That's a distinction we normally don't make here at BSD, but under the circumstances I think it's important to point out that we are all getting on with things...
Coaches' Poll Is Out. As you may have heard, the coaches placed the Nittany Lions at 22 in the annual Pre-Season Poll. While you are looking over the abbreviated list below, I'll be trying to think of something as worthless as a Coaches Poll in August.
#3 Ohio State
#22 Penn State
Nope, couldn't come up with anything. These guys have real jobs and the amount of prep work for the upcoming season hardly allows for any type of national Steelesk analysis.
That being said, Illinois seems high for a team struggling to replace their two best players. Michigan is also in a curious position, although to be fair no one really knows what to expect from that team.
Dream On. SMQ, in the midst of his victory lap, has added Penn State to his list of "Dreamer", much better than an "Also-Ran", but not quite as talented as the "Short Listers".
... it's also the only defense to allow less than three yards per carry each of the last three years. So nine returning starters, with much expected of the youngsters moving into the vacant positions, is an appropriate foundation for high optimism. There is no chance with this group that the bottom will fall out.
So that's good news. But it gets worse.
They're not a challenger to Ohio State, especially with the game in Columbus (OSU has won the last seven vs. PSU at the Horseshoe by an average of three touchdowns), but if Daryll Clark can pass well enough, or Pat Devlin run well enough, to balance the much-publicized "Spread HD," the Lions are a BCS contender. But that probably means going 6-1 against Oregon State, Purdue, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan (the Lions get the rebuilding Wolverines at home but have lost nine straight in the series), Iowa, and Michigan State, which is going to take more than two touchdowns per game.
SMQ takes an approach I approve of, even if it is a bit of a cop out. His rankings are based on where he thinks each team will finish in the final poll. So rather than rank by talent or results or anything else, he is actually attempting to project the wins and losses, then project how the entire AP body will interpret those results. He's smart enough to do this, anyone who has read his blog will agree, so what I think we have to take away from this is that the schedule is tough and the clustered road games aren't an advantage.
So What's The Problem? As is well documented on the Ohio State blogs, Steve Pamon's contract as a Big Ten referee has not been renewed for the 2008 season.
So was it just the bad calls?
After the season, a Yahoo Sports investigation revealed Pamon had a history of bankruptcy, casino gambling, child abuse and allegations of sexual harassment.
With all the horrible game altering calls that Penn State fans have endured, it was just too perfect that one bad break for the Buckeyes leads to people losing their jobs. I really hoped that I was going to be able to spin this, but the story isn't just the one blown call. (I still don't understand how he was given the position in the first place.)
But let's look at the bright side. The guy standing four feet away from this play, one that was ruled a completion, is obviously of great character...otherwise the fair and favoritism-free Big Ten would have never invited him back.
[/half sarcasm, half sadness...and I'm not bitter or anything]
Good Day To Be A Professional Scalper. Penn State home games are sold out.
Unprecedented demand for Penn State season tickets has resulted in a complete sellout for the 2008 Nittany Lion football campaign, approaching the record-setting totals set in 2007 for public and student season tickets.
With more than 93,500 season tickets accounted for in a second consecutive year, Penn State fans have assured that Beaver Stadium will again host some of the largest football crowds in the nation this fall. Beaver Stadium is the nation's largest facility with a capacity of 107,282.
Emphasis mine...still not getting old.
The MAC Abides. The BIg Ten and Mid-American Conference will be running the same instant replay system this fall.
The program will be administered by the Big Ten's coordinator of officials, David Parry, with assistance from MAC coordinator of officials Carl Paganelli.
"We strongly believe this marks the next natural step in regionalizing another of the important functions of college football officiating, with a goal toward increased consistency and professionalism," Chryst said in a statement.
With the Big Ten and MAC sharing so many out of conference games, they were a logical choice to partner up with. Previously, the away team was required to agree to instant replay in order for the game to be played under its watch. With this agreement, it appears all games between the conferences will be subject to replay.