Well we're all back from vacation and getting back in the groove. Your humble blogger has the questions this week. The Nittany Line and Run Up The Score are riding shotgun, but they aren't sitting in each other's laps or anything. Not that there's anything wrong with that. You know what I mean. Let's just get on with it.
Last week Indiana head coach Terry Hoeppner died from his year long fight with brain cancer. Will this serve as an inspiration that will lead the Hoosiers to their first bowl game in 14 years or will it plunge them into the basement of the Big Ten?
I was starting to think the Hoosiers were putting it together last year. They had some impressive wins over Iowa, Michigan State, and the upstart Illini. They were only one win away from being bowl eligible. I think Hoeppner's death changes everything now. There was uncertainty throughout the spring concerning Hoeppner's situation. Bill Lynch will coach this year, but beyond that who knows. I think the uncertainty will bring this team down and Indiana is poised to have a terrible year like Northwestern did last year.
Negotiations between Big Ten chief Jim Delany and cable television provider Comcast over distribution of the Big Ten network are getting ugly. Now each side is demanding the other side apologize for public remarks they made. Who is the bad guy in all of this and who is going to get screwed?
Let me publicly say I hate Jim Delany. It's because of him and his insistence on handcuffing the Big Ten to the Rose Bowl that we don't have a college football playoff. Now he's trying to horde Big Ten football on the Big Ten Network. He's insisting that Comcast charge $1.10 per subscriber and put it on basic cable across the country. I can just picture the little old lady in Florida opening the letter from Comcast informing her they are going to start charging her a dollar a month to watch wrestling matches and women's soccer games when all she wants is Lifetime and the Gameshow network.
Comcast wants the Big Ten network to be an extra pay channel. The Big Ten doesn't want this because only hardcore Big Ten fans will buy the channel meaning their revenue will only be about 20% of what it would be under the Big Ten's proposal. But you have to think Comcast knows what they are doing. They are supposedly the experts in knowing what people will watch and what they are willing to pay. Delany has zero experience in running a television network. He should keep his mouth shut and take whatever Comcast will give him just to get his network on the air. Once it's on a year or two you'll have a better idea what the market is willing to pay for it.
In the end the consumer is going to get screwed in this. Comcast wants their piece of the pie and so does the Big Ten. The wheels are in motion now. If people don't pay to see Northwestern play Indiana they will fix it down the road so you will have to pay to see Michigan-Ohio State. I'm already upset that at least three Penn State games will be appearing on the Big Ten channel this year and as of right now I have basic Comcast cable. Anyone got some extra tickets?
This week Penn State picked up two linebacker commitments from Mike Mauti and Mike Yancich. Mauti and Zordich are legacy recruits and Yancich isn't even the most coveted linebacker on his high school team. Do you think PSU should have held out for a bigger name recruit like Jon Major or would you rather take the safe choice and get the roster spot filled with solid though not All-American-type talent?
I touched on this in the comments the other day which gave me idea for the question. When you have a position of need I think sometimes it's worth taking a solid player when you can get them even though they may not have All American potential. It may not seem like it with the recruiting class we had last year, but Penn State has a pretty significant need at linebacker this year. Dan Connor, Sean Lee, Jerome Hayes, Dontey Brown, and Tyrell Sales all graduate in the next two years. With the 2007 and 2008 classes we will be bringing in six solid linebackers to replace them.
It would be nice to hold out to see what Jon Major is going to do, but that could be February. Are you going to ask a kid being recruited by Florida, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma to sit around and wait to see if you have a spot for him? You're basically telling him he's your second or third choice if you do. Meanwhile he sees roster spots filling up and offers being taken off the table and he's getting antsy to commit somewhere. Sometimes when a three or four star recruit says he really wants to play for you you take him over the five star guy who can't decide until signing day.
Many people are picking Wisconsin as a darkhorse to win the Big Ten. Where do you think the Badgers will finish this season?
Wisconsin had a pretty easy schedule last year. They lucked out by missing Ohio State. They played two ranked teams: Michigan and Arkansas. Michigan beat them pretty soundly and Arkansas beat them in every statistical category except the scoreboard.
This year is a different story. They get Michigan and Ohio State in consecutive weekends. They struggled against Penn State last year, but they year they play in Happy Valley where they traditionally don't do well. P.J. Hill has a tough time staying healthy. John Stocco and Joe Thomas are gone, but just about everyone else returns. I think they'll be good, but they'll finish around third or fourth in the conference.
Last week Paterno was in Pittsburgh and the local media asked him about renewing the series with Pitt. Paterno basically said over my dead body. Is there any scenario under which you could see the series resumed?
Paterno says we need seven home games per year. Now that they extended the regular season to twelve games it seems like we should be able to make this happen. We have four home games in the conference schedule. With four out of conference games it seems like there should be a way to work this out so we get three more home games and get Pitt on the schedule. We could still schedule teams like Notre Dame, Alabama, and Nebraska for one-and-ones. Just schedule the PSU home part of the series in years we play at Pitt. Fill in the other two out of conference games with Temple and whatever Div. I-A bottom feeder you want. Just please no more Youngstown State.
Of course as a condition to this they should make Pitt agree to not force fans to buy a package of tickets to get tickets to the Penn State game. Temple did that this year for the PSU game in Philly. I bought tickets and had to purchase tickets to two games I don't even care to see. So if anyone wants tickets to see Temple play Buffalo or Kent State, I'm your man to talk to.
Lightning Round - Pimp My Ride Edition
What kind of car do you drive?
I drive a 2000 Ford Explorer Limited with 90,000 miles on it. I bought it used in 2002 with 28,000 miles on it. Living in PA you gotta have four wheel drive.
How do you get the tunes you listen to while driving: AM/FM, Satellite, CD's or iPod?
Usually I listen to AM radio on the way to work in the morning. I like Michael Smerconish. On the way home at night I'll listen to FM radio because I can't stand Sean Hannity. The funny thing is the display on my radio quit working a couple of years ago so I have no idea what radio stations I'm listening to. I'm completely dependent on my presets to know what station I'm on.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how clean is your car? Ten being a surgical clean room and one being a toilet seat recently used by Paris Hilton?
I have to say it's about a 3 or 4 right now. I have a two year old so I'm always hauling kid junk around. But he's actually the clean one. I hate when my wife is in my car because she treats vehicles like trash cans. She will eat a candy bar and throw the wrapper on the floor or stuff it in the cup holder. Or she'll blow her nose and stuff the used tissue in the little pouch on the door. It's pretty disgusting when I find them a month later. Also, we just got back from the beach, so there is a pile of sand in the back from hauling the beach stuff around all week.
So what does your car look like? Let us know in the comments. Then go check out The Nittany Line and Run Up The Score.