Friday, August 11, 2006

Good News, Bad News, Good News

The good news is I'm back from vacation and pumped to start the college football season. The bad news is, I'm shutting down Hail to the Lion.

But don't worry. I have been invited to host a new site called Black Shoe Diaries which is part of Sports Blogs Nation. I could not be more excited to be part of SBN. Please join me over at Black Shoe Diaries and make sure to update your links and bookmarks.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Open Thread

Blogging is hard work, so I need a vacation. I'll be out next week so posting will be sporadic if at all. I'll be relaxing on the beach next to this girl. Of course, my wife and kid will also be there preventing me from talking to her.

While I'm relaxing on the beach I'll be collecting my thoughts and gearing up for the start of the season. I have a big announcement in the wings, and I hope to make it soon.

So while I'm gone, feel free to start up your own threads. Discuss who will win the Big Ten or who will win the Heisman. Heck, discuss who will win Conference USA for all I care. I'm on vacation.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Welcome NDNation Fans!

I see I'm getting a lot of hits from Rock's House on NDNation.com, a Notre Dame site. Some douchebag named Arsenal posted the following on their message board with a link to this post.

Great line from a PSU blog

"In other news, Troy Smith from THE Ohio State University was named Big Ten Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. What's wrong with these morons? Haven't they ever heard of Derrick Williams and Anthony Morelli? Is there no justice in this world?"

Morelli really should've been nominated. I mean, he absolutely lit up their second team defense!
He took me completely out of context thinking it would get a few yucks on his message board. Either he is a complete moron, or he didn't notice the paragraph before that statement where I called the people that nominated Paul Posluszny the Preseason Big Ten Defensive Player of the year geniuses. I think we can all assume they are the same people.

Fortunately, they are not all completely stupid over on ndnation. One commenter points out to Arsenal that my post was meant to be sarcastic. I thought Notre Dame was supposed to be a smart school. Maybe this is one of those Notre Dame wannabe fans who never went to school there but he kisses the toilet seat Charlie Weis takes a crap on.

Joe Paterno's Press Conference

If you happened to miss Joe Paterno's press conference on ESPN the other day, you can watch it here. It's worth the 17 minutes. There are some classic Paterno zingers in there.

JOEPA Penn State News Conference 8/1/06 (Pt. 1 of 2)

Part I

JOEPA Penn State News Conference 8/1/06 (Pt. 2 of 2)

Part II

Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon

Little blurbs have been coming out of the Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon going on in Chicago this week. Apparently, Tony Hunt and BranDon Snow are in Paterno's doghouse. Hunt is in trouble for letting his grades drop. He's not ineligible or anything, but Paterno isn't happy. There's much speculation going on in terms of Snow's situation. Nobody knows what happened, but Joe has made it clear he's not happy and that Snow is going to sit early in the season. The good news is he's still with the team and Joe says he plans to include him in the offense this year.

A lot of time has been spent commenting on Northwestern coach Randy Walker who tragically died of a heart attack a few weeks ago at the age of 52. While he gets asked about his health most years, I can imagine Joe Paterno has fielded even more questions about his health this year as he approaches the ripe old age of 80 this season. Amazingly, Joe recently climbed Mount Nittany with his family. Here's what Joe had to say about the trip:
"I hadn't climbed it in 30 years. But my kids teased me into going up there for a family climb. When I got to the top, I was all right. But coming down was really tough. I had a little problem with my leg."

Joe reported a little soreness and swelling in his knee, but he should be fine. If only we could all live to be mountain climbers when we're 80.

No surprise, the media isn't giving Penn State any respect. They selected Ohio State as the favorite to win the Big Ten followed by Michigan and Iowa. That's ok. We didn't get any respect last year either. Michael Robinson and the other captains sat at their table and nobody wanted to talk to them. They went on to win the conference. Everybody snickered when Paterno got up in front of the podium and told everyone he thought they were going to be pretty good last year. He went on to win several Coach of the Year awards. The nice thing about not being favored to win is that you have everything to prove and nothing to lose. I think Penn State is in store for another special season. The question is how many games will we have to win before people start to believe?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Student Criminals

I was just surfing my usual daily websites and blogs when I happened across the ESPN college football page. Of course the lead story is the dismissal of Oklahoma Sooner starting stud quarterback, Rhent Bomar, for getting paid $18,000 last year for a job he only worked at for about five hours a week. But here are some of the other headlines:

Auburn suspended two players for alcohol-related reasons.

Tennessee dismissed one player and suspended another. Tight end Lee Smith was arrested for drunk driving and cut from the team. Freshman Marsalous Johnson waved a gun at a police officer on the interstate and will sit four games for that.

Miami has suspended four players. Tyrone Moss, Ryan Moore, James Bryant, and Rashaun Jones will all sit out the Florida State opener for "violating team rules." This is on the heels of safety Willie Cooper being shot in the buttocks and his teammate returning fire.

Air Force has suspended place kicker Ryan Harrison indefinitely for an "unspecified violation of school standards."

Utah State has dismissed linebacker Steven Downs for a marijuana violation.

It seems the world of college football is in disaray this week. Instead of pouring over the preseason polls and debating who will be number one at the end of the season, we're all focused on who's in trouble with the law and the NCAA. Thank God Penn State isn't dealing with these kinds of issues. A few years ago it seemed our players were making all the headlines. I have to believe it is the senior leadership from the captains keeping the players in line. I can't wait until the season starts so we can stop talking about all this crap and start talking about football.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Poz-itively the Best

As if you need any further proof of the greatness of Poz, the 2005 Butkus and Bednarik winner was named Big Ten Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. I cannot emphasize enough how intelligent the people are who select the winner of this award.

In other news, Troy Smith from THE Ohio State University was named Big Ten Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. What's wrong with these morons? Haven't they ever heard of Derrick Williams and Anthony Morelli? Is there no justice in this world?

Playing up the Penn State inferiority complex I touched on yesterday, ESPN.com's college football page today ran a poll asking, "Which team will win the Big Ten football title this season?" Your options were:
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Ohio State
  • Wisconsin

That's right. Penn State isn't even an option. The defending champions aren't even considered a possibility to repeat according to ESPN. Obviously Lee Corso must have made up this poll. He's such a Penn State hater.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Penn State's Inferiority Complex

Sometimes I think Penn State fans are the biggest bunch of whiners. No doubt we have that reputation throughout the blogosphere and message boards. Any time a writer dares to suggest Penn State is not good or lacking in an area, they are barraged with flames from Penn State fans. Often times it's nasty and doesn't make any sense. Rather than debate, some idiot ends up calling the writer names and making some crazy prediction about Penn State not losing another game through the end of the decade.

I wish I knew where this came from. Other fans from other programs that I run into on the internet don't seem to be this way. They can debate and back up their claims with theory and statistics. They don't immediately fall back on trash talking like Penn State fans do.

Today's post by Tom Dienhart is a great example (hat tip: The Nittany Line) Dienhart has the audacity to suggest Penn State will be "worse than advertised" this year and Penn State fans jump all over him. Here is some of the response:

Teams will not score more than 24 against us, and with Hunt, Dwill, Butler
and Morelli (a top ranked QB i might add), we will score that many by pure
luck.

Come on. There is nothing that can back up this claim. We're supposed to believe we're going to score 24 points on pure luck? It's just thrown out there by the Penn State fan as if it were fact. Here's another one:

I gotta admit, when I read your stuff, truly, I laugh out loud!
Why attack the writer? He thinks Penn State will drop off this year. So what? Make your point if you think he's wrong, but don't attack his integrity. I don't know why Penn State fans are like this. Every year the preseason polls come out and every year Penn State fans complain we don't get any respect.

I have a theory. I think it stems back to 1994, the year Penn State got snubbed by the pollsters in favor of Nebraska for the national title. Penn State fans really believe we had the better team that year. I think it all stems from that. And beyond that, many older fans can remember that Joe Paterno has gone undefeated five times and he only won the national championship one of those years (in 1982 they had one loss to Alabama). Incredibly, they went undefeated in '68 and '69 and didn't win the national championship either of those years.

I'm sure anyone can understand if your team went undefeated five times and only won the title once, you would feel slighted as well. I think this, combined with decades of success that have created (sometimes false) expectations has created an inferiority complex within the Nittany Nation. We expect our team to do well every year. When others express less than our expectations we get defensive. Combine that with the feeling we are always getting looked over by the college football pundits and you have created an inferiority complex that motivates Penn State fans to lash out at our detractors with delusional remarks created from our false expectations.

But fortunately, we're not all that way. Most Penn State fans are capable of watching the games and talking about football intelligently without stooping to personal attacks. It seems we just don't frequent the blogs and message boards enough. My theory is it's the younger generations of fans that create most of the problems. They are the ones with enough technical savy to know the difference between a blog and a message board. Your average baby boomer booster isn't surfing BWI to find the latest dirt on Maurice Clarrett. And again, I think it stems back to 1994, when kids born after 1980 were just coming of age and becoming true Penn State fans. I suspect they were told stories about the glory years of the 70's and 80's and felt like their team was going to be a dynasty forever. Then they got snubbed in '94 and they weren't mature enough to realize sometimes you just get screwed in the game of college football.

Then in 1999 they were told they were going all the way again. But Minnesota had other plans and knocked them off that year. That sent them into a tailspin that saw four losing seasons in the next five years. As a fan base we were hurt and angry. The older fans were mature enough to know we had a good run but everything must come to an end. I think the younger fans felt like they were robbed before they ever got to experience the good years. That immaturity is what we see acting out today in the form of an inferiority complex.

Anyway, that's my theory. Spout off in the comments and tell me if you think I'm right or wrong.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

GET UP!

Starting to feel that blue blood pump through your veins yet? Are you as psyched for the season as I am? If not, watch this. Only 35 days to go.

Linebacker U. Gets Another Verbal

The Penn State Nittany Lions landed their tenth verbal commitment for the class of 2007 on Friday afternoon. Andrew Dailey from Washington High School in Massillon, OH has decided he wants to play linebacker for Linebacker U.

Dailey was recruited by Jay Paterno and passed on several offers from over a dozen schools including Florida, Nebraska, Purdue, Pittsburgh, Illinois, Syracuse, Michigan State and Indiana.

Rivals and Scout both list him as a four star prospect. Dailey stands 6'2" and 210 lbs with a 40-yard dash time of 4.7. Here's what Andrew's coach, Tom Stacy, has to say:
"Andrew is a good person and a good student. He really does a nice job of
representing our program off the field. He's 6-2, 220 and runs well. He's
physical and he's a play maker. He's a three-sport athlete and he makes a
lot of plays for us. We think he's a pretty good football player."

What's impressive about this commitment is that he comes from the state of Ohio. Along with fellow recruit Chris Colasanti from Michigan, it must be unsettling to our Big Ten foes to see us recruiting well in their back yards. Now some Ohio State fan will probably comment that they didn't even offer this kid a scholarship. Pay attention to what Andrew says in talking about Notre Dame not giving him an offer:
"Penn State would have been the school I was going to choose. That's where I felt the best."

Once he met the Nittany Lion coaches the deal was sealed. Eat that!

I'm continually impressed with the quality of linebackers Penn State continues to recruit. Colasanti, Stupar, and Dailey may likely be the starting lineup four years from now, but with this year's recruits Navorro Bowman and Bani Gbadyu and current Lions Jerome Hayes, Sean Lee, Tyrell Sales, and Dan Connor all with eligibility left I don't know how the coaches are going to get all these kids on the field. No doubt some of them may get a rep or two at TE or FB.

I can't imagine we will be recruiting any more linebackers in this class since we only have about 18 scholarships to play with this year. We may not even recruit a linebacker next year for that matter. But even so, the tradition of Linebacker U is set to live on for years to come!