Nitt Picks Is Officially Lame

And So Is The Schedule.  The school released the official 2009 football schedule, listed here in the fanposts.  We've known the potential lineup for a while now, but the hold-up of the official release was an exciting notion because of the rumor that Penn State was pursuing a replacement for Eastern Illinois, and "an ACC team [was] a possibility".

Well, now it's not really a possibility.  For those of you asking, the Oregon State change happened in the early part December, 2007.  The official release means no one took them up on their offer, whatever it was they were offering.

My initial reaction is of course argg, but with a second to take it in the two things to consider here:

  1. The job of the athletic director is not to help the football team win mythical national championships, but rather to ensure all athletes stay safe, represent the school well, and, most importantly, stay funded.  It's unfair and ridiculous that Penn State required it's football team to play 7.5 home games per a year to fund the AD, but they spend what they spend and so it is what it is. 
  2. Syracuse really screwed us.

I can say that last part because that game was scheduled in the summer of 2002.  Cuse's record in 2001?  10-3 with a bowl win.  They were suppose to be this year's Oregon State, but things obviously changed.

So Curley quickly scrambled the last couple of weeks to find a sucker willing to take a bad deal that would add some name brand flavor to the 2009 schedule; no one bit.  Now we have to deal with it.

What it means, then, is that Penn State needs the rest of the conference to come up big time in out of conference games to avoid a major demerit in SOS that will perpetually be attached to any discussion about Penn State's record.  Some of those game:

Missouri vs. Illinois (Sept 5)
USC @ Ohio State (Sept 12)
Purdue @ Oregon (Sept 12)
California @ Minnesota (Sept 19)
Arizona @ Iowa (Sept 19)

So it's something, but I'm not holding my breath or anything.

The Big Ten Is Overrated, But With A Twist!  A couple of clips from Bracketology 101's latest projections:

Conference Breakdown
Big East (9), ACC (7), Big Ten (7), Big XII (5), Pac-10 (5), SEC (4), A-10 (2), MWC (2), WCC (2)

[...]

Last Four In

Wisconsin, BYU, USC, LSU
Last Four Out
Penn State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Boston College

Since I like things in charts (and an example of how to make stats say what you want):

Conference Teams In
% of Teams In
Big Ten 7 64%
ACC 7 58%
Big East 9 56%
Pac-10 5 50%
Big XII 5 42%
SEC 4 33%

You see what I did there?  I called the Big Ten the best (deepest?) conference in the country. 

The Big Lead scoffs in our general direction, though, adding along the way: "Forget Penn State" and their chances of dancing. NQTC says not so fast my friend, and points us to Sparty and Friends, who break down each argument and conclude with this:

So, who will be the Big 10 participants in March?

1. Michigan State
2. Illinois
3. Purdue
4. Minnesota
5. Penn State
6. Michigan

but again, don’t go to sleep on Wisconsin.

We love our friend over at The Big Lead, but his Big 10 bashing is getting a little too frequent. Why don’t you take some time and look at the crap that is south of Mason Dixon line (SEC), and west of the Mississippi (Big 12 and Pac 10) before you bash the conference that has played as good as basketball as anyone else in the country.

(And while I'm linking everyone, h/t to mgoblog for pimping NQTC in mgo.licio.us)

Where Are They Now, Also With A Twist!  The Philadelphia Daily News ran an interesting story as part of the run up to the Super Bowl about former Penn State DT Scott Paxson.  For those of you who don't remember, he was looking at being selected in the late round of the 2006 draft after two years of starting for Paterno.  That is, until this happened:

Then, 7 weeks before the draft, he was blindsided by the justice system.

The Centre County District Attorney's office filed sexual-assault charges against him for an alleged date-rape incident 14 months earlier with a Penn State coed. Paxson admitted he had sex with the woman, but insisted it was consensual. The charges were dropped 6 months later, after Paxson agreed to plead no-contest to disorderly conduct.

All of the calls Paxson was getting from NFL teams went promptly silent, and he had to settle for being picked up undrafted and working his way up the Steelers' scout team. 

As for the prosecutor in his case (Austin Scott's as well, FWIW), assistant DA Lance Marshall, how come I never heard about this?

...DA Lance Marshall, resigned Dec. 30 after it was revealed he was being investigated by the state Attorney General's Office after allegations were made that he had improper contact with a victim of domestic violence in a case he was assigned to prosecute. Marshall allegedly sent the woman more than 100 sexually explicit text messages on his county-issued cell phone.

So make your own jokes here.  As for Paxson:

"Bitter? Yeah," he said. "But more to the extent that I just don't know how that guy was able to sleep at night . . . I almost want to have lunch with him - maybe from across the table so I don't strangle him - and find out why he did that to me."

Don't worry Scott, I'm sure Outside The Lines has the episode already in production.

In scores of other games...BHGP looks at an attendance problem, sound familiar?...The Daily Gopher wants to know what Lisa Saulters did to Billie Gillispie...a Michigan grad writes a novel set in State College because of Penn State's "mystique".

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