In the early days of BSD, before I'd even thought about posting on the front page, picking on Pitt grad Bob Smizik, formerly of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and now of "Bob Smizik's Blog," was one of my favorite activities here. As most personalities in Pittsburgh do, he goes straight to the yinzr "say crap about Penn State" playbook when there's nothing else to talk about just to get people's attention. Thanks to BSD Mike's mentoring, I've really zenned out when it comes to that kind of Penn State criticism originating in the Pittsburgh sphere, but hey, on a slow news Monday, why not point out this gem by Bloggin' Bob.
What do the draft histories of the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets and Washington Redskins have in common? According the Associated Press, and it’s just an opinion, the biggest busts ever taken from those teams came from Penn State.
That gives Penn State quite the edge in a category that really means nothing but is a fun topic.
Smizik then links to this AP piece about draft busts. It makes no specific mention of Penn State or the number of ex-Nittany Lions that make this list. It was all Smizik. He actually went in and counted the PSU guys on the list and felt compelled to point it out before writing 1,010 words on a single Pirates loss.
This reminded me of an incident a couple of years ago when I was walking through the Wood Street trolley station downtown after a Pirate game. A man and his son were walking to the trolley, too, as a couple of college kids came up the escalator out of the subway. "Penn State...oh all their pros suck," he said to the dad and his boy. "A bunch of busts."
I remember thinking at the time "...yeah and?" I receive this post from Bob-o the same way.
No, Penn State doesn't have a great track record, especially with some of its high profile players, in achieving massive success in the NFL. That's not to say Penn State fans have anything to be ashamed of, as few schools turn out the volume of pros the program does, but it has to be acknowledged that a fair amount of ex-Lions stars have kind of flamed for whatever reason.
That said, listening to Pitt homers point this out continually as if it matters is little more than a front for their inferiority complex in comparison to Penn State. Their team can't win more football games, or championships or bowls better than the BBVA Compass, so they go to the "Who did you get drafted?" well when they need something to feel good about themselves.
On behalf of me, though, I don't care about what happens in the pros. I care about Saturdays. Maybe if more Pitt fans did, too, this wouldn't happen.
OSU Gets Boo-Boo
In other rival news, the NCAA is getting ready to open up a can on Ohio State.
Ohio State University is potentially facing the most severe NCAA penalties to its storied football program as punishment for coach Jim Tressel's failure to disclose his knowledge of violations and use of ineligible players during this past season.
In a "notice of allegations" given to Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee on Friday and obtained by The Dispatch, the NCAA accused Tressel of dishonesty for hiding violations by seven current and former players who sold awards and equipment to a tattoo-parlor owner.
The best-case scenario for Ohio State is the NCAA accepting the university's self-imposed sanctions on Tressel, which include a $250,000 fine and five-game suspension. The worst-case scenario is a range of sanctions that could prevent the Buckeyes from playing in the Big Ten Championship and a bowl game next season and strip OSU of last year's victories and Big Ten title.
It looks like most of the NCAA's allegations will focus on Tressel's actions through this whole ordeal, as they should. What's sad, though, is that Ohio State and its community will take a far bigger blow than the wayward coach. For a guy who's made a lot of money coaching, $250,000 is chump change and the suspension basically amounts to five days off in the fall. What about the legacy of the program? What about all the guys on last year's Buckeye team that busted their asses the right way to get that Big Ten championship? What about the fans who shelled out a bunch of money for what are now meaningless football games?
It's not really fair to any of them, and no matter how I feel about Ohio State, that's not something I'd wish on any program's fan base.
It's almost May, and your Penn State baseball team is in the hunt for a Big Ten title after taking two of three from Ohio State over the weekend.
With the series win, the Lions moved into a tie with Michigan State atop the Big Ten standings. The teams will meet this coming weekend in East Lansing with first place at stake, and the Lions can thank their fight on Sunday for putting them in that position.
"It’s big because the whole conference is close, it’s within like two games from top to bottom so it’s good to just hang tight," junior centerfielder Sean Deegan said. "It’s just big putting ourselves in a good position going into the end of the year."
The fact that Penn State is in first probably says more about the crappiness of the league than it does about how good the Lions are, but playing relevant baseball isn't something this program is exactly used to, so it's definitely a step forward. I'm sure Robbie Wine and Co. would love to get a shot to play on ESPN some afternoon in an NCAA regional. It would do a lot for the visibility of a program even most Penn State fans aren't very familiar with.
In Scores Of Other Games