Category Archives: Sports

The First Annual PSU Coaching Challenge

(My transportation readers should skip – this is likely of no interest to you).
A little contest: Where will the people below be at the start of the 2011 football season (let’s say the date in question is set to August 1, 2011). Multiple options for scoring here; if you just want to identify “here” or “elsewhere”, base score is 1 point. Identify which school = 5 points.
Multipliers for more important folks/positions. If you want to just say that somebody’s staying, it counts as a pick for PSU (i.e. this is easy money if you’re a conservative homer).
Respond in comments for your entry. Entries closed at the end of tomorrow (midnight 1/9/2011).
Example: If you guess “Tom Bradley will be the coach at Purdue” (multiplier = 10) – if you get this right, you get 50 points. If he ended up at Indiana, you get 10 points (1 point for “not at PSU” times multiplier). If he’s still at PSU, you get 0 points. “Retired” or “nowhere” counts as a school – so if you guess that Galen Hall will hang it up, and he does, that’s a correct pick same as if Bradley goes to Purdue above.
People and multipliers after the jump. Coordinators worth 10 (half coordinators worth 5 each); lesser coaches at my discretion.

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Football: Myth destruction

Sports post; political/transportation readers feel free to skip.
Once again, all over the stupider parts of the PSU sports internet, apologists are claiming that the Big Ten schedule is still stronger than what we’d have ended up with had we stayed the course with our old eastern independent pals plus intersectional games, or that Pitt is equivalent to Temple and should thus not warrant a 1-1 long-term deal, or whatnot. A particularly odious thread at BWI included an attempt to talk about the old schedules as “playing Temple and Syracuse every year”. This is a really useful way to look at it, as it turns out! Thanks, homer!
Below, you find a table (old school HTML is all I know) comparing the current Sagarin rankings (using his combined rating of the brain-dead BCS formula and the far better predictor) for the teams contained within our 1982 MNC schedule (regarded as quite strong in retrospect), our 1986 MNC schedule (regarded as quite weak at the time and in retrospect), and our current year schedule. Sorted by Sagarin rank, so you can see strength against strength.
What this shows you, in a way, is what this year would have looked like if, instead of being in the Big Ten, we had played the same teams we did in 1982 and 1986.

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Turn Disgrace into Disgrace-Aid

So my alma mater has scheduled the worst team in 1-AA for a game in 2011. This sucks. But it can be improved. Allow me to share with you the second verse of The Nittany Lion fight song; no, not the idiotic Big Ten one awkwardly added in 1993; the classic one; the one I sung marching to the stadium in uniform every week; the one I sing to my kids today; the one that none of the megahomers at Black Shoe Diaries likely even know.
Follow the links on each line. We clearly can turn some past disgraces on their end, if our primary goal is to schedule pansies. We can also re-establish some classic rivalries with the traditional powers that used to rule football with us back when Paterno was young. Get to it, Tim Curley!

There’s Pittsburgh with its Panther,
and Penn her Red and Blue,
Dartmouth with its Indian (woowoowoowoowoo),
and Yale her Bulldog, too (ruff, ruff).
There’s Princeton with its Tiger (grrrr),
and Cornell with its Bear (BEAR NOISE).
But speaking now of victory,
We’ll get the Lion’s share.

We may need to change the last two lines to something more suitable; like “But speaking now of filling our 110,000 seat stadium without playing road games; We’ll get the Curley’s Share”. Also, we may want to skip Pittsburgh; they may actually win once in a while. But we can work on those details later.
As I told Mr. RUTS, THIS IDEA FREE FOR STEALING. Pay special attention to Yale and Princeton. Those jerks.

Kool-Aid Overload

Dear Kool-Aid drinkers: I, and two others you still tolerate, told you that it was pretty obvious they had picked Clark very early in the preseason and never intended to give Devlin serious snaps. This makes you guys, what, 0-245 by now? And what’s the downside, anyways?
Here it is. And the “I told you so” part: You can’t expect a top quarterback to stay for another year riding the bench where he wasn’t given a serious chance to compete for the starting job last time, and got only ludicrously tiny amounts of mop-up duty. And, what’s more important, you can’t trust a coaching staff with a 100% solid record of always picking the upperclassman(*) to actually make it a fair competition no matter what they claim they did or are going to do.
Now we get to play next year with no real backup and no real starter on the horizon. Good job, guys.

(* – yeah, they’ll make a senior the backup if he’s a walk-on or a recruit who would never have started even in the lower conferences. Otherwise, no – the record is incredibly clear).

Dear Entire Talk Radio And Internet, Part Deux

No, Ole Miss isn’t magically superpowered because they happen to be in the SEC. Here’s where Florida stacks up against Penn State so far this year:

Rank (Sagarin PREDICTOR) Team Result
14 Georgia Florida 49, Georgia 10 (Neutral Site)
15 Ohio State Penn State 13, @Ohio State 6

Looks pretty good so far, right? Not so fast. The next entries for Florida:

23 LSU @Florida 51, LSU 21
30 Ole Miss Ole Miss 31, @Florida 30

Huh. One thing sure seems to jump out at you, doesn’t it? But surely this doesn’t show anything, right? Penn State hasn’t played anybody that good at home, right? Let’s expand that section of the table:

19 Oregon State @Penn State 45, Oregon State 14
23 LSU @Florida 51, LSU 21
27 Illinois @Penn State 38, Illinois 24
30 Ole Miss Ole Miss 31, @Florida 30
39 Wisconsin Penn State 48, @Wisconsin 7
52 Tennessee Florida 30, @Tennessee 6

Well, I’m sure we’ll figure out some new reason why Florida deserves it more. Keep on trucking, internet warriors!

Dear Entire Internet And Talk Radio

Penn State isn’t Ohio State. Or Michigan, for that matter.
Colors in honor of current #1 and #2. Take that, Aggees!

2007 Alamo Penn State 24, Texas A&M 17
2006 Outback Penn State 20, Tennessee 10
2005 Orange Penn State 26, Florida State 23 (3 OT)
2002 Capital One Auburn 13, Penn State 9
1999 Alamo Penn State 24, Texas A&M 0
1998 Outback Penn State 26, Kentucky 14
1997 Citrus Florida 21, Penn State 6(*)
1996 Fiesta Penn State 38, Texas 15
1995 Outback Penn State 43, Auburn 14
1994 Rose Penn State 38, Oregon 20
1993 Citrus Penn State 31, Tennessee 13
1992 Blockbuster Stanford 24, Penn State 3
1991 Fiesta Penn State 42, Tennessee 17
1990 Blockbuster Florida State 24, Penn State 17
1989 Holiday Penn State 50, BYU 39

Bowl record over last 20 years versus SEC: 5-2
Bowl record over last 20 years versus Big XII: 3-0
(* – starting running back and wide receiver suspended for idiotic reasons).

Open letter to Tim Curley

(AD of Penn State)
I bleed blue and white, but I will never have any interest in seeing games against FIU, Buffalo, Temple, Eastern Michigan, Eastern Illinois, and their ilk. Of course, if that wasn’t enough, you scheduled a 1-AA team to fill out the slate (Coastal Carolina). Even if I wanted to watch those games, I live in Texas, and I will never have the Big Ten Network, nor will most of the country, where a heck of a lot of your alumni live.
If I don’t watch games, I get less enthusiastic about buying PSU stuff.
If I don’t watch games, I get less enthusiastic about donating money. It would be hard for me to get less enthusiastic about donating money, but you at least remove the possibility of a head-injury-induced bout of giving later in life.
Sooner or later, when nobody watches these games, ESPN stops putting the bigger games on TV too. Then, even more people buy even less PSU stuff and donate even less money.
This year, and possibly in earlier years, playing games like these, against teams we knew would suck, did nothing to prepare us for the games against teams we thought wouldn’t suck. And as a result, we got pantsed. TWICE! Plus, the one out-of-conference game which we thought was against a team which didn’t suck ended up being a laugher too. Which argues that scheduling only one game against a team that might not suck is probably not going to help us either, not that you’re committing to even _that_ going forward, since our ‘marquee’ opponent in the next couple years is Syracuse. Yes, Syracuse. And by the next couple of years going forward, I don’t mean next year, in which we have three of those cupcakes listed above plus a TBA slot to fill with Temple’s name on it. Syracuse is our big opponent to look forward to in 2009 and 2010. Yay!
You often claim that economics dictates these decisions. It’s my considered economic opinion that you are quite possibly the dumbest motherfucker in the history of college sports, if you don’t think that there will be a negative long-term economic impact to scheduling these kinds of games.
I would much rather watch PSU play a one-and-done away game somewhere like Florida than ever see this type of schedule again. If Joe Paterno is really calling the shots and forcing you to schedule this sort of stuff against your will, as is sometimes alleged, then you owe it to the world to resign immediately. Continuing to assist in the perpetuation of this kind of scheduling is just plain evil.
Your pal,