Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Blue White Roundtable: We're Halfway There

You know you might have a football problem when you start writing questions for yourself and then answering them in type. Well that's exactly what you are getting in the latest version of the Blue and White Roundtable. Don't forget to check out the other knights below:

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

Of the PSU players who went undrafted but were picked up by NFL teams, which one has the best chance of actually seeing playing time in The League?

Austin Scott. With his off the field issues now behind him, it will be interesting to see how well he can progress focusing solely on football. He not only has the size to be an NFL back, but he is in a great situation in Cleveland. While Jamal Lewis is the obvious starter there, he is on an expensive year to year contract. The Browns didn't pick up any tailbacks in the draft, so it's clear they will be looking to develop a cheaper alternative to the ageing Jamal during 2008.

My office recently installed those vending machines that keep the coil spinning when your selection gets snagged by the oversized potato chips in the next slot over, usually resulting in two treats for the price of one. This has improved my occasional afternoon snacking 250%.

What football technological improvement has most increased your afternoon football enjoyment the most in, say, the last five years?

The obvious choice here is HDTV, although I'm not sure when that really started to catch on in the football world. On the field graphics have been nice, giving us the First Down Line and even the Line of Scrimage Line, which is a lot like the glowing puck in that it's damn near pointless and usually more distracting than helpful.

The one line I do like, however, is the Longest Field Goal Line, showing where a team needs to drive to in order to be in a position to (maybe) hit the game winning kick.

If I had ever used one, I would be inclined to go with this, but the $50 price tag ruins the fun. Plus I'm pretty sure you could achieve the same thing with a big ziplock bag and some ducktape. Hoary ducktape.

List the top 5 Penn State games, in order of intrigue, that you would like to attend. For bonus points, include an away game.

1. Michigan - I don't care how good or bad Dickrods team ends up this year, I just want an end to this eternal streak. The losses have been painful and full of questionable calls and we are all going to be better off once this thing is behind us.
2. Oregon State - It's something new, and besides that it will be an early test against a Top 25 team. It is the first time we will be able to see just how successful this team can be.
3. Ohio State - While I don't like our chances, the upside of winning that game outweighs the fallout of losing it. It's at night and should be a good time.
4. Illinois - I want this team exposed. Pre-season #8!? Really? Plus I could use a little redemption after Morelli simply handed last year's game to them.
5. Wisconsin - Nothing interesting to add here except it will be a good chance to see how the team is progressing.

Penn State hasn't played a team from the Pac 10 in eight years (USC in the 2000 Kick-off Classic). Oregon State adds a little flavor to an otherwise very standard schedule. How do you think this season's matchups compare to prior years?

I think this is the toughest schedule Penn State has faced in a very long time. Ohio State is top five in the nation, and we play them on the road and at night. A night game at Wisconsin is also a little unsettling. Besides that, Oregon State is a Top 25 OOC game, and there is a stint in the middle of the season where Paterno will face up to four ranked teams in five weeks. Worse still, Michigan State appears to have put the John L Smith Slap Myself Late Season Slide behind them, which kind of sucks for us as their "rival".

Night games appear to be a growing trend in the Big Ten. While the 2005 Ohio State game was as good as it gets, the following year's Michigan game seemed overhyped and we all know about last season's Ohio State outcome.
This year's Penn State night schedule includes Illinois at home and tough ones in the dark at Wisconsin and at Ohio State. (I'm not sure what to make of the 4:30 kick-off against Michigan)

Here is the three-parter: (1)Does this mean that all of our big games will be played at night from here on out? (2)Do you enjoy the 8:00 or still prefer 3:30? and (3)Do you think a night kickoff actually increases home field advantage or does it simply look cooler on TV?

I'm afraid that yes, (1) they are here to stay. After the success of the Ohio State game in 2005, I think the networks, along with the schools, realized the opportunity for exposure and high ratings. With ESPN's ability to create there own hype, I don't see them passing up the chance of pitting two large market schools in a prime time slot. (2) I do enjoy the occasional night game, but mostly because they are something different. The problem is that the novelty wears off quick when every game against a .500 team is going to get the Lee Corso treatment. The buzz at the previous two night games didn't even approach that of 2005. (3) So with the sheer number of night games that players and coaches participate in, I don't think the atmosphere is any more intimidating than usual anymore. The fans may be getting used to them as well, and with so many during the season, they don't have a reason to get extra excited for an 8:00 kickoff when we have two more before the month ends.

Lighting Round:
How would Penn State finish with Iowa's 2008 schedule (substitute Iowa in place of the obvious difficult situation of playing yourself)?

Undefeated. Maybe one loss to Wisconsin.

Which RB gets the most carries this year? The most TDs?
Royster and Royster.

How much would you pay for this fall's Michigan ticket? What is the most you've ever paid to attend a PSU game?
Up to $175, but only because I really want to be at that game. I dropped $150 on last year's Ohio State game and consider that a steal. Not that this trend is going to change, but ticket prices are truly getting out of control.

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