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Tag:Penn State
Posted on: September 9, 2010 6:46 pm
 

Nick Saban is very opposed to booing Penn State

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Football fans like to boo. It's in their nature, and it's something that's borne out in the stands of nearly every college football stadium every fall (IMPORTANT EXCEPTION: universities with Top 20 law schools. Stanford, Michigan, Duke... yes, they'd just never). Football is such a full-throttle expression of physical potential that as we watch it, our emotions follow those same extremes. Sure, people boo at baseball games, but it's far less, well, lusty, and baseball players never get the sense that they may attacked and killed by fans. Football, though--how there's never been an all-out prison-style riot at a football game is just mind-boggling.

So when a team makes the token effort to discourage booing, usually with posted reminders and maybe a pre-game announcement about sponsorship, the concern is noted and then immediately discarded and set ablaze the first time the home team gets called for pass interference. It's football; we ignore politeness. Boooooooo.

Ah, but when the cry for fans' sportsmanship comes from demi-god Nick Saban? That gets noticed awfully quick:

 

"Our football program and our stadium is probably the largest window that anyone looks at in the state of Alabama and maybe the University of Alabama," he said. "And I just don't think there's any place for booing anywhere in college football, and that includes booing the other team. ..."

Penn State "is a class program with class people that have been there for 45 years and done wonderful things for college football, the game of football, and a lot of people over a 45-year period," Saban continued. "And I think it would be a (bleep) crying-(bleep) shame if we booed 'em when they come into the stadium like we did last week's team. I just don't understand that."

Saban's concern is meritous, to be sure, and the best way to express dominance has always been through the power of setting an example, not following one.

And yet, Saban's never tailgated 3/4 of the way to blindness and then sat in stands, unable to directly communicate with that jerk of a ref who just called another phantom hold and whose side is he on anyway, hey? So Saban's asking favors of people whose situation he's somewhat unfamiliar with, and that's a tenuous proposition at best. Perhaps the fans obey Saban's wishes and don't boo JoePa and his charges before the game. Perhaps. But man, if those Nittany Lions actually win down there this weekend....

Posted on: September 1, 2010 10:11 pm
 

Big Ten division winners and losers

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The new Big Ten alignment doesn't come into effect until 2011, but who comes out the best and worst among conference members?

Winners: Most of the conference, actually. Michigan and Ohio State keep their end-of-season rivalry, and they're each the marquee members of their own divisions. If they're not to meet for the title, then effectively nothing has changed about their tradition; if they do, then so much the better, as far as the Big Ten's coffers go. Penn State and Nebraska are the second in command in their respective divisions, and they get to start a protected rivalry with each other that's sure to move needles for television rating. Northwestern and Illinois have an annual game guaranteed, plus their own divisions in which to play spoiler--and Wildcats fans must be especially pleased that they've now got an annual divisional game against the Hawkeyes in what's rapidly becoming a contentious showdown. Minnesota gets to be in a very geographically friendly division, and they get to play for every one of their trophies every year.

We'll call it a draw: Iowa and Purdue have no reason to be protected rivals, and Delany's explanation that "both teams have won conference titles recently" is at best a non sequitur. But Iowa was rewarded with a season-ending game against Nebraska, to the delight of both fanbases, and Purdue has all the protected games they could have asked for. Likewise, Michigan State-Indiana is a total head-scratcher, but at the very least, each team stays in the same division as their in-state rivals.  

Losers: Holy hell, must Wisconsin be upset about this new alignment. Consider A) that the Badgers were the only team in the Big Ten without a season-ending rivalry game up until Nebraska showed up, and B) the amount of work Barry Alvarez has done as the de facto mouthpiece of the conference during realignment talk. Surely the Big Ten would reward the Badgers, yes? Au contraire, bonjour: Wisconsin's request to get a rivalry game with Nebraska was flat-out denied, and the Badgers don't even share a division or protected rivalry with historical rivals Iowa anymore. Oh, also, they're in a league with Ohio State and Penn State, a top twosome that seems much tougher than Michigan or Nebraska do for the near future. Nobody's got more beef than the Badgers about this lineup.

Posted on: September 1, 2010 9:28 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 9:35 pm
 

PSU: Paterno tabs true frosh Robert Bolden at QB

Posted by Adam Jacobi

For the first time in his history as the coach of Penn State, Joe Paterno has named a true freshman his starting quarterback to start a football season. According to the Harrisburg Patriot-News, Robert Bolden beat out sophomores Kevin Newsome and Matt McGloin for the Nittany Lions' feature role:

Penn State just confirmed what The Patriot-News reported first earlier in the day: true freshman Robert Bolden will start at quarterback Saturday against Youngstown State at Beaver Stadium.

Shortly after Wednesday's practice, Joe Paterno made it official in a statement issued on gopsusports.com:

"Based on what we have seen to this point, Bolden has a slight edge right now, but we are confident all three quarterbacks are ready to go and hope to give them an opportunity to play until we settle on the one that gives us the best chance to win," Paterno said.

For Penn State fans, this shouldn't necessarily be construed as a failure on the part of Newsome, who certainly seemed like the presumptive starter at this time even three months ago. If anything, considering the praise that has been leveled at Bolden out of summer practice, it's a remarkable accomplishment on Bolden's part, and would seem to indicate that Penn State is better off than if Newsome had just taken the reins straight away.

Of course, regardless of how skilled a passer and runner Bolden is, Nick Saban must be salivating at the prospect of unleashing his vaunted pass defense on a true freshman making his first road start in week 2. Sure, Saban's replacing most of the starters from his title-winning team from last season, but he's doing it with guys who have been learning and practicing his defense for years. Will Bolden have the maturity and wisdom to find any room in that defense?

Posted on: August 31, 2010 6:56 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 2:33 pm
 

Who will start at QB for Penn State?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Penn State sophomore quarterback Kevin Newsome looked to be a prohibitive favorite at quarterback coming into 2010; he was a highly regarded recruit coming out of high school two years ago, and he was the first quarterback off the bench as a true freshman last year. Granted, it was all garbage time, but he was still clearly being groomed for a 2010 starting spot. Moreover, Newsome's competition for that starting role is a former walkon redshirt sophomore and a couple true freshmen.

And yet, Newsome still hasn't won the starting role; even at a teleconference today, Joe Paterno couldn't pin down any of his QBs as his signal-caller going forward:
"I've got to be honest with you. We've got some kids who we really like, and [we] think they are going to be good, and there's more than one," Paterno said. "But at this stage, I couldn't tell you which one is going to come to the front as THE guy to lead the team, or whether we have one who can handle the kinds of situations that the quarterbacks are going to have to handle as this season goes on."
It's important to note, of course, that JoePa had similar deliberations about whether to start Daryll Clark or Joe Devlin in 2008, and that worked out well enough. JoePa's not going to let on any amount of confidence he may have in any of the QB candidates if he doesn't have to.

Still, something definitely seems to be awry; as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes (via Dr. Saturday), Paterno has never opened a season with a true freshman or walk-on (current or former) under center on week one. Not once, not in any of his 44 years. Also, the game's just a few days away; if he's slow-playing anything, now's the time to cut the charade and not continue freaking fans out. So let's put some fears at ease and examine the candidates:
  • Kevin Newsome: Has the most in-game experience and arguably the most physical talent of the likely QBs. Still, if he were the guy, we should know that by now. Every day he spends sharing time with the first team in practice is more valuable experience lost.
  • Matt McGlouin: Is in his third season with the program, but lacks the physical tools of his counterparts. However, if all Paterno wants his quarterback to do this year is hand off to Evan Royster and not try to impress anybody with his arm, McGlouin might be the guy.
  • Robert Bolden: Only a true freshman, but has received rave reviews for his play in practice after joining the team early. May be the most gifted pure passer, but does he have any chance of knowing the playbook well enough to threaten the Alabama defense in week 2?
  • Anthony Morelli: Starting experience in... hey, wait, get the hell out of here, Anthony Morelli! You graduated years ago! Jeez!
 
 
 
 
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