This week is Galen's turn to come up with the questions for our Blue & White Roundtable, and he did a fine job. Make sure to visit The Nittany Line and Run Up The Score to get their take on all things Nittany Nation.
There will most likely be two Big Ten teams in the BCS bowls this season. If Michigan beats Ohio State that leaves both OSU and Wisconsin with one loss to the same #1 team, who deserves to go? (HT: anonymous commenter of TNL)
Ohio State has to get the nod there. They have a quality win over Texas. Wisconsin chose to take the easy road and schedule Bowling Green, Western Illinois, San Diego State, and Buffalo as their out of conference games. They thought the Big Ten schedule would be tough enough to earn them an at large bid. Too bad for them the Big Ten is having a down year. Now they will pay the price.
With only one game left, who is your MVP of this year's Nittany Lions? On the other side of the coin, who is your MDP (Most Disappointing Player)?
Wow that's tough. I'm torn between Poz and Hunt. Poz is the soul of the defense. He's been the dominant player we expected him to be and could sweep all the post season awards this year. But you get the impression if he went down and we had to move Tim Shaw back to linebacker or play Tyrell Sales or Jerome Hayes in his place, the defense probably wouldn't drop off that much because everyone around him is so good. If the offense would lose Tony Hunt, they would have nothing. There have been games this year when he was the entire offense (Ohio State, Minnesota, Purdue, Temple). In games where he has not found room to run we have lost. So I would say Tony is probably more valuable to the team.
The MDP would probably be Derrick Williams. I think everyone expected him to pull in over 50 catches and maybe 1000 yards and lots of touchdowns. It hasn't worked out that way and it's too bad because a lot of the reason isn't his fault. He's playing with a new quarterback that needed half a season to feel comfortable. The offensive line doesn't give said quarterback time to throw. Defenses are keying on him. And the coaches aren't exactly putting him in a position to succeed, but we'll get into that in the next question.
You have the complete autonomous power to fire one coach on Penn State's coaching staff (ONLY ONE), who is it and how will it help Penn State? (you may take the high road and say none but I don't see that happening)
Jay Paterno has to go. It's tough to mutter the Paterno name in this question, but the evidence is overwhelming. Jay has been on the staff since 1995. When was our last great offense? Answer - 1994. Chuck Fussina, Todd Blackledge, John Shaffer, Tony Sacca, Kerry Collins. All were good quarterbacks. No All-Americans, but they were serviceable and did a good job. After Jay came on board who did we have? Wally Richardson, Rashard Casey, Matt Seneca, Zack Mills, and Michael Robinson. Richardson, Casey, and Robinson did well, but mostly that was due to their abilities to turn broken plays into positive yards.
When Jay was the recruiting coordinator he practically ran the program into the ground. Now he is supposedly calling the passing plays from the booth and how are we doing? Why does Derrick Williams only get the ball on WR screens? Four out of five passing plays are 5 to 10 yard out patterns. There is no originality in the play calling. No crossing routes. No deep post patterns. He refuses to attack the middle of the field. I suspect recent changes to that effect are coming from Galen Hall or Joe Paterno himself.
Paul Posluszny's career at Penn State is coming to an end; do you agree with Jack Ham that he's the best to ever grace the sidelines in Happy Valley? In other words - where does he rank among all the great linebackers at Linebacker U?
I think Poz is the smartest linebacker I've ever seen in a Penn State uniform. He anticipates better than anyone and he's never out of position. And as far as work ethic I think he's the best ever. But I think Lavar Arrington was more physically gifted. Lavar could mix it up with an offensive lineman and break through for the sack on one play, then chase down a running back from behind on the next play, and cover a wide receiver 20 yards downfield on third down. Poz is the steady rock that won't give an inch. Lavar just caused chaos on the field which was fun and at times frustrating to watch when he was out of position. They're both great.
It has been a strange year in the Big Ten; after Michigan, Ohio State, and Wisconsin it pretty much levels out. Look into your crystal ball; which team in the Big Ten "pack" has the returning talent to distinguish themselves next season?
Michigan will be really tough if they can convince all those kids to come back. They will have Henne, Hart, Arrington and Manningham back on offense. They lose a lot of talent on defense, but they've had some great recruiting classes that will be coming of age next year. I honestly thought they were a year away this year. Next year they are going to be scary. Fortunately, those great players on offense have Lloyd Carr for a coach.
At the beginning of this season I thought Penn State had the best chance to run the table in 2007. But the offensive line never came together this year. Levi Brown will be gone and now this week his backup Chris Auletta has announced he is going to leave the team after the season. So the offensive line is going to be a huge question going into next season. More so than this season I fear. Without an established offensive line and without Tony Hunt, I have serious concerns next year could be a repeat of this year or, God help us, 2004.
Assuming college football is the number one sport in your heart, what sport is second and why? (professional sports allowed)
That's easy. NASCAR, baby. A lot of people think it's boring watching cars drive in a circle for three hours. Go play NASCAR Thunder on the Xbox or something and you'll have a whole new appreciation for how hard it is to drive at 180 mph with 43 other cars in tight space for 3 hours and not hit another car or the wall. I used to think NASCAR was boring until I found the secret. You have to have a favorite driver. Just pick one and root for him. If he sucks pick another one. Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth are pretty good. You could go with Dale Jr. if you want to, but that's kind of like being an Notre Dame fan. He gets all kinds of hype but he never wins anything. Jimmy Johnson in the 48 Lowe's Chevy is my boy. Once you pick a driver the sport takes on a new meaning. Suddenly there are villains and allies. Watch one race and you can pick up on a lot of the strategies. Run the high line or the low line? Track bar adjustments, air pressure adjustments, two tires or four? Can he make it on fuel? It's a tough choice for me on Sunday afternoons. NFL football or watch the Chase? The Chase usually wins for me.
Lightning round (short answers)
The BCS is painful to anyone not making gobs of cash off of it - if we scrap it and go to a playoff system (start holding breath now) how many teams would need to be in the playoff for you to consider it "fair?"
Eight. Take the champions from the Big 10, Big 12, SEC, ACC, PAC 10, and (sigh) Big East and add two at large teams. Drop the 12th regular season game. The playoffs would be three weeks long which shouldn't affect studies too much if you start it the week after finals.
Which college mascot not named after Mount Nittany do you think tops the rest?
Gotta love Stanford's Tree.
Which team is currently in the BCS picture that doesn't deserve to be there? (yes, I'm leading the witness)
Notre Dame. We don't want to participate in any of your loser conferences, but we insist on being given a portion of the spoils from the BCS. Give me a break.
How many more cookies will it take for Mark Mangino and Charlie Weis to become their own planetary systems? If Kansas and Notre Dame played each other would the collective mass of these two knock the earth off its rotation?
Is it true they have to butter up Charlie's hips and dress up Brady Quinn like a tuna sandwich to get him through the tunnel on game day?