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Blue White Roundtable Is On Vacation

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Yes, I'm still on vacation, if you call running yourself ragged from 6 AM to 9 PM and passing out on the couch a vacation. But fortunately I'm still finding time to drop a blog post or two for you. Today it's the Blue White Roundtable with questions compliments of Run Up The Score. Galen was last spotted at 3 AM on Monday offering sexual favors in exchange for $5 chips outside the Luxor. We're confident he'll be ok and get the chip stack back up again. Hopefully he'll have some time to take part in the Blue White Roundtable over at The Nittany Line this week. But unlike the Marines, we do leave our men behind. The Blue White Roundtable must go on. Let's get to it.

For some odd reason, the undefeated 1994 Penn State team has been popping up on various blogs and message boards lately.  What's your favorite memory of that season, and what made that team so unbelievably special?

I was a junior at University Park in 1994, so I remember that season pretty vividly. My favorite memory was Bobby Engram catching the game winning touchdown in Michigan. Not so much for the thrilling game, but for the mayhem that ensued. Michigan was ranked #5 in the country, and after them we only had to get past #21 Ohio State at home and we knew we were going undefeated.

After the game students just poured out onto College Avenue and shut it down. We paraded up and down the street. People were throwing ticker tape and toilet paper all over the place. You would think we just won World War Three.


It looked a lot like this

A group of students tried to break into Beaver Stadium to tear down the goal posts, but the police turned them away. Not to be deterred, they raided the intramural field and tore down those goal posts. After parading them up and down College Avenue they carried them across campus and dumped them in JoePa's front yard.

Around midnight that night they held a rally outside of Beaver Stadium when the team got back in town. Joe told us all how proud he was of his players and our fans. Ki-Jana got up in front of the microphone, but he couldn't talk over the chants of "Heisman! Heisman!" It was just a great day. Looking back on it now I consider it the high water mark of Penn State football.

Penn State -- and especially Penn State fans -- have always had a love/hate relationship with the Big Ten, and vice versa.  Back in '94, most of the AP voters in the Big Ten region voted Nebraska #1.  We don't need to get too far into the various officiating controversies, real or imagined, in big games against Ohio State and (especially) Michigan.  On the other hand, it's pretty clear that most non-Irish schools need some sort of conference affiliation.  Does Penn State really belong in the Big Ten?  In your eyes, what is PSU's ideal conference -- would we be better off in the Big East or ACC?  For bonus points, break apart current conferences and create your own Super Awesome Conference.

You could make the argument the Big East or ACC would be a better fit geographically, but I wouldn't trade our spot in the Big Ten for anything. The Big Ten is more Penn State's style. The Big Ten is bruising linebackers and pounding running backs. Three yards and a cloud of dust. Penn State belongs in the Big Ten. Could you picture Penn State throwing the ball around trying to keep up with Florida State and Miami in the ACC?

If I had to put together the Super Awesome Conference to Top All Conferences Conference, I would create an east coast conference to include Penn State obviously. Add Michigan and Ohio State since they would have to be a package deal anywhere they went. Add Notre Dame in there to boost the Midwest contingent. Then I would add the three Florida schools: Miami, Florida, and Florida State. To fill out the geography between Florida and the Midwest I would throw in Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech. Then since every conference needs their bottom feeders, I would throw in West Virginia and Pitt to make it twelve schools. These would also give Penn State some natural rivals.

What game on this year's schedule is most likely to induce severe depression and force you to repeatedly ask yourself on Sunday morning, "How the hell did we lose that game?"

Oh man I don't know. If we lose to Temple I'll probably shut down BSD for a month or two. The game I want the worst is Notre Dame. It may be another 10-15 years until we play them again. After the beating we took last year, we need to get them back. If we lose that game I will be very disappointed.

The hot rumor (okay, not really) is that ESPN GameDay will be coming to the PSU / Notre Dame game this September.  Generally speaking, what are your thoughts about GameDay?  Has ESPN improved college football over the past 15 years, or made it worse?

I think GameDay is great. It creates a buzz on campus and lets everyone know it's a big game. Sure ESPN has its flaws in its "World Domination of Sports" kind of way, but I would much rather have GameDay come to Happy Valley once or twice a year than to not have them. For all the crap we give ESPN, they have made college football more accessible than ever. Twenty years ago the only games you had available to watch on a Saturday afternoon were on NBC, ABC, and CBS. You might see two or three Penn State games on television per year. Now with ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU regional coverage Penn State fans can see the Nittany Lions eight or nine times per year. If the Big Ten can get their act together and give Comcast a share of the pie we'll see them even more on the Big Ten Network.

What's more ridiculous than bowl predictions in June? Talking about them in a semi-serious manner! Fox Sports recently published their 2007-2008 bowl predictions, and they have Penn State playing Georgia in the Capital One Bowl (which would roughly be the 25th anniversary of our first National Championship -- against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl). FSN has Wisconsin winning the Big Ten and heading to the Rose Bowl, along with Michigan getting the Big Ten a second BCS slot in the Sugar Bowl (against Hawaii?!?). In this scenario, Penn State finishes third in the conference, probably with a 10-2 record. Is that reasonable?  Good enough for your lofty standards?

Everyone is really high on Wisconsin this year. Why not? They went 12-1 last year, won their bowl game against one of those space age SEC teams, and they return a lot of talent. I think the Badgers are going to disappoint a lot of people who rank them in the top 10 to start the season. Remember last year they didn't have to play Ohio State and they played Penn State at home. This year Ohio State comes back on the schedule and they have to play in Happy Valley where they traditionally do not do well.

Michigan has to rebuild their defense and Ohio State has to rebuild their offense. I think Penn State will be favored in every game they play except for the Michigan game. Realistically I would say we'll go 10-2 and play in the Capital One Bowl. So if that happens I won't be slitting my wrists. After going 8-4 I'll take 10-2. But that's why they play the games. With some lucky breaks this team has a chance to go undefeated.

Lightning Round

Okay, hit us with a movie suggestion.

I'm the last guy you want to ask for this. I hate watching movies unless they have fart humor in them. For that reason I'll recommend Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. It's niiiiice!

If you could watch a game in any other college stadium, where would it be?

Michigan. Lot's of tradition, but they don't throw it all up in your face until you puke like at Notre Dame. Plus after meeting their fans in Happy Valley last year I'm pretty confident I wouldn't get killed or peed on, unlike Ohio State.

What will Notre Dame's final record be this season?

I suspect they will start 0-3 with games against Georgia Tech, Penn State, and Michigan. Then they have some tough games against UCLA, Boston College, and USC. Fortunately for them they'll end on a four game winning streak against Navy, Duke, Air Force, and Stanford. I think they'll end the year 6-6. Jimmy Clausen should have two Heismans by then and that should be good enough for them to be ranked #8 and get an invitation to the Fiesta Bowl.

That'll do it. Go check out Run Up The Score and The Nittany Line and give your opinions in the comments.