Sorry for my absence this week. Yesterday I was just worried about how the hell I was going to get home to Philadelphia. I was one of the masses standing in airports all day staring at screens trying to figure out a plan to get from point A to point B. I guess you could say I was like Jay Paterno, except I managed to get to my destination. ZING!
With that, let's take a seat at the Blue-White Roundtable a day late. Galen has the questions this week.
First the Reggie Bush scandal and now Joe McKnight outs USC's less then perfect recruiting practices. Will Southern Cal get slapped by the NCAA or will Teflon Pete walk away unscathed? Should the NCAA do something or are we just jealous that USC gets all the recruits?
Well, USC is doing an internal investigation into the Joe McKnight scandal, so I'm sure they will get to the bottom of it and impose proper sanctions on themselves that everyone will be satisfied with. I'm sure they will deny themselves scholarships and bowl games if they did something wrong.
Seriously though, I don't know how much longer the NCAA is going to choke on the smoke before they start looking for the fire. I think they like USC being a dominant program because other than them there is no headline grabbing team west of the Rocky Mountains. I hope they look at that program soon. But don't worry about ol' Petey. He'll be just fine. He could probably have his pick of any coaching job in the country right now, and that includes the NFL.
We're number 2! In attendance, that is. Penn State's football fans ranked second in NCAA Division I-A football attendance during the 2006 season for the fourth time this decade. We have finished among the top four in Division I-A attendance for 16 consecutive years. Are we that devoted or just that nuts?
It is amazing to me. If you consider the 2000-2004 stretch to be the dark ages, Penn State football is really going through a renaissance period right now. I can't ever remember this much excitement about the team as there is now. Paternoville and Whiteouts are a few examples of renewed excitement about the team. Ticket prices keep going up and still the request for tickets increases every year. It's exciting, but at the same time for those who can remember the days of walking up to the ticket window the day of the game and buying a ticket for $12 the commercialization and competition for tickets is irritating.
What this new generation of fans has to learn is how to handle success. The current college students are really just starting to get a taste of success for the first time. They don't realize it is not an entitlement. Sometimes the team sucks. They are not perfect. But you still support the team and have to remain classy at all times because that, as a fan, is the only thing you have control over. I wish some of the younger fans could figure this out.
Now the recruiting "experts" are saying that the northeast isn't strong at running back this year, is it time for Penn State to panic or can we assume the coaches will successfully recruit out of their backyard to get a top notch RB next season?
They may have to. They will have to go wherever the talent is. I suspect they will get one of the top runningbacks out of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area just to fill the roster spot. They can't afford to completely strike out again. Then they will go national and probably pick three or four of the top running backs in the country and try to land at least two of them. Given that current projections only show two running backs on the 2008 roster we should be able to offer instant playing time and the chance to rewrite a lot of school records. That should be appealing to a lot of kids. If Tony Hunt goes early in the NFL draft that will help too.
Thanks to Greg Schiano, Rutgers is now dead sexy. Scarlet Knights merchandise is flying off the shelves and season tickets are sold out. Is this just a case of a flash in the pan or is Rutgers now a football powerhouse?
Well, the saying goes "Once is a fluke. Twice is a coincidence. Three times is a trend." Right now you have to lump Rutgers into the fluke category. But one thing is for sure. Penn State can't consider New Jersey to be their personal minor league system anymore. They will have to begin recruiting New Jersey harder than they have in the past. They got used to New Jersey high school coaches calling them up and saying, "Hey come look at this kid." Now those coaches are starting to call Schiano so Penn State is going to have to be very visible in the Garden State. But we're fortunate that we still have a lot of advantages over Rutgers. The allure of Big Ten competition versus the Big East. More tradition, exposure and better facilities also mean a lot. Rutgers has to repeat their success a few times before we crown them Beast of the East.
Because I am out of ideas and there is little to talk about I actually stole this from a message board (I have no shame): give me 5 programs that you respect.
1 through 3 are the academies: Army, Navy, and Air Force. They are all about class and sacrifice.
Number four would be Michigan. They have a proud winning tradition with very little scandal (at least on the football side). Sure they are arrogant, but it's a quiet kind of turn-up-your-nose-and-walk-away arrogance. They don't waste their time convincing you how great they are. They just let their winning tradition speak for themselves. Unlike a certain other school that wears golden domed helmets.
Number five would be Tennessee. I know their coach is an ass and they have had their share of scandal in recent years, but after interacting with Joel and other UT fans prior to the Outback Bowl I came away with the impression they are really good people. Going back to my earlier comments, the behavior of the fans means a lot to the perception of those outside the program.
Now that Brandi the Wonderdog is laying on the couch next to God as he watches his Nittany Lions what should I use against Lee Corso next season?
B) Coin flip
C) Inanimate Carbon Rod
D) Lindsay Lohan (drunk, of course)
E) Other: please specify
You can't go wrong with any of these. I think anything can beat Corso. I'll say in Rod We Trust.
THON dancers raised 4.21 million last year to fight pediatric cancer; can they possibly beat that total this weekend?
Nothing surprises me with THON anymore. I see kids standing at traffic lights down here in suburban Philadelphia canning for money. THON is one of the truly amazing things about Penn State right up there with football games and Arts Fest.
Now that Sting has reunited with The Police can we safely assume the end is near? (sorry, I'm a Police fan)
Is their anything more depressing than old rock stars reuniting and going back on tour to earn a buck? But I do think this is great. I used to crank up my walkman my Police cassette tape dancing around the house to "Don't Stand So Close to Me", "Message in a Bottle", and "Every Breath You Take" until I wore the tape out. The only thing that could top this is Pink Floyd getting back together for good.
It's Valentine's day, did you get your sweetie something nice?
Heck no. I went out of town and left her with a sick kid and driveway to shovel. Actually, I did get her a Valentine's card and stuffed it with an iTunes card. I also bought her a box of chocolates at the airport but I forgot to give it to her when I got home last night.