clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

BSD Mailbag 10.13.17

It’s the BYE week, so we’ve got some (mostly) off-topic answers for you!

Oregon State v Utah Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

What will Penn State's team and staff do during the bye week? Do they actually spend extra time practicing, preparing, and watching film? Do they use the extra time to rest up, get healthy, and use the little free time they have as a mental break and come back strong next Sunday/Monday?--Blumski13

Right now, the coaches are all off recruiting. They do spend extra time doing everything you explain in your question - undoubtedly, they are spending extra time preparing for Michigan and installing new plays and looks to prepare. They also, especially players like Mike Gesicki and Amani Oruwariye who've been banged up, use the extra time to rest up and get healthy; for example, look at last year's Ohio State game, which was off a BYE, and how monster Jason Cabinda and Brandon Bell looked after the first half of the season was filled with injuries to them. I'm excited for the Michigan game.

Confident vs Michigan? Why am i more confident go into Michigan than I was going into Northwestern? Maybe its the defenses ability to keep the team in the gane eben if the offense isnt clicking. Maybe its that Michigan has not been that impressive and its a home game. Is it a bad sign for the team next week? Should I shut up before i curse them to a loss ?--adamp1984

Because Michigan is at home and a night game, and Northwestern was away and early. We also have the BYE, which comes at a perfect time; and our defense proved again, with their win against the Wildcats, that they're legit - that coupled with the Wolverines' lack of offense should be a recipe for a pretty good game (if you're a PSU fan).

Put it this way: the only game I've been nervous about this season was Iowa, and the nerves didn't come until late in the week. Could Michigan still win? Of course. But it's not likely.

is it possible for us to lose a game and still make it to the CFP? if the OSU game goes the opposite way this year and they win a tight one and go on to win the B1G, can we get an invite as the #4? or will they say nah because OSU got smoked last year without winning their conference? if we lose to michigan and michigan beats OSU then michigan wins the division tiebreaker because OSU would have 2 losses and michigan beat us, is that true? it just seems like we’re too late in the season now that any loss drops us too far out of the race.--kdm628496

It is absolutely possible - just look at last season, when the OSU-PSU game fell on the same weekend it does this year. It depends on how we lose, who we lose to, and how many losses they have. They set some precedent last year with taking OSU over us; but we said the same thing the previous year, when they took MSU (who won the Big Ten with one loss against Nebraska). Both times the team they took, which was a potential reversal from the previous years' criteria, laid a huge egg in the playoffs, while the team they spurned played very well in a NY6 Bowl. What does this mean? I don't know! I could see it go either way. We'll know more in a few weeks when the first playoff rankings come out.

Is there any other QB in the BIG 10 that you would rather have than Trace McSorely? I suppose I get the critiques out there on #9; he is the starting QB at Penn State after all and unfair criticism comes with the territory. However, is there anyone else in the conference that is capable of performing better? Michigan’s QB situation appears to be a hot mess. Would JT Barrett really be an upgrade? Is there any QB in the West Division you’d trade Trace for? Is it possible that the next best QB option in the conference is already on our team #TommyGun? I personally wouldn’t trade Trace for anyone in the league and that’s both a praise for McSorely and an indictment of the mediocre QB play in the BIG 10 right now.—Cody, via email

Last year, Ohio State’s JT Barrett won the Quarterback of the Year award for the conference. I have no idea why. Barrett’s not bad - in fact, he’s good. But he’s not as good as he was in 2014 before his injury, and most of they hype has to do with the fact that he’s spearheading an Ohio State offense - not on his individual performance.

Athlon ranked the Big Ten QBs preseason, and put Barrett and Trace at the top of the conference for good reason. In their next tier they had Northwestern’s Clayton Thorston and Michigan’s Wilton Speight - both of whom have significantly underperformed this season, so that’s hilarious to me. They also have David Blough of Purdue on the list, and he’s pretty much been pulled as the starter for Elijah Sindelar (though Blough will still play, supposedly).

Who else could be in the conversation? Either of Minnesota’s QBs? Maryland’s fourth string quarterback? Iowa’s Nate Stanley, whose shown flashes of brilliance but also flashes of stupidity? Nebraska’s Tanner Lee, the turnover machine? Even Indiana’s Richard Lagow, who the first week of the year Kirk Herbstreit fawned over, has been pulled in favor of Peyton Ramsey.

I suppose the most complete of all the rest is Wisconsin’s Alex Hornibrook, but he’s nothing flashy - just a game manager (which is perfect for the Badgers, don’t get me wrong).

I’d take Trace over any of those guys, and I’m not sure it’s close.

Grant Haley? How sad will we all be when that kid leaves the program? Damn he is a good corner. What’s the possibility of the secondary playing to this level again next season with Amani O. (Kid is good) and John Reid coming back?--adamp1984

I think the odds are pretty good. Haley was great at big plays in 2016, but he's taken his play at corner to the next level this year. Oruwariye leads the Big Ten in interceptions - if you target the side away from Haley, you'll be burned. And next year, he'll be opposite Reid, who was one of the best corners in the conference last year. Coupled with Nick Scott at safety, we should be ok back there.

When PSU plays a real team, which will hurt the team more? K or OL?--garder54

What is the definition of a "real" team? Am I the only one that think we won’t see a real team until the CFP?--Blue & White Wookie

Kicking and offensive line are problems. I don't think anyone can or would dispute this.

But what, really, is a "real" team? Are there any? Even Bama looked a little fallible in their win over Texas A&M last week; any given Saturday, the right team can take advantage of a supposedly superior foe and get the upset. There are no real teams or legit teams; there's simply motivated teams, and talented teams. Teams that are unmotivated can lose to less talented teams - but often superior talent of a certain level will win out over their motivated foe. Occasionally, like seemingly with Iowa State last week, it's a perfect storm of it all, and you'll have the former Heisman frontrunner upset on the sidelines. It's on the coaches to make sure there isn't that sort of letdown, and also to mask any deficiencies, of which every. single. team. has some. There's no perfect football team. It's just a question of getting your players in a position to win, to mitigate the damage incurred by your weaknesses. And to scheme to get your strengths as strong as possible.

Don't see this ever happening. Saw this come up on Land of 10. Is this bullshit? Slow news during the bye week? Why would he go back to the SEC? Seems like like it’s just to get people talking. I mean Sumlin is still employed and CJF has stated many times this is his dream job and PSU is a higher tier program than Texas A&M even if it is in the SEC. But, If Franklin ever leaves and if he leaves before JoMo, how quickly do they sign JoMo to be head coach?--adamp1984

LOLno. I'm not even sure this is a real story; it could be real in the sense that James Franklin's agent is shopping for a higher payday. But Sandy Barbour and Penn State will not let Franklin go, and Texas A&M is a decided step down from where he is right now. He'll be in State College for a while. This headline says it all.

Is Pat Fitzgerald a buffoon because:

A) He was born that way.

B) Gary Barnett coached him to be a giant butthorn.

C) He was/still is on steroid.

D) Some of each

E) Ohio State Sucks.--jcross9

F) all of the above

Given how putrid attendance is for Pitt football games and the complete lack of a national following for the program, how much money are they losing each year? Additionally, if their anemic attendance issues continue (which they most likely will), is there any chance that the university ultimately pulls a BU and just axes the entire program? It just seems like such a waste of money.--Bob Sacamano

Pitt's a private school, so it's difficult to get a ton of info on their budget, and how much they make or lost (they're not part of USA Today's information). A few years ago, their overall athletic department was in the red, with almost $8million more in expenses than the revenue they generated; for last season, that probably decreased somewhat with the season ticket packages they were able to sell with Penn State coming to town. This year, it's likely around the same.

Do you think Penn State is kicking itself for not making Pegula larger? It is usually sold out and tickets are difficult to find. I actually feel bad for the small amount of students who can attend and it is always packed. I know when this idea was picking up steam (and the Pegulas were deciding to open up the wallet), IT was going on and perhaps the administration at that time wanted to keep all publicity on the down-low.--LarzLion

No, not at all. Selling out and increasing demand is a smart business move; that makes tickets more hard to come by, and makes it harder for visiting teams to play well with 7k screaming, passionate fans in their faces. A relatively smaller crowd of raucous, invested fans can be more intimidating than a bigger arena; take Michigan Stadium, for example, as compared to Kinnick. I think they're pretty happy with it - though I wouldn't be surprised if they try to do one game in the BJC a season down the road, similar to the wrestling schedule.

When do we get a wrestling preview? Less than a month until the season, have already ordered Nationals tickets, can’t wait much longer for some wrestling news.--wvlion

We should have one up soon. The quest for seven out of eight begins soon! See y'all in Cleveland!

During game weeks, have you given any thought to posting Mailbag Answers on Thursday? I fear your excellent efforts get lost in the jumble of gameday posts. And they deserve a full day of uninterrupted witty, snappy, smarmy and intellectually-stimulating responses.--Smee

Thursdays actually have more content than Fridays on BSD; the game preview, Former Foes, Degenerates, and weekly staff picks already are up on Thursday. The only regular posts we have on Friday are the interview with the opposing blog, and the BSD staff predictions; Friday is actually the least-packed day of the week, which is why I post the mailbag then. I appreciate your concern, though, and thanks for your love of the mailbag! I'm taking your third sentence as describing my responses, not the responses in the comment section - please don't spoil my delusion, thanks.

Can the penguins pull off the three-peat without Fluery?--Precious Roy

I sure as shit hope not.

Family member is requesting I invite other family (of a more tenuous connection) to my wedding. I’ve already delayed the decision giving a combination of "I have to talk to my fiance" and "We’re pretty close to our guest limit" responses, but I’m sure it will come up again. How do I politely, yet firmly, say they aren’t getting an invite?

Or, conversely, since they would have to travel to get to the wedding and because we aren’t close, there’s a good chance they decline. Do I put them on the B list and send an invite if one opens up, simply for the hope they decline but still send a gift? I don’t even care if they do decide to come as I have no ill will against them, we just aren’t close enough that they deserve a spot on the A list.--skarocksoi

I appreciate your trepidation, but just be firm. This is YOUR wedding, not theirs; you control the guest list, not them. Anyone who is upset that you're not inviting people they want you to invite (or even people who are upset they didn't get invited) really don't deserve to be at your wedding anyway.

Unless they want to cough up the money for the cost of their additional plates, and booze, and a gift. Then you should absolutely do it.

Favorite 00's Emo band?--garder54

I didn't really listen to a lot of emo in the 00s; I've always had an eclectic music taste, with a strong love for pop and hip hop, but a love for rock and country too. Since there has been a lot of crossover in all genres in the past few decades, I've definitely loved some "emo" songs (Fall Out Boy's first few singles, early Paramore, Panic! at the Disco's Pretty. Odd.) but very few bands overall. I'd probably have to go with 30 Seconds to Mars, just because I've actually seen them in concert and they were awesome (it was at this concert that I got word that Sean Lee was drafted by the Cowboys, and audibly screamed "NOOOOO!" in between acts).

What is your most embarrassing band/musical artist t shirt that you have ever owned?--Dbridi

I regret none of the three 'NSYNC shirts I have owned, nor the silverchair Frogstomp t-shirt that I wore so much it got holy before I hit age 20. I've generally been pretty good about only buying shirts of bands I still love, except for maybe Red Hot Chili Peppers, whom I still like but rarely listen to. Most of my music wear nowadays are from lesser-known singer-songwriters, but I haven't purchased any in a while. The ones I still wear, if you're interested, are Eric Hutchinson, Tony Luca, Adam Richman and a tour t-shirt from silverchair's Young Modern tour.

What's a book that you'd like to see turned into a movie? Or if it already was, but was done very poorly, which book would you like to see redone as a movie?--Succss With Honor Always

One of my favorite books of all time has never been turned into a book or movie - A Season of Passage by Christopher Pike. It's a great mix of horror, sci-fi, romance and mythology, and I feel like this has been a wasted opportunity, especially in a post-Twilight society. I've also always wanted to turn Julius Caesar (my favorite Shakespearean play) into a modern urban gangland drama myself, but lack of time and motivation have failed me.

I generally am pretty good at separating movies versus books as separate entities, so I don't have any that I've read that I was super disappointed to the extent that I'd like to see it remade.

Are you watching "Vice Principals" on HBO? In a recent episode, the main character has to substitute teach an AP history class in which he is way out of his element. As the kids are mocking him about where he went to school (online degree) and what he got on his SATs, one kid brags about getting into Duke and one kid brags about getting into Penn State.

The show is set in South Carolina (I think), so those were two interesting schools to brag about (i.e. it’s not PSU getting referenced in a movie set in PA). Does anyone know if any of the writers has PSU connections? Anyway, as much as I hate Duke, it was nice to see PSU portrayed in a positive light.--PSU2UNC

I'm not watching Vice Principals; unfortunately, ever since This Is the End, I can't really watch Danny McBride without getting creeped out.

I did, however, start googling the creators and writers; from what I can tell, all went to UNC and its various campuses, Georgetown, Harvard and Boston College. Not shabby academic institutions.

Which Washington, D.C. based series is closest to the truth?

a. Veep

b. House of Cards

I hope it’s Veep. I fear it’s House of Cards.--Gerry Dincher

I live just outside DC and don't work in government, but from my limited view (and through talks with my many friends who do work in the government) it's probably, to a degree, a mix of both - but heavier on the Veep.

What candy did you (do you) look forward to the most when Trick-or-Treating? Ancillary question: Do those of you who have kids ‘sample’ some of theirs?--Pasadena'95

Reese's peanut butter cups. Or anything with chocolate and peanut butter, really. I don't have kids but I'd like to see what everyone samples from their kids' bags in the comments!

On a scale from lifetime supply of Mint Oreos to Ohio State, how much do bye weeks suck?--jcross9

I hate mint oreos so your scale is inapplicable. Also

I don't like pumpkin beers. Every year, to remind myself of that fact, I have one. That said, I want to hate the experience as little as possible. Any pumpkin beer recommendations?--WorldBFat

I tend to love dark beers more, and I don't like a lot of spicy beers. So I'm with you - I don't like a lot of pumpkin beers. Everyone talks about Pumpking by Southern Tier and, in this area, Dogfish Head's Punkin Ale, and I hate them both. That being said, I really, really liked both Southern Tier's Warlock Pumpkin Stout and Elysian's Dark O' The Moon. I do want to try the Breckenridge Brewery Nitro PSL stout, because it sounds amazing, and Brooklyn's Post Road Pumpkin Ale, because Brooklyn's seasonals are amazing.

Thoughts on the new Star Wars trailer?--Succss With Honor Always

Me thinking about the trailer:

Me immediately after getting my tickets and watching the trailer:

My response to the haters who are upset that it looks like Empire Strikes Back:

On a side note, though there isn’t a game this week, BSD’s favorite PSU Alumni-affiliated bar in DC, Exiles, is hosting an Alumni Benefitting THON Mixer at 4 pm tomorrow. If you’re in the area and want good food and beer while you’re watching the game, and also a chance to win a pair of PSU tickets for later on in the season, stop by!