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BSD Mailbag 9.1.15

Get ready for the season with a big ol' mailbag.

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What would Zettel's WWE character be? Or what character, current or past, would he most resemble? -- Ben16

He's a big, hossy mother f'er who can murder you with the fact that he's a monster but also kick your head in. So Rusev. Have you seen Rusev before? He's amazing. And he cuts the most hilarious promos in WWE outside of New Day because he's a silly dude, just like Zettel. I love him, and I love Anthony Zettel, so it works.

Predict the O-Line on a scale of 1-10. Where 10 = Concrete wall and 1 = 2014 redux. -- PSUHist14

I'm going to change the scale, so 1 represents "literally everyone gets past the OL" and 10 represents "literally nobody gets past the OL." I really like how this line has a fair amount of experience and the team's new left tackle seems to have progressed a lot during camp. Plus there are, you know, bodies who can come in and give guys breaks when needed.

Still, I think there are plenty of reasons for pessimism right now that could fix themselves as the season goes on. We'll start at a 4 or a 4.5, with the potential to get up to a 7 or an 8 by the end of the year, which seems fair.

Who do you predict will be the top 3 RB's come September 5th? And how much of a rotation do you think we’ll see? -- Drea1020

1) Akeel Lynch

2) Mark Allen

3) Saquon Barkley

I think Lynch is pretty obviously the guy who will be the starting back to start the year. Allen has apparently looked great in practice, is an insane athlete and can pass block really well, so I think that gives him a bit of an advantage at first. Limiting Saquon at first and easing him into the college game makes a ton of sense, and I would be really surprised if he gets more than 6-10 carries a game over the first few games.

As for how much of a rotation, I think we're going to see a ton, just not with Akeel at first. I would be shocked if James Franklin has any idea who his No. 2 back is, so it stands to reason that Allen, Barkley, Johnathan Thomas and Nick Scott will all get some run. This issue will certainly fix itself as the year goes on, though, namely because I think Barkley has the potential to be a superstar.

Will we beat Michigan this year? This is the one game I’m really looking forward to. Will the fightin’ harbaugh’s actually get their shit together this year? Or will this be the beatdown I soooooo want it to be? I’m bringing the whole family in for the game, so give me good news. -- 87Townie

Dammit I didn't want this question because nobody has any idea how good Michigan is. We're not going to have any idea until after they play Sparty. Could Harbaugh work his devil magic – for how insane he is, he may be the best Xs and Os coach in the game other than Urbz – and lead the team to a 7-0 start? Yup. Could Michigan be a raging tire fire and we see the team stumble to a 3-4 record with losses to Utah, BYU, Sparty and one game it shouldn't lose? Yup.

Basically, ask me again on October 18.

Regarding the changes to the uniform collars...Will we all die from a massive solar flare or will it be an unstoppable plague? -- VeggieRunner

I have no idea, but I can guarantee you that President Trump will do a horrible job preparing for it.

Will you watch the Daily Show now that Jon Stewart retired? -- 87Townie

Almost certainly. Trevor Noah seems like a really sharp, charismatic dude, and I'm interested to see the perspective he brings as someone who isn't from America (this was my line of reasoning for getting into Last Week Tonight). This is a bit concerning, but still, it's worth a shot.

Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar released a joint album. Name the 12 tracks in it. -- Eli

So we'll go with one song from each of Kanye's six solo albums and Kendrick's six best songs from his three full-length albums. So:

SIDE YE: All Falls Down, We Major (or maybe Gone I dunno this one's tough), Can't Tell Me Nothing, Coldest Winter, Dark Fantasy, New Slaves

SIDE KING: i, Blacker The Berry, Money Trees, Hol' Up, HiiiPoWeR, good kid/m.A.A.d city (I know they're two different songs but this is my mailbag so I'm making them one)

I'm getting cable again.:’( But! That means I can watch all the games at home in the nude if need be. Do I need a new TV? How big and what kind? -- WorldBFat

My TV at my place is 42 inches, and it's perfectly fine. If you get a new one, go big or go home. I recommend this one, because nobody I know has a curved TV and they seem awesome.

How many times do we have to efficiently drive down to the opponent's 15-yard line only to switch to the wildcat and be forced to settle for a field goal before #DiurFonovan? -- TheTeamFromPennsylvania

As the one person on earth who doesn't hate the wildcat, this would be unnecessary. It's a fine formation if it's run in the proper situations with the right personnel, the issue came last year when it was used too frequently and other teams began sniffing it out. Also, if you can't throw out of it, it's pointless.

So yeah, throw someone back there who can pass and is good at shaking tacklers like Geno Lewis and it should be fine. I think.

Should we worry about Temple? If so, can we still consider Ohio State a rival? -- jiminore

Yes and sure. Temple is going to turn that game into a rock fight and I think it'll be one of those 17-13 games where no team really has a big edge on the other. Whichever team gets off to a better start wins, and I really, really hope it's us.

As for the OSU thing, define "rival" however you want. Rutgers and Maryland fans do that.

Which team outside the preseason top 25 is most likely to finish the season in the playoffs? -- Gerry Dincher

Texas A&M. Consider:

  • The Aggies will have one of the best offenses in the country, because Kevin Sumlin is a recruiting wizard, they can pick and choose which five-star QB they want lining up and all of their receivers are 4/5 star guys who are like 6'4". Plus Sumlin is an amazing offensive coach. This won't be a worry at all.
  • TAMU just brought in one of the best defensive minds in the country in John Chavis.
  • While TAMU's defense has been really, really bad lately, it's still loaded with talent and needs to be coached up to succeed. Chavis has shown through his years at LSU that he can do this as well as anyone else on earth.
The schedule is a special kind of brutal – SEC play kicks off with @ Arkansas, Mississippi State, Alabama, @ Ole Miss, the Cocks, Auburn – but if the team can navigate that (and outside of Sahkerlinah, that's a huge question mark), then the Aggies could very easily represent the SEC in the Playoff.

What is the fourth toughest game on the schedule? Ohio State and Michigan State are the no-brainer 1 and 2, and Michigan is probably 3 (although even that’s not really a sure thing). Looking at the schedule, you could almost make the case for anyone except for Army and Buffalo. -- Brett Brown

Just starting with three, it could be Michigan but I have zero idea. I think 3/4/5/6/7 are some combination of Michigan, Temple, Indiana, San Diego State and Northwestern, but there are so many question marks with each team that trying to figure this out prior to games kick off is impossible.

When his PSU career ends, do you think Troy Reeder will be considered better than Jack Ham, better than Poz, or better than both? -- CaptBombs

Yung Reed gon' be guuuuuuuuuuuud.

What is your favorite soup and why? -- WorldBFat

There is a soup that pretends to be a baked potato but instead is cream filled with potato bits, cheese, sour cream and bacon. That one. Or a good lobster bisque where there are chunks of lobster in it. Hot momma that's good.

Also: if gumbo is considered a soup, that has to be in contention. "Here's this bowl of spicy, thick broth with sausage, chicken, peppers and mirepoix over an ungodly amount of rice." Telling people above the Mason-Dixon Line about gumbo is Guy Fieri's most important contribution to society.

Favorite Move-In Week story? -- bveo12

I can't think of any, so I'll turn it over to Noel, who is a degenerate. This lets you learn about Noel and also hear a great story (skip this if you want, but trust me, it's worth it):

So once upon a time (August 2012) I was a wee sophomore who was pretty certain he was transferring. As such, I just grabbed the cheapest apartment possible with a random roommate, so I’d be able to get out of it once I left in December. Obviously, I ended up sticking around, but it meant I was stuck living in Lexington House for the year. Lexington House, as Bill can attest to, is this piece of shit Apartment Store building across from the Snappy’s/Burger King/Gas station that was a front for drug deals on University Drive. It’s essentially the State College equivalent of tenement housing, and I lived there. The doors your rooms locked behind you, and they opened with these stupid grey plastic keys that were essentially like 1970s technology key cards you’d get for a hotel, and they were of course just big enough to not properly fit in a wallet.

Anyway, my roommate was this kid named Yash. Very nice guy, very odd, did his own thing, was an absolute mess as a roommate. He happened to be on the infusion dance team and they had a performance in the HUB for what I believe was international student association or something along those lines. So he heads off to that, and I start setting up most of my stuff in the apartment. Naturally, home alone, I take my pants off, as many of us are wont to do. So I’m setting up like my Xbox and stuff on the TV and messing with the wires and stuff and I take my glasses off too. Anyway, I realized that the power cable for it I had ordered was in my mail, so I walked out to go get it. The mail was in the lobby so it was like ten feet away, so I didn’t bother putting pants on.

What ya boy didn’t realize was that the doors in this disaster building lock behind you. So I go to go back inside because I realize I forgot the mail key and bam, can’t get in. I knock on neighbors doors, but either none of them or home or they don’t want to open the door for the pantless teenager attempting to solicit their help. Yash wasn’t gonna be home until late because the team was going to hang out afterwards. Apartment Store is closed. My neighbors aren’t around. My phone is inside and I don’t have the emergency lockout info. So I decide the best decision possible is to make the trek to the HUB from University Drive. By this point, of course, it had started raining, because fuck me right?

So anyway I make the mile walk to the HUB in boxers, an "I survived the Bush administration" t-shirt, barefoot, no phone, no wallet, no identification, no keys, no glasses (I’m nearsighted as can be so luckily I couldn’t really see the faces of anyone judging the shit out of me) somewhat drunk (I was drinking while doing this because college), soaked to the bones, attempting to make my way to an Indian dance performance. Evidently, getting on a CATA bus barefoot without pants is a no-no.

So I’m looking at the stage and for the life of me I have absolutely no idea who he is up there, it’s a bunch of blurs at best. He spots me in the crowd, finds me afterwards, asks me if I was mugged. Eventually he gives me the keys and the code to his bike lock, and I ride his bike home. On the way home, I hit a puddle and eat shit and scrape up my knees and hands and such. I walk in to my building, in the same state as before but now bleeding from several places, and who is there in the lobby but a solid 20 sorority girls. They all go dead silent when I walk in and I have no idea what to do, so all I say is "Everything is fucked." and walk back into my room.

I went inside, finished an entire fifth of Jack Daniels, and my Penn State career began in earnest.

If you can go John Taffer on any bar in SC which one would it be? -- Sperbro

The Brewery, easily. It's called "The Brewery" but there is no brewery associated with it, which is horrendous branding. It's also a dirty place that smells bad and is stuck in a 1980s hair metal music video and there is no food (that I know of). It needs to be Taff'd. And after, Taffer can run for president, which would rule.

One of the more underrated options to this is Cafe. The service is terrible, the food is pretty bad, it's pretty dirty and the place's most famous drink is essentially sugar in a pitcher. Also: a lot of drinks are served in plastic cups, which just does not fly with the Taff man. There's no way that Taffer and his team of experts – in this case, chef Nick Liberato and bartender Russell Davis – would accept this place. The revamp, though, would be AWESOME. Imagine what Taffer can do with a notable place with two outdoor seating locations and the ability to get live music? It would be magical.

What percent do you give Barkley getting most of the snaps come seasons end? I think he’s a workhorse and will surprise everybody, eventually winning the starting spot. -- tFrench

Getting most of the snaps? I'd say 60 percent. If the team didn't have big plans for him, we would have heard some indication about that going back to the day he stepped on campus. But ever since he's been here he's apparently blown everyone away. He's playing, and while he's going to have to earn his carries at first, he's going to end up playing a lot.

Better Recruiter....Cael, Russ or Franklin? -- spigmana

Cael and Franklin are both great, but Russ has been doing it for years. Just on experience alone, Russ gets it.

Who will have the breakout sideline performance this season? AKA Donovan Smith punt return moves. -- SuperJeff

Let's see, we need someone who is a big personality who does fun things that everyone loves? Only one answer:


Imagine how much fun Herb will have with a solid o-line out there mauling people and the offense finding a constant groove because of it. He may be spotted whipping and nae naeing if that Silento song gets overplayed at the stadium (which it will be!). I'm so excited for this. I want Herb to be Penn State's Rob Ryan, only without the "werewolf man who actually isn't that great of a coach" thing.

Michigan on November 21 will be a full stadium whiteout. Will this be the first white out that also features snow during the game? That’d be sweet, right? -- GOPSU_classof2011

It'd be enough to bring a tear to this grown man's eye.

What's the over/under on the number of times Urbz cries into his pizza this year? -- GOPSU_classof2011

I'd put it at 0.5 and take the under. Ohio State is loooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaded this year and probably won't face stiff competition until the Playoff. Don't get your hopes up on sad Urban showing up all that much in 2015-16.

How do we expect our kickers to do this year? And what happened to Ficken? -- Conejo73134

Go buy a dart board. Write an outcome for how the kickers could do that represent each of the 20 sections, with the bullseye and its immediate surrounding part being "Groza Award Winners."

Then, take one single dart, walk 20 yards away and throw it. Did it hit anything on the board? Well then, that's your best guess for how the kickers will do. Franklin and his staff want consistency, and by all accounts, neither Joey Julius or Tyler Davis have done a great job being super consistent. Now, when they make field goals, it's great, but the general sentiment is consistency is the most important thing. There's a good chance this takes a few weeks to play out.

As for Ficken, he's a free agent.

What is the over/under for interceptions by Zettel this year? How many of them will be a pick-6? How many QBs that face our d-line will need to be placed on suicide watch after viewing game tapes of Zettel/Johnson? -- otholion

He picked off three last year, so it's probably fair to put that number at 2.5 or 3.5, depending on the casino you're going through. I'll guess zero pick sixes because those are so tough to pull off, and I'd really not rather answer questions about people being put on suicide watch but I do think they'll give most QBs nightmares because they're very good.

Realistically how many more DTs can we add to this recruiting class? I mean we still have room for 3 or 4 more right? -- PSUfanDuff

rashan gary pls.