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Nitt Picks Laughs With Glee

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I mentioned the other day that Dontey Brown was conspicuously absent from the 2008 Spring Roster. It slipped past me that Travis McBride was also not on the list of players taking part this spring. Now we know why. Both players have transferred to Cal University of PA.

The recruiting class for California University's football team got a little stronger this week with the addition of six players, including two transfers from Penn State.
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Among them is Travis McBride, a 6-1, 200-pound running back who played in the 2006 Big 33 Game and will arrive in California for the start of fall camp.

McBride, a graduate of McKeesport High School, originally committed to Penn State. He will have four seasons of eligibility and join a stable of running backs that include Daine Williams, Windell Brown and Brandon Lombardy.

Dontey Brown, a 6-2, 252-pound inside linebacker, also transferred from Penn State. Brown's brother, Kendrick, will be a senior defensive lineman next season at Cal. Dontey Brown will be counted on to ease the loss of the Vulcans' starting inside linebackers and top two tacklers from last year, Brian Mohr and Josh Zunic.

McBride had trouble cracking the two deep his entire career, and academic problems made it hard for him to earn Paterno's favor. If you recall, he did not make the trip with the team to the 2007 Outback Bowl for this reason. Brown also had trouble making the lineup, which is understandable when you're playing your whole career behind guys like Paul Posluszny, Dan Connor, and Sean Lee. His departure just prior to his final year of eligibility tells me Chris Colasanti is probably the leader to take over the middle linebacker spot.

We're Penn State. You're not supposed to talk about basketball in March

Just a little basketball related info to share. Jeff Rice from the CDT has an excellent article on how the PSU basketball program is shooting itself in the foot by scheduling too many out of conference cupcakes.

And when selection time rolls around, unless you had won your conference tournament, you had better have a solid RPI. In the last 10 years, the average RPI ranking of the last at-large team in the field has been 61. New Mexico (74 in 1999) and Air Force (70 in 2004) are the only teams in that span to make the field with a ranking worse than 65.

The average RPI of those 10 teams was .5647, a number very close to that of this year's last at-large team in, Oregon. The Ducks had an RPI of .5658, which put them 58th in the country.

Which brings us back to Penn State. The Nittany Lions finished the season at 15-16, with an RPI of .5061 and a ranking of 157. To catch Oregon's RPI, the Nittany Lions would have needed at least seven more wins.

If that sounds like a tall order, it is (would have been). No Penn State team has had 22 wins by Selection Sunday. The last to make the NCAA Tournament, the 2001 edition, was 19-12 after the Big Ten Tournament, but got in largely because of its impressive RPI ranking of 24.

And then there's this part, which is almost laughable.

Penn State, which has played 83 percent of its nonconference games under DeChellis at home or neutral sites, has looked into scheduling two-for-ones, with two games played at the Bryce Jordan Center, but isn't likely to add any one-for-twos, which could allow them to schedule better competition.

"We've got a season ticket base we've got to sell," DeChellis said. "We have to have so many home games."

In other words, don't expect to see Texas or Stanford or Georgetown in the BJC anytime soon.

So much like in football, the almighty dollar is winning out. We have to sell tickets, and since we don't sellout any of our home games we have to put more games on the schedule. Then scratch your head when your season ticket holders don't show up for your big game against Denver. It's one thing in football where you can wave the $300,000 carrot in front of a mid-level MAC team to come to Happy Valley to take a beating, but you'll never get any self respecting Div-I basketball team to schedule a 2-for-1 with Penn State.

If Curley and DeChellis want to build a good program they could do so, but it's going to take sacrifice. It's going to take money. Make a commitment to do whatever it takes to give the players and coaches whatever tools they need to have the best facilities in the country. Then put good teams on the schedule. Call Pitt and line up a ten year series. If Pitt wants to play six or seven of those games in Pittsburgh, do it. Schedule some tough competition, because these high school kids aren't dying to come to State College to play against Bucknell and Princeton.

The Wizard Hat Wearing Snake Oil Saleman Strikes Again

I'm sure the rest of you love watching the Michigan fan base squirm as much as I do. This week they are convinced the end is near as Justin Boren, a starting guard and center in all of Michigan's games in 2007 and an All Big Ten Honorable Mention recipient, has left the team leaving Michigan desperately thin on the offensive line with just three scholarship players to plug five spots. That's great, unless you're a Michigan fan, but what the Wolverines should find particularly troubling is Boren's comments about why he left.

"I regret leaving behind my friends and teammates, but I need to stand up for what I know is right. I wore the winged helmet with pride, whether we won or lost, whether things were going well or times were tough," Boren said.

"Michigan football was a family, built on mutual respect and support for each other from Coach Carr on down. We knew it took the entire family, a team effort, and we all worked together. I have great trouble accepting that those family values have eroded in just a few months. That same helmet, that I was raised on and proudly claimed for the last two years, now brings a completely different emotion to me, one that interferes with practicing and playing my best and mentally preparing for what is required.

"That I am unable to perform under these circumstances at the level I expect of myself, and my teammates and Michigan fans deserve, is why I have made the decision to leave. To those of you outside the program, the loyal Michigan fans and alumni, I know you will have trouble understanding, but I do want to thank you for your years of support. I wish my teammates the best and will always be proud to have been a part of Michigan football over the past two years."

Wow. The family values of the program have "eroded in just a few months." Sounds like Rich Rodriguez is a great guy afterall. This isn't at all suspicious after all of his other conduct in the past few months since taking the job. I don't want to be a know-it-all, but I said it before and I'll say it again: I hope Michigan is happy with their new coach. He may bring a lot of wins, but he isn't bringing much honor to their program.

Predictably, Michigan blogs laugh Boren off as a dumb fat kid that didn't want to work, but I find it hard to believe one ascends to the role of starting at guard and All Big Ten Honorable Mention for the Michigan Wolverines by loafing through practice. When you read this very well prepared statement you get the sense this is a very bright kid with a good head on his shoulders. You can't help but wonder if all of this was happening to Notre Dame, would Michigan fans be as tough on the kid, or would they just call Charlie Weis a colossal asshole?