You Keep Using That Word. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means: Thought the worst of conference expansion was behind us? Oh, readers, you beautiful naive sophisticated newborn babies. No, this weekend brought more confusing, conflicting, and capricious reports on Florida State's potential move from the ACC to the Big 12. A post from the SBN mothership cites writers who've decided that it's "inevitable," and others who have called it "wishful thinking." Chip Brown seemed to know what he was talking about the last time around, and he says it's up in the air.
One high-level Big 12 source said, "I think we'll end up at 12 and a half - to start with." That source speculated Florida State and Clemson could end up in the Big 12 or Florida State and Louisville after the very intense flirtation between the BIg 12 and Louisville when West Virginia was ultimately selected. Notre Dame would be the "half"in that equation until it's ready to give up its independence in football.
There are still a lot of details and consensus to reach before anyone can safely say who joins the Big 12, how many or when?
But who can blame FSU--I wouldn't want to be in the ACC either. The newly announced Big 12-SEC partnership, combined with the longstanding Big Ten-Pac 12 affiliation, have in effect whittled the six power conferences down to two. Sorry, Pitt.
Summertime, and the Living's Easy: Well, unless you're on the Penn State football team. Craig Fitzgerald, with what I imagine was manic gleam in his eye, has devised a new, and entirely insane training regimen for the squad, including his sadistic twist on a day at the beach. Tanning it is not.
The running workout would conclude with a series of sprints and agility drills on a nearby sand surface located just past an outdoor running track. It looked like a 50-yard by 20-yard beach. Fitzgerald referred to his new creation as "The Pit".
Winter Classic, Here We Come: It used to be that "because JoePa said so" made a convenient excuse whenever anyone wanted to hold an event that wasn't Penn State football in Beaver Stadium. "Why can't we hold commencement there?" "Wouldn't it be cool to have a concert?" "How about a hockey game?" Well, I don't know about graduation or any music festivals, but Bill O'Brien and Guy Gadowski are on the same page: Beaver Stadium would make an awesome outdoor hockey arena. First up: the new varsity Nittany Lions. After that, well, it would make a logical meeting point for a Pens-Flyers game. But while Gadowski and O'Brien plan a hockey game, they'll have to wait a little longer for a renovated scoreboard.
Speaking as part of the Penn State Coaches Caravan event at the Omni William Penn Hotel on Monday, both coaches raved about the prospects of hosting an outdoor hockey game at the home of the Nittany Lions' football team.
"Personally, I think it'd be really exciting," Gadowsky said. "We'd have to borrow [O'Brien's] building. That's probably more up to him."
Gadowsky looked at O'Brien, who passed the buck himself.
"You'd have to check with [supervisor of outdoor athletic facilities] Herb Combs," O'Brien said with a chuckle. He then reflected on his visit to Boston's Fenway Park for the NHL's 2010 Winter Classic game between the hometown Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers before throwing his weight behind the proposal.
"That's a great deal. I've seen it first hand, that's pretty neat, so yeah, I'd be all for it."
Here is your MSM Column: CBS' Dennis Dodd wrote a pretty great story about the challenge that Bill O'Brien is facing in his first year at Penn State--seriously, go read it.
Understated seems to be good at this point in Happy Valley. As a coach, O'Brien seems competent enough. At several caravan stops he conducted a no-nonsense Power Point presentation featuring all the right buzz words: trust, accountability, work ethic. He wants a big, fast, physical team that can play in any weather because in State College -- ha, ha -- it can turn in a second.
"I don't have 105 angels," O'Brien said repeatedly. "I'm not going to beat Ohio State with 105 angels."
Perhaps most impressive, O'Brien wrote every word. The two P.R. firms Penn State has retained for $2.5 million over the next year to spin its message weren't needed for this grassroots message.
Welcome Home, Handsome: 1,986 miles logged, 18 cities visited, 5000 fans entertained, 61 interviews: those are the stats for Bill O'Brien, who headlined the now-concluded 11-day Coaches Caravan. GoPSUSports has your definitive recap, with video and highlights from each stop.
It's Never Too Early for Pitchforks: ESPN's Mark Schlabach released his top 25--"way too early," by his own admission, but Penn State's not ranked, so, uh, boooooooo, I guess.
Hey Bill, Your Wife Sounds Hot: PennLive has a video interview with Colleen O'Brien about the day she found out her husband got the Penn State job.
There's Many a Man Hath More Hair than Wit: Bill O'Brien is not one of those men. But our own Tim did some tremendous sleuthing, and it turns out, it wasn't so long ago that the coach had a glorious head of hair.
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