Alright, Penn State football, let's get something straight - you're not going to play in a meaningful game anytime soon. Because of the NCAA sanctions, you have no shot at going to a bowl game, much less a national title game. You're playing for yourselves. I get that. Totally cool. But there's something bigger at stake here.
I'm not insinuating the effort wasn't there from Penn State in their 34-31 loss to UCF on Saturday evening. I'm just asking Bill O'Brien and company to understand where the priorities lie.
They lie with Pat Chambers and the basketball program.
For the few of you who don't follow Penn State basketball recruiting, the staff had invited top-100 forward Melvin Swift of Yates, TX up to Happy Valley for an official visit this weekend. By the recruit's account, the visit went well enough, I suppose:
Heading to the airport. It was a Unbelievable weekend at Penn State I had a great time— Melvin Swift (@ThatBoySwift) September 15, 2013
To the untrained eye the tweet indicates a swell time. But to those who know how to decipher the tweets of teenage phenoms, the visit was missing something. Something he'd like to experience a lot over the next four seasons: victory.
With just 13 scholarships to give out, the stakes are exponentially higher in basketball recruiting than in its gridiron counterpart. Securing a commitment from a kid like Swift is the football equivalent of landing five Allen Robinsons. So, for the Nittany Lions to lay an egg like they did last night with five Allen Robinsons on campus is simply inexcusable.
If you think Penn State should pay no mind to hoops and won't benefit from success on the hardwood, I have two words for you: Florida. Gators. Billy Donovan won back-to-back national titles in 2006 and 2007 and hey, wouldn't you know it? The football team won itself a couple of championships themselves, in 2006 and 2008. Winning breeds winning, and the sooner Christian Hackenberg and his team realize this the better off they'll be when the games actually matter.
Today, Chambers must be pleading with O'Brien, in the style of the immortal Jerry Maguire: "help me, help you."
Help him help you, BO'B.
It might be the only chance you have.
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