Nitt Picks

The season is almost upon us which means in a few days we'll have actual football games to break down and discuss. So Ron Cook has to get his last ditch jab at Joe Paterno in just under the wire.

It's not hard to imagine Spanier and Curley having to change the locks to keep Paterno out of the school's football complex when they replace him.

Even then, Paterno probably would bang on the door and scream, "Let me in, damn it. I'm still the coach here!"

Sadly, Paterno appears to be that out of touch with reality.

That's why a 6-6 season might be better this season. Not even Paterno's most loyal supporters could back him after that. Many, if not most, already think he has stayed on too long and that the football program needs a new beginning. It's not just the 46 player arrests since 2002 and the embarrassment they caused, especially in a damning ESPN report on "Outside The Lines" earlier this summer. It's that Penn State is a mediocre Big Ten Conference program. It is 32-32 in league games this decade, including 2-6 against Ohio State and an abysmal 0-6 against Michigan.

So be careful what you root for, Penn State fans.

A big season might mean three, four, maybe five more years of Paterno.

Even one more year of Paterno would be one too many.

The funniest thing about this article is how Cook contradicts himself. In the early part of the article he says this.

A bad year would make it a lot easier to get rid of Joe Paterno.

That's what Penn State administrators want, isn't it? That became clear when they refused to give Paterno, 81, a contract extension in the offseason.

And then later Cook says this.

 

There's no reason to think Paterno will be any more eager to leave after a big season this year. He has talked consistently of coaching three, four, maybe five more years. He was practically defiant with Spanier and Curley this spring -- yet again -- when he said he doesn't need a contract to continue coaching.

So which is it, Ron? Did Spanier refuse to offer Joe a contract or did Joe refuse to work under a contract? The entire article is garbage, but it's a good indicator of how much the Pittsburgh press despises Joe Paterno and wishes Pitt could have a season that amounted to something.

Sukay Done For The Year

Tough break for Nick Sukay. The redshirt freshman suffered a foot injury last spring that didn't heal right. And now he had to have surgery and he'll likely miss the season.

Also, reserve safety Nick Sukay (Greensburg Central Catholic) has had surgery on his right foot for sesmoiditis and faces a rehabilitation period of at least three months, according to team doctor Wayne Sebastianelli.

 

Sukay, who had redshirted as a freshman last season, had been hampered by a stress fracture of his right foot since the spring practice and continued to be bothered by the foot in preseason camp. He also broke his right thumb in preseason camp.

After enrolling early in the spring of 2007 Sukay had a good chance of breaking the two deep at safety this year and competing for a starting role next year after Scirrotto and Rubin graduate. Obviously this is a huge setback for him and creates further questions for us going into 2009.

Maurice Evans Will Rip Your Head Off

Excellent article on the defensive line in the Altoona Mirror this morning. In it we find that Maurice Evans sets high goals for himself.

"I did aim for 24 sacks," Evans told stunned reporters at media day. "Yeah, I like to aim high. The guys were clowning me, but I aim high. I ended up with 121/2, and I'm just happy the way it turned out."

What are his goals this season? Maybe 30 sacks this year?

"I haven't even sat down and thought about it yet," Evans said. "I guess when it gets closet to the first game, that's when I'll start thinking about the goals. I'll just throw something on a piece of paper and stash it somewhere. At the end of the season, I'll just look at it and see how close I got."

How about this. If Maurice Evans gets 30 sacks this year I'll buy everyone on BSD a taco. I'm cool like that.

It's Inflation, Baby

I told you all back in May this was going to happen.

Economics may start to dictate teams to look at scheduling tougher opponents. These mid-major and Div. I-AA schools are starting to wise up and realize they becoming are a hot commodity. All the big programs need to fill out their schedules with inferior opponents willing to come take a beating for a paycheck. The cupcakes are wising up and raising their prices to take said beating. If Penn State doesn't want to shell out $400,000 for Buffalo to come to town, no problem. Ohio State or Michigan will. Somebody out there has a slot they need to fill and it's getting harder to fill them.

But where is the tipping point? How high to the prices have to get before the big programs have to look for another option like tougher teams? I don't know the answer, but considering the ACC athletic directors are flat out rejecting the nine game proposal it doesn't sound like we're very close yet. I'm guessing the mid-major schools have to start charging millions before we get to that point.

According to the Des Moines Register, the tipping point may be fast approaching.

Texas is giving Florida Atlantic $900,000 for a Saturday game in Austin, Texas, more than $550,000 higher than the national average payout of $332,201.

Welcome to a big-time, big-school college football headache, where the big boys wonder how long they can continue fattening the wallets of the little guys.

"Costs are out of control," Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard said. "It's as if sometimes you wonder if you're being held hostage."

Iowa State's average nonconference payout is $287,500, more than twice its $142,500 average in 1998.

Iowa's average this season is $550,000, up 53.9 percent during the past 10 years.

The law of supply and demand dictates prices will only continue to rise. Let's do some math.

By my count, there are 66 BCS teams including Notre Dame. That leaves just 54 non-BCS teams in Div. I-A. Now let's say each BCS team wants to schedule an average of three home games per year. That is 198 slots to fill.

Now let's say the 54 non-BCS teams are willing to travel for three games to collect their paycheck. That leaves only 162 possible opponents to fill 198 slots. Combine this with the recent trend where BCS teams insist on back loading their schedule and cramming three non-conference games into the first three weeks of the season and you put the mid-major teams in the driver seat holding the keys. It's no wonder we're seeing more and more top tier teams dip into the Div. I-AA ranks to find their patsy.

What will be interesting to see is how athletic directors deal with these rising costs. Will they work out some kind of revenue sharing deal with other BCS teams that allows them to beef up the schedule? Or will they just raise donation and ticket fees and pass the cost onto the fans? (ed. - Hmmm...I wonder which route they'll take.)

For those interested, the Register offers a handy-dandy search tool where you can look up various schools and the payoff they offered smaller schools for the one-and-done. For the record, Penn State will be paying $450,000 to Coastal Carolina this weekend. Next weekend Oregon State will go home with a $800,000 paycheck.

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