Blue White Roundtable day. There Is No Name On My Jersey has the questions this week. The Nittany Line and Run Up The Score are along of the ride. I'm in Texas this morning where it is 90 degrees with 134% humidity. But I'm leavin' on a jet plane for Wisconsin later on so hopefully my shirt will be dry by the time I land there. I mentioned my laptop power cord got left behind in Philly, so I have to get through these questions fast. Let's get to it.
Throw out a Big Ten team to watch (a surprise) and an overrated team. Any explanation would be appreciated.
I think everyone is picking Illinois as the team to watch. If Juice Williams can learn to throw the ball and Arrelious Benn turns out to be the real deal they could cause some fits for people. But they still have to come up with a defense. I don't think they'll be as good as everyone thinks, so they are my overrated team. I think they're still a year or two away from being really good.
My surprise underrated team is Penn State. Go ahead, call me a homer, but a lot of people are picking the Lions to finish fourth in the conference behind Michigan, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. I think the Ohio State and Wisconsin games are very winnable for us since they're at home. People forget how close those games were for us on the road last year. We were driving for the potential tying touchdown late against Ohio State before Morelli threw those two interceptions pressing the issue. And remember against Wisconsin how we were in prime position to score after a turnover in the first half before Morelli's pass bounced straight up in the air off of Norwood's shoulder pad and got picked off. And then later in the game Sean Lee picks up that fumble and should have scored but tripped over his own two feet. We were closer to winning those games than people realize. Now we get them at home.
How much attention do you pay to recruiting and do you think too much or not enough attention is paid to recruiting in general?
I pay a lot of attention to recruiting, but I'm not one of these obsessive google stalkers. But then I run a blog with a recruiting board, so it's kind of my job/hobby.
Some people take this stuff way too seriously. They read the tea leaves of every comment a kid says. Take a comment like this.
Some people will read a comment like that and go nuts. Why didn't he mention us? Are Florida State, Notre Dame, and Virginia Tech his final three? Why doesn't JoePa visit these recruits? If he goes to VA Tech he's going to verbal there on his visit. Oh no! He likes their offensive coordinator. We have JayPa! We're screwed!
There seems to be tension between older and younger Penn State fans, which camp do you fall into and what is your position on the other side?
Being 33, I probably fall between the two age-wise, but I definitely lump myself in with the older crowd. When I was growing up I remember the older fans coaching me about winning with class. We used to clap for the other team when they ran onto and off the field. Now we boo them. When I was a punk teenager I stood up in the middle of a Pitt game and yelled "You suck Van Pelt!" Everyone in my section gave me a dirty stare and it was made perfectly clear to me I was not going to do that again. Win or lose, we never lost our dignity.
This younger generation is not like that. Maybe they didn't have the examples of winning with class since the early part of this decade we didn't win much. Then when we started winning in 2005 they didn't know how to handle it. I was completely embarrassed and mortified last year when Youngstown State came out of the locker room and the student section started chanting "Fuck Ohio!" Come on, guys. It's Youngstown State. It was completely uncalled for against a Division II-A opponent that was completely outmatched on the field.
After that game as we were leaving the stadium we got caught under the grandstands watching the YSU players come off the field and into the locker room. Penn State fans on that end of the stadium clapped for the Penguin players as they walked through the crowd. You could see their faces brighten up from it. Some players took off gloves and sweat bands and handed them to the kids standing at the barriers...kids in Derrick Williams jerseys. It was a great moment, and I was glad to be a part of it. Those are the fans I choose to identify with. Not the morons in the student section who think profanity and insulting an opponent from a respectable university is cool.
Talk a little about your favorite tradition surrounding Penn State football.
If I'm not in my seat when the band takes the field my entire day is ruined. Am I the only one that gets goose bumps and tears swelling up in my eyes when that snare drum starts tapping? It's at that moment that the football game takes on a bigger meaning. It's more than just 22 guys pounding on each other for three hours. When the drum major nails that flip to the Nittany Lion fanfare it's at that moment you realize you are cheering on the grand institution that was a major four years of your life. At that moment your heart swells with pride and you stand there amazed that you could be even a tiny part of something so grand. That's my favorite part of the entire Penn State experience. That and winning.
Let's make this quick. My battery says I have fifteen minutes left.
If you had to win ONE GAME of NCAA 2008 which team would you choose and why?
Am I supposed to pick the team I want to beat or the team I would use to win that one game? Iowa always gives me fits. If I beat them I'm usually going undefeated that season.
Which non-PSU blog do you read everyday (extra points are awarded for going off the beaten path).
Oh man. I can't name just one. I probably read around two dozen blogs every day. I don't really have a favorite. I'm starting to sound like Joe Paterno in these answers.
If you had to choose between being a fan of The Ohio State University, The University of Michigan, and Notre Dame who would you choose and why?
Michigan hands down. Buckeyes think winning national championships is their birth right. Notre Dame fans think your respect is their birth right. Michigan fans think not having to talk to stupid people is their birth right.
We're down to three minutes. Go check out the other guys.