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BSD Mailbag 11.25.16

The last mailbag of the regular season is here!

NCAA Football: Temple at Penn State Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

How excited are you for the Land Grant Trophy? Because I’m thrilled. Best trophy ever.—AaronSpeaksJive

It’ll hopefully be coming home, guys. Be hype.

Which fat guy for PSU gets a TD on Saturday?—PSU Mudder

I have said this before and I’ll say it again, I don’t think we’ll pull this on MSU. I know many fans want us to given last year’s fat guy Spartan TD, but for three reasons I don’t think Moorhead runs it: 1) we don’t have that sort of play installed in our offense (since our offense is so new and they’re incorporating new plays every week, with this week’s shortened schedule due to the holiday I doubt they’d install a play solely for revenge purposes), 2) we may not have liked that they used a big guy to score, but it was on our defense to stop him and guess what? They didn’t. And, 3) James Franklin is a better person than we are, I think.

What's the over\under on attendance?—BW042

Way more than two years ago Thanksgiving week. I say around a hundred thousand?

Does McGovern play if Michigan wins over OSU?—jiminore

Who are the 5 starting OL? Is McGovern definitely back? Any update on Mahon? Is the biggest question mark on the field for this game how well our front 5 can handle the MSU D-line? How am I going to make it to Saturday? I am so nervous already.—UPSUPhilly

For once, I actually think the depth chart released earlier this week is going to be pretty accurate - with Ryan Bates, Stephen Gonzalez, Brian Gaia, Connor McCovern, and Chasz Wright your starters. So, yes, I think McGovern plays, but I think he plays no matter what; I think he could have played last week (according to Franklin, the doctors cleared him) but they wanted to be able to give him another week of rest if they could. It was Rutgers, so they could. He’ll be back.

I doubt we’ll see Mahon, and it sounds like, from the way they were treating his jersey in the locker room at Indiana, it was not-football-related. Bowl game, maybe, if he gets his health in order - not season ending, most like, since Franklin hasn’t announced that.

I don’t think our biggest question mark is how our offensive line can handle their front four. I think they’ll be okay, and Moorhead will scheme around it (we’ll bounce it to the outside). I’m more concerned about them gashing us for running yards on offense, but that’s more of a moderating concern and not hugely real. We did shut down Iowa pretty darn well a few weeks ago.

Who are the staring 5 on the offensive line Opening Day 2017?—UPSUPhilly

My money’s on Fries - Mahon - McGovern - Menet - Wright

Maryland or Rutgers win this weekend? I admit I’m pulling for Rutgers - mainly to pull Marygers closer to the basement and their refusal to shake hands a few years ago. (Yeah, I’m still not over that - gofundme for therapy.)--PSU_Lions_84

What you’re saying would be a little hilarious, but for Penn State-centric purposes, we want Maryland to win. In the playoff committee’s eyes, any win over a .500 or higher team is a quality win; any win over a team without a winning record isn’t. Right now, neither the Terps or the Scarlet Knights is a quality win for us, and Rutgers can never be. But if Maryland wins, they get back to .500 and that dominant victory becomes a quality one over a bowl-bound opponent.

Notre Dame in NCAA's crosshairs. Any chance that PSU (or anyone else) can raid ND’s recruiting class due to the NCAA’s latest report on ND having a student trainer performing academic work for football players? We all know Brian Kelly is a prickweasel, and turnabout is fair play here. Any insights?—LarzLion

It certainly sounds like most of the players committed to Notre Dame are basically all-in. For whatever reason, those around the program remain committed to Kelly (shocking, huh, for how they treated an actual upstanding guy like Ty Willingham?) despite his off-field transgressions, temperament, and this year’s abysmal record. And the recruits seem to be of the mind that they can be the ones to turn around the team. I’m not sure any are ripe for porching.

If PSU runs the table (beat Sparty, B1G West Champ, and both playoff games), how high will our 2017 recruiting class rank?—otholion

This season should have more of an impact on 2018 than 2017, but it will bump up 2017 some - right now the Lions are 26th in the nation (5th in the conference), and we could go up ten slots or so. This would give us ammo to surround Parsons next year.

Lets say Penn State handles Michigan State with ease but, Penn State doesn’t represent the east division because Michigan beats Ohio State. What are the chances Penn State gets the Rose Bowl? Does it take a Michigan beat down on Wisconsin, and does Ohio State have to lose bad as well? I don’t want Penn State to have to play Western Michigan.—PeteZockyU

If Michigan beats Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, the committee would have a serious decision to make - who do you take, a 10-3 Badger squad or a 10-2 Penn State squad or a 10-2 Ohio State squad? Penn State would have beaten OSU, who would have beaten Wisky. It may depend on rankings, and in that case, PSU may have climbed up the highest of the three. They also may factor in the last time a team played there - and the Nittany Lions haven’t been to Pasadena in the longest time of the three squads. But it’s tough to leave out the runner up of the conference, as they found out last year when the Rose Bowl picked Iowa - and look where that got them (but Iowa hadn’t played there since 1991).

Over at Testudo Times, they are bemoaning the apparently inevitable Josh Kaindoh decommit, and seem to believe he is headed our way. How much truth is there to this?—phillyfanisc

I think there’s a lot of validity to it. Obviously we’ll wait and see, but he’s got to like what he’s seen from a line that lost three starters to the NFL but has seemingly not lost much steam - and is a factor in the playoff discussions a year later. For Maryland, they started out 4-2 (just like Penn State) and yet are in a quite different place right now.

Remember when Michigan State types were talking about a "Big Three" in the B1G? That was awesome. But it’s not my question. My question is as follows. Is there anything more pathetic than talking up your in-conference foes in your own trash talk (e.g., "we’re part of the big 3 with also really good osu and michigan"), and is MSU’s fall from grace karmic retribution for doing so?—WorldBFat

I don’t really believe in karmic retribution, but yeah, that’s super pathetic. It’s the same as Kentucky football fans chanting “S-E-C” during games. Dude - you’re no Alabama. Get over it.

Who do you see as the MVP of the Michigan State game? I see it as Tyler Davis if the conditions are bad.—wvlion

I’m not going to tell you here, because luckily for you I’m writing the MVP post this week so you’ll have to tune in on Monday!

I've got two!

- If Bill O’Brien never left PSU and we didn’t hire Franklin, where do you think CJF would have ended up after his success at Vanderbilt?

- Given how putrid their football team is (and the general mess that defines their athletic department), is there any chance that Rutgers gets replaced in the Big Ten somewhere down the line?—Bob Sacamano

1) I think he may have ended up at Texas or Washington, but we’ll never know. If he didn’t jump that year, Florida the next might have been a stop for him.

2) I highly doubt it. The reason they were brought in wasn’t because of their football acumen (and I laughed a little while typing those two words together) but rather because of the television market that Jim Delany could sell to cable companies. It’s all about the money, and Rutgers brings it.

Did somebody really predict Rutgers would beat Penn State by 2 points? Rutgers???? What a dumbass.—Aqua Velva Man

Just posted this for a little more public humiliation of you.

I'm going to be in State College next Saturday night. Where would be some great places to watch the conference championship game?—bearwithscarf

If we’re in the conference championship game, I find it doubtful that the University doesn’t plan some sort of official viewing party, either in Rec Hall or the BJC if there’s not some other event - they could charge money and sell concessions. I’d hit that up. Unless you want to drink, and then maybe Letterman’s? Or Champs, or the Nittany Lion Inn.

I’m headed to my Dad’s place for Thanksgiving and I’m spending a week there, which means I’ll be watching the PSU game there. That said, my dad is a Pitt alum and "fan". I say "fan" because he only really talks about them in passing and isn’t a die hard fan like myself. Shocking from a Pitt fan, I know.

Earlier this year before the Pitt game he was totally trying to talk trash to me, but in a goofy, lighthearted dad way. He’s been complimentary of PSU from that game on, and has actually been harder on Pitt (including questioning Narduzzi’s abilities, which I love). So I’m not worried about him giving me shit for the PSU game. My bigger concern is, since he’s so complimentary about PSU, I feel like I should try to be the same about Pitt. But god damn, its Pitt. How do I say nice things about Pitt? Do I join in with him if he starts bashing them when they go down by 17 to Cuse? I feel like I almost have to defend his school just because he’s so nice to mine.

Also, OSU-Mich is the same time as the Pitt game. Can I just bogart his TV to watch the (obviously) more important game? Or do I stick to keeping track on twitter and side viewing on a tablet?—skarocksoi

You never have to defend someone else’s school unless you really want to. And it’s cool to be complimentary when you’re around him, but not when he’s not around - what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

For the games, I’d ask him to flip during commercials and side view. Imagine the tables were turned - no matter how nice he is, I doubt you’d be okay with doing the same. After all, it’s not *your* team’s game - it’s just one that impacts your team. There’s a difference.

After football season ends, which PSU team are you most looking forward to watching?—PSUHist14

Silly rabbit.

Why isn't our fantastic hawkey team on TV?—TonyLion

Right now, because football and basketball coverage dominates. But after that, they will.

But I want to know why our even more fantastic wrestling team isn’t on TV - the NCAA tournament is itself on ESPN (not the deuce, not the U, regular) but they can’t broadcast any duals? And the Big Ten won’t either? The eye balls are there, guys, if you guys put the sports on.

What's better, Thanksgiving dinner, or the leftovers you make a sandwich out of?—Sperbro

I like the dinner better, personally. But the sandwich is darn good too - but the dinner you can just eat as much as your stomach can handle with no judgment. After Turkey day? There’s a little judgment.

When you put your socks on before your knickers, is it a special occasion or just how you roll?—Jp Pearson

During the spring/summer/early fall/crazy 70 degree days we had through early November, I don’t wear socks most days so it is a special occasion then. But when winter rolls around, it is more of how I roll, bro! Thank you, Posh Spice, for that brilliant advice.

What's your favorite guilty pleasure song? i.e. a song you will crank in your car when no one else can hear you. I have a couple I’m willing to admit: LEN – Steal my Sunshine; Fun – Some Nights; Soft Cell – Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go—vern05

This was the toughest question by far for me. I cycle through a lot of songs, and I never tend to settle on one or two that are guilty pleasures - plus, I have very little shame so have no problem admitting to what I listen to. I love pop music as much as rock, and will blast out Christmas carols in June if I can.

My sister asked if Demi Lovato’s “Confident” was still this for me, and as some of you may know, I adore Demi - but in my mind, once a song is played in Beaver Stadium (as this one was pre-lineup read every game last year) it can no longer be a guilty pleasure. So I love it, but it’s out.

I also crank up, and have for a while (since it came out), Nick Jonas’ “Bacon”. Because it’s got a sick beat, and it’s a song about bacon (amongst other things):

And when he sang it in concert, all of the screens behind him just had pans of sizzling bacon in them. It was pretty rad.

Last regular season plug for Exiles!

The game was awesome last week (I got there early) and I got to meet Astr0li0n. I won’t be there this week (I’ll be tailgating my frozen butt off until the lots close, naturally) but you guys should go, they’ll treat you right!