#6. SI ranked the Top 25 sports programs in the nation based on 2007-2008 performance. The Nittany Lions came in sixth overall and first in the Big Ten on the heels of two Volleyball national championships. I find these kinds of things a little pointless and filled with too many variables to take seriously, but the formulas are interesting none the less:
Here's how we came up with the rankings. In step one, we awarded 10 points to each national championship team for 22 sports (11 men's -- baseball, basketball, cross country, Division I-A football, golf, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, indoor track & field and volleyball -- and 11 women's -- basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, indoor track & field and volleyball). We made a conscious effort to balance sports with regional biases. So, for example, men's lacrosse -- a predominately East Coast sport -- was countered with men's volleyball.
This doesn't really make any sense to me. Football and basketball are clearly national, but baseball in entirely a southern and western sport. Same goes for golf (although I admit to having to look this up, but not one of the top nine programs of the last 20 years is anywhere near Big Ten country). That is partially offset by hockey, but there are so few hockey schools it seems like a strange inclusion. Same goes for lacrosse. Despite Penn State winning both of the volleyball NC's, that is still a sport completely dominated by west coast teams.
So while it still seems like these "best program" lists continue to have a west coast bias, Penn State somehow managed a very strong finish.
Lacrosse. Penn State recruit Steven Rastivo is getting quite a bit of attention for his performance in the final seconds of the Under Armour All-America game he played in, stopping a shot with :40 left in the game as his team held on for a one goal victory. The shot came point blank, a play that almost always ends in a goal for the shooter. What I'm trying to say is it was a big save and it sounds like PSU landed a real solid player for the future.
In other news, the league the Lions are departing, the ECAC, is in the middle of a desperate effort to save itself
"Priority number one is, let's get six teams on board and solidify this AQ," Toomey said Monday. "Then, we'll look at reaching out to a seventh or eighth team in the league." .
Conferences are required to have six members in order to maintain an automatic qualifier ("AQ" above) to the NCAA tournament. The leading theory is that they may attempt to either poach or merge with the Great Western LL, however the travel implications of low budget teams thousands of miles apart is something that would need to be addressed.
Finally, Penn State's only Big Ten rival, Ohio State, finally replaced the coach they lost to the higher profile position at North Carolina. His name is Nick Myers, which doesn't mean anything to anyone.
Joe Blackburn. Who recently signed with the independent Beach Bums, shed his awful Michigan colors and has been signed to a proper minor league team. He has entered the Phillies' farm system.
Frats? One frat boy's man's quest to do away with those awful abbreviations.
Also. The Lift For Life team of Clark, Hull, Miskinis and Shuler win the competition....The Big Ten Media Day will be on the BTN.