out for us Greg.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Poor Man's Vegas

I'm out for a long weekend, so you will have to somehow do without my Friday ranting. This really shouldn't be an issue as you'll be sneaking out of the office to watch the Tournament.

For those of you on lock down, I recommend the live feed from CBS Sportsline.

Updated Recruiting List, Post-Pryor Thoughts

Nothing changes, really. Ohio State gets a one spot jump for landing young Terrelle, hardly warrents a repost of the exact same list, but it is March so I'll take it.

The only thing that really hurts is being reminded that we are being dominated on the recruiting trail by schools like Pitt and and Illinois. And what the hell is NC State doing up there?

I think if we were able to learn anything from this whole Pryor thing it's that our staff, specifically the guy running our staff, is most definitely several steps behind even mediocre programs. When Paterno finally made it out of the house to visit Pryor three months after he already made up his mind all I could think about was what could have been had Paterno made, say, half of what some of these other guys are doing. I mean PSU was out, then Joe showed up, and all the sudden we were in the final two. Things, obviously, aren't always what they seem.

I didn't realize at the time, but Joe was actually holding us back. I was, of course, blinded by my homerizm. Remember this?

"I'm really interested," he said. "This isn't just being respectful of my father, this is thinking things through and making sure I have all the info I need before I make a big decision. I really like Coach Bradley at Penn State and they could end up being the right fit for me, I'm not sure."
Or this?
One of them was that I'd heard Reitz had told a few people off the record that, were PSU defensive coordinator Tom Bradley the head coach, Pryor would be a Nittany Lion now.

Ya, ouch. So while we thought Paterno was "saving" the day by getting on the recruiting trail, it turns out he was just giving Terrelle an excuse to both please his father and deflect any instate displeasure with an Ohio State commitment until after his basketball season ended.

So instead of leaving me wondering how many more recruits Paterno could have turned to our side, I'm wondering how many more recruits were driven away by the fact things are headed for train wreck in State College.

Fire Joe Morgan Would Love This [Don't Do It Dolphins]

You are one of the worst teams of all time and you are going to blow the #1 pick an a mediocre quarterback because he has..."intangibles"?!? This better be ESPN bullshit because otherwise, there needs to be an investigation into the Dolphins tanking this thing on purpose.

He's the most mediocre quarterback to be considered as a #1 overall first round pick since Tim Couch. Ya, the one that takes steriods.

I mean, if we are going down this road, Morelli will probably still be on the board.

The University of Ohio State

Thee University?.

“If everyone’s here,” Pryor said to start the news conference, “University of Ohio State.” He then unzipped his windbreaker to reveal an Ohio State T-shirt and donned an OSU hat. His parents, Craig and Thomasina, also revealed Ohio State shirts.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

By The Time This Gets To Your Reader

Terrelle Pryor will have pulled off the greatest mind-fuck of all time. Committing to Ohio State despite our greatest efforts to convince ourselves Penn State had a shot. The OSU Media Relations program is eagerly awaiting his enrollment in courses.

There are rumors he delayed his decision in order to soften his reception at the BJC during his high school playoff run. While this makes sense at first, most of the students were on break over the weekend. Although the fact that he never took his 'official' to Penn State or Oregon does lend some credibility to this.

I was never concerned about not getting Pryor as a commitment, the issue is that I don't know if I really want to watch Penn State play against him.

This Is Getting Rediculous

So the days of rationalization are way behind us now. Our program has a problem. Yes, some of the charges are trumped up, and yes being drunk on St. Patrick's day is hardly cause for panic...but come the fuck on already.

See? Being drunk and stupid isn't always a crime.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Regarding Rutgers [Another Day, Another Expansion Story]

You know after Delany came up in yesterday's news, I start looking back at some the moronic things he was saying about Big Ten expansion. As you know, the title of this blog is primarily due to the fact that Penn State has become a bit of an odd man out. Northwestern may be the true black sheep, but they were an original member. We have no rival, we are, at least in part, an East Coast school. We haven't fired our coach in a while (thus providing sportswriters with a back up plan for not knowing anything).

Anyway, I'm straying from the topic here. Rutgers keeps coming up. They came upPenn State joined in 1990 (started play 1993). I was surprised to hear we wanted them to join, the recruiting implications of that are not good. Although, at this point, we have nothing to lose.

I suppose they would provide us with a 'rival', and add some East Coast influence to the Ohio State-Michigan Conference. Of course it's not about football, or even education. It's about money, which the douchbags running things like to refer to as "New Markets".

Now is this going to happen? I'll say 'no'. For starters, Notre Dame is still independent. I have a hard time thinking the Big Ten, with their total lust for cash, would set themselves up for a situation where they select a very average school like Rutgers or Syracuse, only to not have room when D-Day does come for the Irish (and yes, for the record I do think it's inevitable).

You also have to wonder how excited Minnesota would be about traveling 1200 miles to New Jersey. Iowa and Wisconsin aren't that much closer.

Things That Are Not Irish

Fresh off my first ever not-drunk-at-8-am-St-Patrick's-Day, I was able to take a rather sober and shocking perspective when I first walked into the bars last night. This is about as off topic as it gets so I'm going to try and keep it short, but I think the world needs to hear this.

Please see the list of "Things That Are Not Irish" below. For those of you with poor memories I suggest taking notes, or not. I honestly don't car if you do/have done all of these things, but I do want know if I'm the only one who is noticing this stuff.

Things That Are Not Irish

Flashing green things - Green plastic is not Irish, being tacky is not Irish, Miller Lite logos are not Irish. Combining all of these things together does not cancel out how non-Irish they are.

Boston Red Sox hats - There is a very strong Irish presence in the city of Boston. Most of them are being driven out by richer, non-Irish people building nice buildings and driving up property taxes...but that is neither here nor their. If you are celebrating St. Partric's day in a city that is not Boston with a Red Sox had, you are probably not from Boston. If you are from Boston, but now live somewhere else, you are probably from 45 minutes outside of Boston. I'm not here to tell you you can't be a fan, I'm happy you are, just know that wearing a green Sox hat and green Sox t-shirt does not make you Irish. Also, baseball is not Irish.

Notre Dame hats - See above. This is a little complicated because they are technically "The Irish" and do wear green from time to time (although they also wear Blue, Gold, Yellow and White...that's five colors). Anyway, being from Long Island or New Jersey, Chicago or Minnesota, and going to Notre Dame for college does not make you Irish. Acting elite and smarter than everyone else also does not make you Irish.

Asking the Irish band to play 80's rock covers - If 80's rock is your thing more power to you, but the guy is actually from Ireland, I'm pretty sure he's not into Poison. They play 80's rock at these types of bars the other 364 days of the year, let the guy play some actual Irish music, you know, in the whole spirit of being Irish.

Green Miller Lite beer - Kind of self explanatory. Miller Lite is really the opposite of what Ireland is all about. Making it green does not change this.

If you think not doing any of these non-Irish things may leave a void in your holiday celebrations, feel free to supplement them with any of the following Things That Are Irish: bag pipes, being drunk, Guinness, getting in fights.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday Quick Hitters

Why They Told You When You Were Six To Skate With Your Head Up.

"In News You've Already Heard..."

-Michigan is like the rest of the country now. Delany can eat shit (something I've always thought, ever since the "open list of excuses letter").

-Pryor is going to Ohio State because they light more cars on fire there. There are also a lot more parking lots. They do not have their own government or social class system like the great Commonwealth. All of these things make Columbus much less of "a country" than State College.

-The former Nittany Lion mascot once thought up the idea of broadcasting sports on TV and is now suing the BTN.

-I'm eating Chipotle for the 7th business day in a row. I don't care if it's not 'authentic', it good. Period.

Keeping Up The Good Work

In another effort to prove to everyone that the media is full of shit, NFL Draft Scouts has released the top (well, 750) prospects for the 2009 NFL Draft (H/T Boiled Sports, no, I do not read this website).

Who's number one? You guessed it, the most over-rated linebacker of all time, James "Soft Up The Middle" Laurinaitis. He is one of four linebackers in the top ten. Sean Lee come in at #6 overall. The other two LBs up at the top are both from USC.

There are only six 'skill' players in the top 25, which seems odd. The first offensive player on the list is all the way down at #9, Purdue QB Curtis Painter. The next Penn State player after Lee is #54 Derrick Williams.

The two things that really jump out are the number of Big Ten players in the top 50, although half of them appear to be from Ohio State.

Ohio State5
Penn State1
Michigan State1

So not quite half, but that's still 10% of the top 50 on one team. LSU is also loaded on this list, which makes you wonder how much work they actually did. It's pretty easy to take the best players on the best teams and assume they are the better players. However, by most accounts OSU has a loaded roster so this might not be as much bullshit as I wish it was.

This is a terrible predictor and I'm not implying we make anything of it, but just the suggestion that we might have an OSU v LSU rematch makes me want to sick sharp objects into my eyes.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Average, huh? Almost Made It

It was quite the up and down season. I'd go back and rehash it but I don't that that's worth anyone's time. Mike, of course, does an intelligent and thorough wrap up...what follows does not really qualify under those conditions.

Our two best, most experienced players were hurt. Depth, which would normally make up for this kind of misfortune, is not something you associate with Penn State Basketball. There was the sinking ship of the post-Claxon losing skid, and of course the uplifting wins over ranked Michigan State and Indiana, but what really happened this year?

Yes a 7th place finish is a step in the right direction, but I can't remember the bottom half of the Bit Ten being this bad in a long time. Before this year? Finishes at 11 (2007), 8 (2006), 11 (2005), 11 (2004), 11(2003), 11 (2002). That's pretty bad.

I'm not really getting at anything here, I suppose. Penn State's commitment to basketball is about on par with their commitment to keeping tuition stagnate. They have no interest in hiring a high priced football coach, so the thought of them opening up a 'national search' for someone better than Ed is laughable at best. That's the kind of thing that happens when Disney On Ice draws a bigger crowd than the Basketball team.

The team was forced to play freshman, showed improvement, gained a new leader in Battle, and actually came back at the end of a game....I should be happy. You know what, things could be a lot worse. (This is my attempt to end on a positive note.)

And before you ask: 169 more days.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Once, Twice, Three Times A Lady!

Penn State will face Illinois today in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament and attempt to make them their bitch for the third time this year (get it? three times a lady? lame?).

Tip off is at 2:30, which gives us all a convenient way to check out from work for the day during mid-afternoon. Hooray headphones!

Game one of this pillow fight ended 68-64 with Cornley leading the team in points, assists and rebounds. Both him and Claxton managed double-doubles...both will obviously be absent today.

Game two, plays in Happy Valley, was the same result but a totally different cast. The game ended 52-51 with Penn State shooting .400 from behind the three point line. It was Battle's turn to own that night, leading the team in the three major categories. He also hit both his free throws with 7 seconds left to tie and then capture the lead.

So today? I don't really have anything interesting to add. The Indiana win was big...very big considering the talent gap and age of our starters. So what about winning that always difficult third game in a row? Well if this was an NFL game, is sounds like that's a myth. The NFL and NCAA basketball are pretty much the same thing, so the odds are in our favor.

Check back at 2:30 and I'll attempt to post a radio link.

UPDATE: As promised, for you stuck at work, listen here.

LATER, MORE DISAPPOINTING UPDATE: Psych! Despite the fact that they advertise that they broadcast PSU basketball games, and further that their own schedule states that the game is on-air, it is, in fact, not.

This list at GoPSUSports gives over 50 affiliated radio stations, but not one of them is actually airing the game. The Man really fucked us on this one.

Comcast Must Die! The Web Site! [Hammer Time!]

Every once in a while a website comes along that turly captures what the internet is all about. Creative yet amazingly obvious, something the world needed desperatly yet no one realized it at the time.

The most recent reincarnation of this type of brilliance had been my favorite, although now retired, website They remain on the blogroll despite being 6 feet under.

Well just in time to fill the void, via one of the greatest real life stories of all time....Comcast Must Die! The Web Site!

Back to that great story. A well to do women, upset about her lack of service from Comcast, decided that the only way to rectify the situation was to bring a hammer with her to the local dispatch center.

So, after stewing over it all weekend, on the following Monday, she went downstairs, got Don's claw hammer and said: "C'mon, honey, we're going to Comcast."

Did you try to stop her, Mr. Shaw?

"Oh no, no," he says.
Good man.

I'm not going to ruin the story for you (although I guess I kind of did that already), but here is how it ends.
"They cuffed me right then," she says.

Her take on Comcast: "What a bunch of sub-moronic imbeciles."
I couln't agree more.

I can only hope to one day live in a world where 'comcast must die' is reitred. It's one of my life long dreams.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Guys, Don't Worry About Pryor [Enter Jack Nicholson]

He's required to take Anger Management classes. His whole team, actually. Well, both teams.

PUNISHMENT 1. Players and coaches from both teams must attend anger-management classes by the end of the school year. 2. All athletic programs at both schools are on two years' probation. 3. Coaches, principals and athletic administrators were publicly censured. 4. Both schools must give the WPIAL a written plan on how to make sure this won't happen again. Jeannette's plan is due today.
No word yet on whether this will be 'double secret probation' or just the regular thing.

Two awesome things about this decision. First, the word censure. Secondly, the written letter and making sure "this won't happen again". Seems 3rd grade to me I guess.

Well, I guess this is a good time: why the hell is Penn State getting so much slack for this? Everyone knows he hasn't committed, right? And that Ohio State is still the lead dog? Or am I missing something?

Let The Third Season Begin!

After failing the first two, Penn State is ready for phase three to begin. This is also known as "The Big Ten Tournament" for you non-basketball gurus.

For Penn State coach Ed DeChellis, conference tournaments are the start of what he calls the "third season."

"It's pretty big," DeChellis said at Monday's press conference. "You're trying to play in the NCAA tournament. It's important, because we're not there. So, we got one more chance and you got to try to put all your eggs in one basket." -Daily Collegian

Very....interesting. Making it sound like you were saving your energy during the first two "seasons". I like this approach.

Reporter: "So coach, 86-49, what gives?"

DeChellis: "Patience, my young one, the third season is nearly upon us!"

Well I'm buying, what the hell. The great/terrible thing about basketball is that, until this Thursday (and really, not until next Thursday) games simply don't matter. Teams are truly 0-0...which is good news for us.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Scholarships Story: Dalla Dalla Billz

In the wake of yesterday's Client 9 scandal, I managed to find an interesting story over at the New York Times regarding just how big of a long shot it can be to earn an athletic scholarship.

It has been well published, and well argued, that college football scholarships are at a premium. For the record, a program is allowed 85 per team. Remember this is greatly reduced from prior years. Well the challenge of squeezing into that number is nothing compared to the 10 soccer programs must work with. It's even less when you consider most schools don't allow the NCAA limit due to financial concerns.

Excluding the glamour sports of football and basketball, the average N.C.A.A. athletic scholarship is nowhere near a full ride, amounting to $8,707. In sports like baseball or track and field, the number is routinely as low as $2,000. Even when football and basketball are included, the average is $10,409. Tuition and room and board for N.C.A.A. institutions often cost between $20,000 and $50,000 a year.

Ten thousand is nothing when you consider that the parents of these non-revenue scholarship kids typically spend thousands of dollars a year on prep programs and travel. This story does a good job of pointing out that, if you want to take a purely monetary perspective, the preparation most kids get simply isn't worth it. Luckily for these travel outfits and speed schools there is plenty of ego involved...both from the kids and the parents.
“I dropped a good player because her dad was a jerk — all he ever talked to me about was scholarship money,” said Joanie Milhous, the field hockey coach at Villanova. “I don’t need that in my program. I recruit good, ethical parents as much as good, talented kids because, in the end, there’s a connection between the two.”

Are you saying parents take it too far and act like asses in public? I don't believe you.
On average, the best-paying sport was neither football nor men’s or women’s basketball. It was men’s ice hockey, at $21,755. Next was women’s ice hockey ($20,540). The lowest overall average scholarship total was in men’s riflery ($3,608), and the lowest for women was in bowling ($4,899). Baseball was the second-lowest men’s sport ($5,806).

This is skewed big time because Hockey tends to be played at very expensive private schools in New England. I would be more interested to hear the total percent of cost, but this is still worth looking at.

I do highly recommend checking out the stat sheet as well.

The Big Beaver House Stadium, Biggest Evea!1!!1!!!

According the the Detroit News Press, the 'Big House' will have to relinquish their crown for a short time while they limbo between spending $2 million on wheelchair accessible seats and then another $226 million to boost their egos back up.

U-M will drop down to a capacity of 106,201 in 2008 season--below Penn State's 107,282.

But that won't be for long. U-M is in the midst of a $226 million renovation of the stadium that will widen aisles and seats and create a new press box, concourse, luxury boxes and indoor and outdoor club seats. The pricier luxury boxes and club seats will add about 5,000 spots, including about 135 wheelchair-accessible seats.

U-M should reclaim its title in 2010.

Nevermind that the whole thing is a fraud, anyway. My attempt to look the numbers up ended in failure, but Penn State fans are given a couple extra inches per a seat compared to Michigan fans...resulting in a reduced capacity. You would normally try to justify this by calling the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania fat, but then you would be making it obvious that you have never been to Michigan. Pot calling the kettle...yeah that whole thing.

UPDATE: I continued to look for 'iches per seat' but was only able to find this:
Q. Will Michigan Stadium still be the largest stadium in the country after this renovation?
A. Maybe, maybe not. Michigan's official seating capacity is currently 107,501, and any decrease below 107,282 would leave Penn State's Beaver Stadium as the largest college football venue in America. The worst-case scenario in preliminary plans envisions seating capacity falling to 102,633 because of the widening of seats and aisles, but Michigan officials said that they want to keep the capacity at or near 107,501. They also said Michigan won't get caught up in a seating "arms race" and expand Michigan Stadium further if Texas A&M carries through on plans to expand Kyle Field to 115,000 seats.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Talent Gap Maybe?

The All-Big Ten awards are out, and between first, second, third, honorable mention, all defense and all freshman, only now-injured Jamelle Cornley was given any recognition: third team, which somehow has six members. Compare that with three and four awards for some of the better programs and we have ourselves a good o'l fashion talent gap.

Wow, two basketball posts in one day. Things really must be turning around!

BTN: Coming Soon To A Television Near You?

Depends on where you live. And what you define as 'soon'.

Sounds like a good start, however:

A signed deal could still be weeks, or even months, away, as lawyers from both sides hammer out the specifics. Snags still could develop, but sources are optimistic that a deal will get done....Comcast agreed to launch the conference network on expanded basic through most of the Big Ten Conference’s eight-state region, as much as 94 percent of it, according to one source.

The biggest problem here, for me anyway, is that there is no discussion of access to the Big Ten Network outside of the "Big Ten Footprint". I do not live in the footprint. Too bad, I guess. Horrey $5 Miller Lites downtown.

Also, for those of you who are not under the tyrannical rule of the shit-tastic, deceitful, commie loving, non-customer centered provider Comcast, no unsubstantiated rumors have been leaked:
While Comcast appears closer than ever to a deal with BTN, sources say Time Warner Cable, BTN’s other big cable holdout, is not close to a deal with the channel.

Cornley Does Not Return, PSU Beats Hoosiers Anyway

You would normally read the first part of that and wait for some kind of "gets asses kicked by" but not so fast my friend!

I wanted to show a cell phone shot from Sunday of the fans rushing the court, but it appears one doesn't exist. Instead here is Lee dropping an F-Bomb on live television

Despite being 12 point dogs at home, and despite losing what most thought were the only two talented players on the squad, Penn State was the better, more composed team on Sunday and beat their second ranked opponent of the year.

You really have to stop and wonder what this team could have done with both Cornley and Claxton, but then again you have to like what a team lead by a couple of freshman will be able to achieve in the future. Getting hopes up is a dangerous activity, especially Penn State basketball hopes, but I don't think there has been a move appropriate time to go ahead and say fuck it. They've won three of their last four and will finish 7th in the Big Ten.

They'll take on Illinois, a team they've beaten twice, in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Life's A Hustle, Then You Die

It's so true these days. I mean a guy can't walk around eating money and wearing $100 billz on their head without repercussions anymore.

And so the hustle comes around, full circle, with BHGP being shafted as funniest blog. No one is doing what they do better, I mean no one.

I'd love to just embed their material, but in the true spirit of ethics I don't follow on a consistent basis, the four of you who haven't been there yet today need to go soak it in. It's good for you. It's good for you. It's good for you.

It's Your Friday Noon News!

I don't do much on this site to cover other sports, mostly because I don't have much access to them, but let's go a head and check in on the Penn State athletes that aren't getting pulled over drunk or stomping on people's faces, allegedly.

-Penn State Icers End Streak The Icers, who play at the club level despite drawing more fan fare than the basketball team, ended an era last weekend. The team went into the national tournament ranked #3 and carried in a streak of 11 straight championship game appearances. All that ended against Liberty with 4-1 upset.

-Wrestlers Ready For Big Ten Championship The #6 ranked wrestling team will be bringing an entire roster of ranked wrestlers into the Big Ten Tournament. Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois are doing the same. The Big Ten is totally loaded this year (well, every year) and the Nittany Lions have never won the thing. Make sure to check in with Nick Galen over at the Nittany Line who does a great job of covering the squad all year long.

-Worst Season Evvvaaa The Lady Lions basketball team ended the worst season in their history with a 64-54 loss to Michigan. The game caped a 12 game skid. Fittingly, they still managed to finish ahead of Northwestern in the standings.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Quarless Fail Idiot Test, Scores Points For Team

I wasn't going to even post on this because I'm not as good at making fun of these things as Orson is, but just for the record, here is my understanding of how this is scored.

According to the story, he has been charged with:

DUI: This is a standard two point score. It happens all the time, even to God's team, so this one is easy.

DUI as a minor: This is the monkey wrench...I'm not sure you can be convicted of DUI and DUI as a minor...however to be honest I'm really just making shit up at this point.

failing to obey traffic control signals: I've done a little research and I'm not sure this is a Fulmer Cup worthy offense, zero points.

underage drinking: Classified as Drankin', one point.

TOTAL: So I guess I'm going with three points on this, up to five if the double-DUI thing sticks. I'll be sure to keep you all updated with EDSBS's official ruling.

Vote For Your Favorite Creep

The UC Santa Cruz Fighting Banana Slug, Unfortunately Absent

EA Sports wants everyone to vote for their favorite mascot to determine who will be pictured on the cover of NCAA 2009 for the Wii gaming system.

-The Nittany Lion hasn't improved in the virtual world in over five years.

-I highly recommend checking out the Mountain West, if possible I would vote for the entire conference.

-Brutus is, of course, pictured in the likeness of a child molester (commentary on Tressel recruitment of Pryor? I think so!)

-The Mountaineer exists but has been deprived of his gun. He also looks like a German Soldier from World War I.

-There are four mascots who show skin, all of them are white. (Notre Dame and WVU are the only 'real life' mascots.)

-Illinois' mascot was forcefully retired by the NCAA and is of course absents. My understanding was that Florida State was allowed to continue to use the Seminole...however EA decided to remove him from contention.

-The Stanford Tree is also missing, although technically is it unofficial. Too bad, I'm sure it would have looked hilariously stupid.

-The Pitt Panther is either on E or in need of an exorcism.

Make sure to vote for the dumbest looking one. I recommend the Middle Tennessee Lightning.

Baker Walks! Or Something Like That.

After 20 hours (?!) of deliberation, which has to be some kind of record, the Office of Judicial Affairs decided to clear Baker of any punishment. I've been trying hard not to follow this story so I don't know very many details, but I would have paid $5 (the same price someone would have to pay to watch this) to see the following play out:

"I just ... jumped up and down and was screaming. That felt real good," Baker said of his reaction to the verdict. "It's just one obstacle down, two more to go."

I'm not going to jump to conclusions here, but holy hell listen to this:
"I just explained how no one actually identified me as a participant in the fight. I just proved how people misidentified me, and there was no evidence to say I actually touched anyone," he said.

Nothing says "I did it" like using the defense "prove it was me! you can't! Muahahahah". I mean comeon.

Exhibit A from the hearing, notice that no positive identifications can me made, hoary "Innocent until proven guilty"!

In all seriousness, if they couldn't prove him guitly then I'm glad it turned out this way, but I doubt he's totally clean on this. I think in most houses this could have been resolved rather quickly with a slap to the back of the head and a comment that goes something like "well why the hell were you even there?"

He still faces criminal charges.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Best Of The Worst: Draft Pick Edition

To continuing this week's apparent Best Of The Worst theme, let's play a little game.

Who was the least productive Penn Stater drafted since joining the Big Ten?

Why am I doing this? Mostly because I don't feel like writing about Andrew Quarless' apparent (second) underage. DISCLAIMER! Both of these guys were truly amazing to watch in college, dominating their opponents. I'm not trying to hate here because it's actually rather sad that injuries ruined these careers, but it is the off season so, sometimes, things need to be taken a little too far.

Anyway, and the nominees are...

From the 2000 NFL Draft, Selected #1 Overall, Defensive End Courtney Brown
(polite applause)

From the 1995 NFL Draft, Selected #1 Overall, Running Back Ki-Jana Carter
(polite applause)

(dim the lights, cut to big screen, start montage music and old man's voice)

Courtney Brown

(Now I'm just going to copy from Wiki)

"His second season was cut short due to injury but Brown recorded 4.5 sacks in 5 games. Unfortunately, Brown had problems staying healthy and struggled on the field. From 2002-2004, Brown only played 26 games and recorded just 8 sacks....Brown tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the 2006 preseason. He was placed on the team's injury reserve for the entire 2006 season. On March 19, 2007, Brown was cut by the team after failing a physical."

(cut to Brown, sitting with his family, trying not to blush in front of the camera as the audience cheers behind him)

Ki-Jana Carter

(Again, from Wiki)
"Carter tore a ligament in his knee on his third carry of his first preseason game of his rookie year and subsequently suffered a series of injuries....He only had 464 yards in a single season as his career best."

(cut to Carter, sitting still next to his wife, giving the Reggie Bush "I'm all business" face)

And the winner is...(cut to commercial, "Deal or No Deal" style)

J Lemans For Everyone!

How we all would picture BSD and BHGP during their acceptance

Congrats to BSD on winning the Best Big Ten Blog and BHGP for Best New Blog.

See their acceptance speeches here and here.

Most of you would have never found this site in the first place if it wasn't for those two so I am of course very thankful. Good work fellas.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Legend of Link, No Theme This Time

How do you know it's the offseason? Well, fights, of course, and talk about Bill Cowher being the next Penn State coach. He also might coach the Browns*. Ya, definitely the offseason.

Ok, now on to the random and unrelated nonsense you would expect on March 4th.

I highly encourage everyone to take part in the "Name Of The Year" voting. I'm pulling for Johnny Moustache to take the prize, although as an 11 seed he's a long shot. Make sure to check out the potential upset of the week, Levi Licking, who is in a dead lock with a 2 seed. (Yes, all the names are real.)

Drunks typically don't give great advise, and neither does Kenny Rogers.

It's a big day at the primaries, and, of course, Ohio constituents have their minds on the right things.

Finally, it's important to note that nuts are in fact fruits, however are not draft eligible. For the record I thought Pineapple was a steal at #12.

* Worth pointing out here that the Plain Dealer, the news paper all these sites reference, decided to take down the story because.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Best Of The Worst

I have to say, I'm impressed. When Claxton went down earlier in the season things were looking pretty bleak. I actually listened to most of a PSU v. Iowa game that went like this:

18:09 left in 1st half: losing 0-5
10:21 left in 1st half: losing 2-13
05:07 left in 1st half: losing 9-26
18:05 left in 2st half: losing 21-32
06:27 left in 2st half: losing 37-51
00:00 left in 2st half: losing 49-64

Well it took some time, but we got it together on the return trip and even stole enough money out of the THON jars to pay off the refs:

But seriously, there are other things going on here that Iowa fans should be worrying about.*

So with that win, and another against Michigan, Penn State finds itself the best of the crappy embarrassingly large improvement...but I'll take it.

The current "Bottom 5" standing look like this:

1. Penn State
2. Iowa
3. Michigan
4. Illinois
5. Northwestern

(You see how I did that, how I took out the other 6 teams and made PSU #1? Nice, huh?)

So there it is, Iowa, Michigan and Illinois all have to deal with the fact that they are worse than the the team everyone picks to finish last that has a real hard time beating Northwestern on a yearly basis.

Now I know that writing this posts guarantees a first round exit in Big Ten Tournament, but it's not very often I get to tell other schools their basketball program is worse than ours and so it is necessary.

*I realized after publish that I probably should condition this comment by saying that I don't really know anything about Iowa's flaws. I just thought I'd try to defend crappy officiating.

For Those Of You Who Hate Notre Dame

The Irish where Power Ranked (that sounds funny) behind BYU, Fresno State, Boise State, Utah, UCF and, somehow, Tulsa. To qualify you must be a non-BCS conference member. I would argue that Notre Dame is its own BCS conference and therefore shouldn't qualify, however I'll be damned if I'm going to pass up a chance to see their public perception so low.

Why so entertaining?

Ya, that and some other things. Somehow this didn't win the "Cheap Shot of the Year" award of at the Wiz, despite my daily voting routine.