The weather is beautiful here today. In fact, when I woke up I said, "The sun is shining like a sickday" and decided to take the day off from work. I'm starting to look forward to Wednesdays. It's hard coming up with good content in the off season. Especially now that basketball is over. The Blue-White Roundtable is like my day off. All I have to do is answer the questions from The Nittany Line and Run Up The Score. RUTS provides the questions this week. Go check those guys out to get their take.
The Penn State men's basketball team ended their horrific season with a predictable but exciting loss against Illinois in the Big Ten tournament. The Nittany Lions ended the season with one win in their final sixteen games. All signs point to Ed DeChellis returning to the Lions' bench next season, but should he? If so, what is the bare minimum he has to do next year in order to keep his job?
I think Ed deserves to keep his job for now. A lot of the problems this year had to do with injuries and lack of depth more than coaching. Although there was a tipping point this season where the team just kind of gave up. I think it was after blowing the 15 point lead in the first game against Indiana. After that loss they went on to lose to Michigan by 20, Michigan State by 27, and Iowa by 16 in their next three games and everything snowballed from there. Had they held on against Indiana I think things would have gone differently. The fact that the team was unmotivated rests partly with the coach. But I'm willing to give Ed a pass for now. Considering how bad the program was when he took over, he deserves a few passes. I think a reasonable goal for next year would be six or seven wins in the Big Ten and an NIT bid. Do that with four freshmen getting a good bulk of the minutes and you're doing pretty good.
With bouncyball out of the way, it's time for football (as if football season ever actually ends). Who are your top three Big Ten teams heading into next year and why?
- Michigan - The Wolverines return everyone on that great offense. Henne and Hart will be Heisman contenders in all the preseason magazines. They have to rebuild the defense, but that's easier to do than the offense and they have plenty of talent on the depth chart.
- Penn State - After looking completely lost throughout the 2006 season, Anthony Morelli now has a little mojo after the Outback Bowl and that attitude is carrying through winter workouts and spring practice. The offensive line should be better and the defense returns a ton of talent.
- Wisconsin - They are a blue collar team that went 12-1 last year and returns a lot of people. PJ Hill will have to stay healthy and whoever claims the QB slot vacated by Stocco better be good. I think Wisconsin overachieved last year with the talent they had and an easy schedule. This year they come to Happy Valley where they historically have not done well.
Who will be the lowest seed to win a NCAA tournament game this week?
What is this tour-na-ment you speak of? I went to Penn State. I know of no tour-na-ment.
Seriously though, I suck at predicting upsets in basketball. I've never won the office pool. I think a couple #10 seeds are going to win, like Georgia Tech and Texas Tech. I think USC has a tough game against #14 Arkansas. And you have to love any team name that makes you snicker, like #14 Oral Roberts.
Penn State is selling a DVD of highlights from the 2006 football season. What's your highlight from 2006?
Dropping 10 strokes off my golf game with my new driver. Oh, did you mean football? Well, my favorite game would have to be the Michigan game. Even though we lost, that atmosphere is what college football is all about. The Outback Bowl would be a close second.
My favorite play would be Poz sacking Juice Williams in the Illinois game causing the fumble that Tony Davis scored on. That was the 2006 season in a nutshell. The crappy offense was doing its best to blow the game, but Poz wouldn't let it happen and the defense stepped up to save the day.
Who wins in a fight, 30 midgets or a full-grown lion? Hey, it's a slow time for PSU sports.
Is this a Nittany Lion? And are these ordinary midgets or are we talking miniature clones of Poz? If it's the Nittany Lion, then the midgets win. I mean, the Nittany Lion is just a guy in a suit. The midgets could even scratch his eyes through the mouth of the costume. If it's a real lion then the lion wins. I mean, what are the midgets going to do? Bite the lion? Yeah that's going to work. A real lion versus miniature Poz's though, well then the Poz's win cuz you know...it's Poz.
Who wins the men's basketball tournament?
I have Kansas in my bracket. So I'm sticking with that.
Give us a music recommendation!
I am the last guy you want to ask for music recommendations. My music collection pretty much stopped growing after college. I like to listen to Bob Dylan when I'm in the car or on a plane. Everyone should own "Bringing It All Back Home" and Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits.
What's your favorite "underrated" Penn State football memory?
November 18, 1995. The "Snow Bowl" with Michigan. I was sitting (standing) in the student section with 20 inches of fresh snow under our feet. The entire game was a huge snowball fight. People were throwing snow on the field too. At one point, Michigan was backed up to their goal line in our corner of the field. Their QB was under center about to take the snap when someone hit him in the back of the head with a snowball. The refs threw a flag on the student section and moved Michigan ahead 15 yards to get them away from us. Joe came down to our corner of the field no less than three times telling us to knock it off.
A key play to that game happened near the end. Penn State was driving for a late touchdown. A deep throw went to Bobby Engram in our corner. He jumped up but the defender slipped when he planted his foot. Engram caught the touchdown and Penn State went on to win. I'm convinced to this day that defender slipped because the endzone was covered with snow from all the students throwing snowballs on the field. That was a great game. It's also the last time we beat Michigan at home.