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BSD Mailbag 1.31.14

You had questions...Black Shoe Diaries has answers

Because this photo simultaneously makes me think of snow and warmer weather.
Because this photo simultaneously makes me think of snow and warmer weather.
Patrick Smith

How cool is this:

--Aries GD

Um, only just about the coolest thing ever. The End.

Why has it taken so long for the rec'd comments to turn blue? This is fantastic.--PSU12

I totally agree. It's something that's rolled out system-wide on SBN this week, and I couldn't be more excited. We had to elect to opt in, and decide the color scheme--so I guess Jared and I could have gone with pink and black (for the thumb) if we wanted--but the two-tone blue just looked and felt right. We are Penn State, dammit, not Marshall.

What feels better? Flipping a smart kid from Cal or stealing a stud receiver from Rutgers?--87Townie


In seriousness, though, both are awesome--but because it seems like decommitting from Rutgers is so en vogue right now, I'm going to go with the latter. Koa Farmer is a California native with offers from the Ivies who was going to play at Berkeley before James Franklin got him to visit. It's a stellar move, and since he'll likely be an LB eventually at PSU, my favorite one in Franklin's short time at Penn State.

JF&Co have done a tremendous job the past two weeks. The recruiting class is filling in nicely. Two questions here. 1) Any more surprises possible with two more spots available? 2) Given that he’s done such a great job coming in, flipping recruits, doing and saying all the right things, what record does JF have to produce this season in order for us to continue to feel good?--Elwood PSU

Since you wrote this question, we've got Amani Oruwariye in the fold--so now we're down to one more spot. If we do fill it, I see it going to a lineman (either offensive or defensive). But we can always save it, and use it with next year's class, if there's no one that we desperately need to have this year.

As for a record, I think as long as we see progress (ie, at least a 7-5 record with no unexpected blowout losses) then we should feel good.

The Penn State - Ohio State game in 2005:I was in attendance, the last freaking row of the upper deck south end zone, and I can still see Hali demolishing Troy Smith and Paxson falling on the fumble to seal the win. I had brought my friend Joe (a UVA grad) to the game to see what a real college atmosphere was like, and he came away appropriately impressed. To date, over numerous Skins, Nats, Caps, and Wizards games, this remains the best sporting event I have ever attended live, besting even the Skins-Cowboys season finale from last year when Alfred Morris ran for 200 yards and clinched the NFC East.

So my question is, should I feel even remotely guilty about going? The tickets were my father’s, and his appendix burst a few days before the game, laying him up. He still got to watch on TV, but he had to give the tickets up to me. Does the euphoria surrounding that game absolve me of guilt? He still brings it up occasionally, even 8-9 years later, and I smile and pretend to sympathize.--PSU Forehead



Is the use of the acronym "CJF" (Coach James Franklin) worthy of a one-week ban from the site? Or longer?--CvilleLion

Upon first use, we'll give a warning--gotta be somewhat lenient, even when we are the gestapo. Upon second? Banhammer, baby.

What's the over/under on wins this football season. Good recruiting class, some strong returnees, but a new coaching staff and system. How many can we win and more importantly will we win? Also any word on a possible reduction on the bowl ban? I know there was talk earlier, but haven’t heard anything lately.--psupro

If BOB was at the helm of this team, I'd see eight wins, easy. But until I see Franklin coach a single down, I'm just not sure exactly what to expect. I think it's very reasonable to expect at least seven wins next year; looking at the schedule, only MSU and OSU look virtually unwinnable to me. But a lot can happen between late January and August, and we won't know how the team will react to a new staff (and a fourth defensive coordinator in four years) until Dublin. If stars align? We can win 10 games next year (12 if you're bscaff). But eight seems like a number that would be good for us, with this schedule--though I know this is likely the year that the scholarship sanctions hit us the hardest, our schedule is just too light methinks for it to be any less.

As for your second question, we haven't heard anything lately because there hasn't been anything new to hear. There likely won't be anything to report until September, though all signs still point to a bowl ban reduction. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Big Ten actually can fill its entire bowl lineup this year, and we're one of those teams (playing in Florida, probably).

how bad would this place be if we were experiencing the mass departure that Rutgers is?--PSU12

We would be at post-Indiana levels of misery, I think. Not even this could save us: 836119663_medium

What would this recruiting class look like if we didn't hire Franklin? I’m going with Rutgers-esque.--Succss With Honor Always

I think that's probably putting it mildly. Rutgers has at least been able to keep a over-20 person class a week before signing day, and though they lost most of their "best" commits, they replaced them with solidly recruited, three-star guys. I'm not sure we would have been able to do that had we hired anyone besides Franklin or Golden.

If ESPN comes to campus for signing day, does Penn State:

1) Welcome them because it’s great for recruiting?, OR

2) Tell them to get off our lawn?--Les Paul Sunburst

As much as so many people on here and within the PSU community want it to be #2, it's clearly #1. Coach Franklin is a uniter, and that's of the entire PSU community--PLUS those who want to hate us. And those people watch ESPN. Yes, it's easy for us to be insular and band together and say screw anyone who hates us--the "suck it, haterz" mentality. But it's so much better to be beloved, and to turn those haters into people who root for us, who tune in and want to see us succeed--and ESPN is the best format to help us do that. It's unfortunate, but we all know they help drive the narrative--and if they can help drive the PSU narrative in a positive direction, we should use that to our advantage. Especially if we don't have to pay for it.

Most Dominant: PSU women’s volleyball or PSU wrestling or PSU women’s soccer (in B1G play)--spigmana

Listen, I love Cael. He's incredibly hot, and gives a great interview.

But it's women's volleyball, and I'm not so sure it's close. Exhibit 1:

Exhibit 2. Exhibit 3. Exhibit 4:


Aaand we're done here.

Should Michigan hire Louis Freeh to look into the Gibbons matter? Or would you be opposed because even though it is Michigan you hate Freeh more and do not want him to get more money or publicity.--Former_DC_Buck

Listen, I don't hate Freeh, per se. I just think he is way too overhyped (stands on a glass house of a reputation) and overall incompetant and I think that something as important and potentially volatile as how a university responds to rape allegations should be handled with someone that acts in a transparently impartial manner. So if Michigan does decide to have an outside firm look into what happened here, and why it took four years for Gibbons to be disassociated from the University (after he had exhausted his eligibility and completed his degree, natch), then I think they can do far better than the Freeh Group. And all victims, including the alleged victim in this case, as well as the institution involved deserve to have an outside group that is better--even if that institution is Michigan.

Which direction does Franklin go on the house purchase? Joe went with a house in the borough within walking distance of everything, BO’B went with a McMansion in Boalsburg and had to drive. Does Jimmy stay in the borough? Does he go nouveau riche and head to a development in Boalsburg or Grays Woods? Or does he do a one-off (new build or existing) in one of the outlying areas?--Smee

I think the days of our coach living in downtown State College are over--it's just not young family friendly anymore, and unless we have a coach who's of retirement age again (or a bachelor, and that has its own set of issues), being surrounded by frat houses and houses rented by college kids isn't attractive to a family with young kids. Boalsburg is likely, and Grays Woods wouldn't surprise me. I think he does stay inside the State College Area School District, which is a pretty good one for his children.

Can you say the journal acronym PNAS fast 10 times without giggling?--psualum9931

Yes. I tried and succeeded. In my office. During work hours. (Don't tell anyone)

At what temperature can you not shovel your sidewalk and still be a good neighbor?--Smee

A better question is, how long can you wait until your city or town fines you for not shovelling your sidewalk? And if they don't fine you, where do you live and how long of a commute is it to Northern Virginia?

An unabashed synth pop album won the Grammy for album of the year. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being someone pissing in David Jones’s cornflakes and 10 being the invention of the printing press, how much progress does this represent for the human race?--ckmneon

I'm not sure it marks that much progress. The Grammys are notorious for being out of touch with today's music, even when they try desperately to seem so in-touch; the nominees themselves were, overall, baffling to me. So I'm going to say a five, for meh progress?

Did the BSD staff ask for a raise since you’ll have to deal with 14 universities instead of 12???--GoodOleDays

Hahaha, a raise. Money. Hilarious.

As a single Brit, should I move to the States and hope my British accent actually works like it does in the movies or is that just Hollywood hogwash?--neilmonnery


It wouldn't be quite as quick as Love Actually, but dude, let me tell you--you likely wouldn't be alone for long once you got to these shores.

Thanks to everyone who submitted questions!...if I didn't get to yours, it was either because I couldn't find an answer I thought was satisfactory, or else the commentariat already answered it far better than I felt I could. Try again next week, though, when Jared's got the mailbag again.