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BSD Mailbag 10.1.13

Lots of questions this week! And most of them are actually football related...color me amazed. Let's get to it.

Yeah, I did it.
Yeah, I did it.
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

NFC East Worst division or worst division ever?—PSUBuch

I’m gonna go with worst division this year. You do know you’re writing to a Skins fan, after all…and I refuse to believe that the entire season is as bad as it’s been so far. I’m cautiously optimistic we can still win the division (granted, that’s not saying much) and lost in the first round of the playoffs. Plus, I don’t think any of the NFC East teams are as bad as, say, Jacksonville or Tampa Bay.

Okay, maybe the Giants.

Will Penn State win more than the Steelers and Eagles combined?--PSU12

At first I was like, LOL no way, then I realized that these two teams have a combined 1 win between them through four games. So, it may happen—depends on if PSU can win more than the seven games I predicted preseason. If the Nittany Lions pull off the miracle and go 10-2 (still a possibility, however unlikely) it wouldn’t surprise me if they’re the team in the state with the best record amongst FBS and NFL football teams.

Pittsburgh Steelers Worst team on two continents?--No.21

I honestly haven’t watched them play so far this year (whenever they’re on I’m too busy looking for Mike Tomlin on the sidelines—swoon!) so we’ll just say MAUTI SMASH.

And it was also nice that Hodges got some time against the Steelers in the UK as well.

Who goes first Tom Caughlin [sic] or Mike Tomlin? And does Lame Kiffin get either job cause he is awesome?--rph75

Will Lane Kiffin get another job?--Mr. Rosewater

Where does Lane Kiffin end up?--Success With Honor Always

Boy, you guys are all about the NFL questions this week, aren’t you?

I’m going to say that Tomlin lasts longer, but that may just because I want to see him on the sideline longer. For football rooting interest, I’d prefer Coughlin to stick around because 0-4 despite Eli balling out the first week is kinda funny.

Lane Kiffin falls upwards, so you never know…but I doubt he’ll get another job this high profile (read: head coaching position) this offseason. I see him taking a coordinator position for a year or two before some other woefully blinded team gives him their reigns yet again.

Assuming BOB stays this year (and I think he will), Do you think anyone on the staff might leave for a head coaching vacancy elsewhere? Related question: Last time the UConn job was available, they were supposedly very interested in Tom Bradley. Any chance Scrap gets an interview this time around?--newenglandnittanylion

I don’t see anyone leaving for a head coaching position this year. The only potential candidate I see for a HC position down the road is John Butler, and his defense has been okay but not stellar enough to warrant such a quick jump. If he does much better next year (and in the coming years, with a full roster of scholarship players) I’d expect him to get that promotion.

Larry Johnson, Ron Vanderlinden, and Mac McWhorter likely will retire as PSU coaches. When will that be? Your guess is as good as mine; I’m hoping not until about 2018. The other position coaches are too under the radar or new to big time NCAA football for me to think they’d jump for a HC position—but a coordinator position at a lower level school isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

As for Scrap, I think UConn has probably had their fill of former PSU players for now. I think they go in a completely different direction, unfortunately, because I think Bradley would make a mid-major FBS program very happy as HC.

FootBawwwl Q: O/U 500 yards allowed versus Indiana? yes, UCF did that to us at home. Will the defense fare better in Bloomington?--PSU-JMO

Under. UCF gained just over 500 yards (507 to be exact) and while Indiana’s offense is good, it’s not as good as UCF’s. And I think our defense has learned from that experience.

I also think Indiana’s defense is not as good as UCF’s, which means we should be better on offense earlier in the game this week than we were three weeks ago—which means our D should be able to get more rest in the first half than they did versus UCF. Overall, I expect Indiana to gain around 350-400 yards, and 28-ish points. Whether I think that’s enough to beat us this week is a discussion for the podcast and Blue/White Roundtable.

Non FootBawwwl Q: Craziest superstitous things done before PSU or non-PSU games? Mine are not crazy. But have to wear blue and white with a jersey that is consistent with what the team is wearing.--PSU-JMO

My whole family is very wardrobe superstitious. This is the first year I’m trying to relax myself on that front; my mother and sister will wear literally everything the same to every game, down to the shirt beneath their jersey and the socks in their shoes. My sister even has "game pajamas" that she has to wear the night before every football game.

I’m with you on the jerseys, I’ve been switching between my white #22 and blue #42 depending on what the team wears. So, this week, it’ll be Akeel Lynch John Cappelletti. I also can’t eat during the games, but that’s more because I get really super nervous than any superstition.

Will the "targeting" rule be changed this off-season? If so, how?--GoodOleDays

This rule actually hasn’t had the massive negative impact that I expected it would have in the first month of the football season. If it continues on this path (I think only a handful of players have been ejected, most recently a Notre Dame linebacker in Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma), then I expect it to remain intact for the 2014 season.

Should oatmeal cookies contain raisins?--bscaff

Only if they don’t contain chocolate chips.

How worried are you about a slow start this weekend? Especially with the fact that it will be essentially an 11 AM kickoff for our boys?--RitterPSU

I’m not sure what you mean about an 11 am kickoff, since Bloomington is in the eastern time zone…but I think it’s a valid concern. We’ve been starting slow since the first game, and only one kickoff has been at noon so far. I actually think that it benefits us that this game is on the road, because the players will be up and ready to go early in their hotel room anyway. We’ll see, I guess. But I would put my level of worry at about a yellow.

People always say when Team X runs the ball Y amount of times they win Z% (high percentage) of the time But I submit that their analysis is flawed. A team runs more to preserve a lead, and passes more to catch up; hence the higher winning percentage when winning. Agree or disagree?--garder54

This seems like a football "chicken or egg" scenario to me. I see both sides; your argument makes complete sense, as (in some circumstances) does the other. I think, more often than not, it has to do with the scheme/system that a team runs. For most run-first teams, if they run a high percentage of the time they win—because they would only be put in a passing situation if they’re losing. I think for pass-first teams, that percentage might be lower because a bigger majority of their called run plays would likely be in the second half, when they’re preserving their lead.

How’s that for another non-answer for you!

Do you think Robinson will bounce back with a big game and why?--psualum9931

Yes, because Indiana’s defense is not very good, and we won’t be playing in torrential downpours this week (though there are scattered showers currently in the forecast).

In light of today's events, I am asking this question with an Eye to the Future! What is the most ridiculous negative reaction from within the PSU fanbase to the reduction in sanctions?--WBF

I think overall reaction has been positive, so I haven’t seen much negative reaction from within the fanbase. What I’ve seen has been along the lines of "good start, not enough, NCAA had no jurisdiction in the first place"—which isn’t incorrect, but that shouldn’t be our main stance. The court of public opinion has decidedly swung in our direction, and while I don’t think we should only care about what the public says (a public that was so quick to crucify anything having to do with PSU) I also think we shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. I think we look whiny if all we talk about in public, with non-Penn Staters, is how this isn’t enough. I think we should accept this reduction (because, let’s face it, while the NCAA should have done it, they by no means had to) and work behind the scenes on getting anything else done we can. Because that’s what worked on this initial reduction—behind the scenes stuff. And, potentially, the threat of discovery in a lawsuit, but the NCAA will never admit to that.

I’m a pessimist by nature, so I started thinking – what is the likelihood that Penn State agreed to make Vicky Triponey the next president of Penn State in exchange for the increase in football scholarships Penn State received from the NCAA?

Follow-up question – if Vicky Triponey was named the new president of Penn State, how likely is it that she would melt down the Paterno statue and have it re-cast as a statue of her kicking a football player in the nuts?--Aqua Velva Man

Part one: no.

Part two: see part one.

If you could have attended PSU during any 4 year period other than when you actually did attend, what consecutive years would you pick?--kijana’s acl

This is an awesome question. There’s so many to choose from—how do I pick?

Oh, yeah, handsome men.

For that reason, I’m going to go with ’92-’95. You get the end of the independent era and the beginning of the B1G, plus the ’94 season in there. And Kerry Collins was my first celebrity crush. So, that.

Honorable mention goes to any four years surrounding ’82 and ’86, plus the ’68-’69 undefeated seasons.

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