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BSD Mailbag 12.23.16

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It’s a holiday mailbag!

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

I'm torn here. I’d love for Penn State to win 56-17, but I truly believe they’ll have 70 on the board at halftime.

Tell me what to do with my emotions.—Eli

As our resident optimist, I’m afraid I think you’ll be let down either way. But what I find truly baffling, especially after watching the PSUnrivaled Big Ten Championship recap, that this is an incredibly special team, and they won’t let USC win. They feed on the doubters and there’s so much leadership in that locker room, the Trojans won’t know what hit them.

Is our defense any good this year?—JayMPSU

It depends. Is top 30 in total defense, passing defense, pass efficiency defense, and fourth down defense, and top 50 in rushing defense, third down defense, first downs allowed, and scoring defense good? Those are ok numbers, not great but not horrible. But when you dig into the weeds, you see that Penn State has the #2 defense in the fourth quarter (according to Bill C)—and that is truly good, and when coupled with the offense’s #2 rank in the fourth quarter, when the team puts those four fingers in the air, you know good things are coming.

And that’s what’s truly surprising and awesome—because most of us expected a big dropoff this year, with graduations and a new coordinator. And the schedule and big plays when needed have indicated that hasn’t happened.

With one game left in Pasadena to finish this incredible story, where do you rank this season all-time? Top 5? Top 10? Just off the top of your head. There can be time for deeper analysis of comparing years in the coming months, but for me it’s Top 5 already along with ’82, ’86, ’94, and ’05.—PSUBeatle

Definitely top ten, but we’ll see where it ranks after the bowl game and whether it can crack the top five. Right now, the ‘94 season is so far above the others for me (I was too young to remember ‘82 or ‘86) as it was the first season I truly paid attention to Penn State football—plus, Kerry Collins (/swoons). Michael Robinson and the 2005 team will always have a top spot, and I’ll forever love the 2008 squad (the vision of Sean Lee on the sideline with a clipboard—willing the team to 11 wins despite his injury—will forever be one ingrained in my brain. Also, 2012 may not have been great on the field, but that team and their resilience are fully deserved of their year on the Beaver Stadium wall.

This team deserves it too, and I can’t wait to see it up there.

How does one go about explaining the differences between Hack and McSorley? Particularly with regards to their contrasting fortunes in their respective PSU quarterbacking careers, both in terms of individual statistical output and in terms of helping lead the team to wins in general?

Does it have anything to do with the fact that Virginia Tech only offered one of them, and I’ll let you try to remember which one (hint, it’s the #Elite one)?—MetsFanXXIII

I firmly believe that whomever was the quarterback in John Donovan’s system, they would not have succeeded. The offensive line was so not good (and we didn’t have Matt Limegrover yet) and Donovan seemed to have an unwillingness to scheme around that deficiency—even with Trace’s higher mobility, there would have been almost as many sacks.

I think, too, that Christian Hackenberg would have been successful under Joe Moorhead—who seems very willing to craft game plans around opponents’ weaknesses (what a concept!) and to put his players in a position to win, utilizing their talents and skill sets, rather than the talents and skill sets he wished would happen. Moorhead is a quarterbacks coach, too, and that would have benefited Hack.

Was the wheel route throw to Barkley the best pass ever by McSorley?—mook1525

Which one?

I know, I know. You meant this one:

Barkley Wheel Route

I CAN’T PICK JUST ONE (but Trace’s throw on the last one was pure money).

Do you have any idea when can we expect to hear about contract extensions? I’m tired of only being happy for one or two days before the internet rumors start, and then I worry.—midwestmom

I think shortly after the bowl game we’ll hear who, if anyone, on the coaching staff is moving on, and Sandy Barbour will publicly reveal a James Franklin contract extension (and possible restructuring of bonuses for staff for winning conferences/bowl games). Personally, I would be surprised if anyone leaves this year. I think after 2017 is the money year and we’ll have more turnover.

How much does Joe Moorhead currently make? And how much of a raise will it take to retain him? Lower end of power 5 jobs is around $2million. After that, it drops way off and majority of non-power 5 programs pay between 300k and $1M. Does a $1.3-1.5M salary at least hold off the bottom half of all potential FBS job openings, plus a few lower tier P5 schools? And is PSU even willing to pay an assistant that much?—Blumski13

I can’t find any record of specifically what he makes, but as Penn State two years ago had the highest paid staff in the Big Ten, I’d be surprised if it was under $1m. And I’m convinced that he’s holding out for a good power 5 job - which he can get after another year of his offense, and a second run towards the playoffs next season. Right now, it would be lower tier Power 5 or solid Group of 5 jobs he could get - after a great 2017, he’d be one of the hottest commodities. And PSU is willing to pay - after all, look at how much money they’ve made as a program off of this season’s success (merch, tickets, parking...everything). It’s a smart fiscal decision for Barbour.

Did anyone else read Maryland’s bowl as Quick Lame instead of Quick Lane?—swift_retribution

I have no comment on this, I just think it’s hilarious.

Is the "S" logo the lamest ever? one design for many schools, just change the color.—JayMPSU

YOU BITE YOUR TONGUE SIR.

How come everyone always spells fuckers wrong? They always seem to spell it with a i g h t e in it—joey.taylor.jt

I apologize for my mistake. I’ll try not to let it happen again.

I just heard that the soon-to-be-released Rogue One movie will not open with the traditional text scroll. Is this true? If so, WTF?

That’s like a Penn State football game without the "We Are" chant.—Scoop Dawg

Obviously, this is written after the movie came out (and after this blogger has seen it twice in the theatre). I was actually cool with it, because it’s not one of the “Episodes”—it’s a standalone movie. It doesn’t have the traditional music, because that’s the Jedi theme—and there are no Jedi in this movie (spoiler alert, but not really because if you know anything about Star Wars you would know better than to expect a movie that is a literal direct prequel to the original but with few of the same characters to have Jedi).

Anyway, we’ll save my reviews for later but in retrospect I like it a lot more after watching this.

Do you think HBO should've just called it quits with Westworld after the season finale?It would probably have been unprecedented to do a one-and-done on a new and popular series, but I feel like the season finale put a bow on the story. I’m satisfied with where it left off, and I don’t really feel like I need to see where everyone’s arc goes from here. In fact, I’m halfway concerned that a 2nd season will detract from the show.—06Lion

I think it’s too early to make that determination. Personally, I LOVED how Westworld season one ended, and I would have been incredibly satisfied if that was the series ender. But if it gets better (or heck, even stays the same) in season 2, I’d like to see where that takes them. But I really hope it’s not a True Detective-style step back.


And now, in the spirit of this weekend, I’m going to spread a little holiday cheer. For those of you who know me in real life, you’ll know that I’m all about the Christmas - it’s my favorite time of year. And so, inspired by vern05’s fanpost, here are some (not all) of my essential Christmas songs (to be added to any playlist), broken out by traditional (with my favorite version) and pop songs.

Traditional:

Pop:

  • Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24 – Trans Siberian Orchestra

And lastly:

because of course.

What did I leave out? Let me know in the comments.