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BSD Mailbag 10.6.17

We’ve got answers to your questions in our sixth week of football play!

Penn State v Northwestern Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Does this concern you whatsoever? Foosball Study Hall’s "Percentile Performance" grades for PSU, below 70%, 2015 thru current Ehh…there’s a bunch from 2015. Let’s skip ahead to 2016.

Sept 9, 2016 at Pitt (67%)

Oct 8, 2016 at MICH (23%)

Sept 23, 2017 at IOWA (68%)

Sept 30, 2017 vs IND (55%)—bscaff

I’m not concerned, because in 2016 we had two performances like that through this time of year, and both were losses (and Pitt we had the opportunity to win). This year, we’ve won both of those – because our defense and our offense has been so stellar. Last year, our defensive percentile below 70% happened NINE times out of the fourteen games – and we won 11 games. This year, only one game out of five has that same mark – so we’ve already hit the same number as last year, when, surprisingly, Ohio State was one of the games where we hit that mark (Indiana was actually low, at 50%, and we did much better this year against the Hoosiers). Yes, it’s a drop off in Offense – but the Defense has more than made up for it.

Our schedule is slightly easier this year (but S&P+ is still factoring in last year’s results/preseason expectations into their calculations, iirc) so we’ll have a better idea in three weeks and two days.

Can we please see more of Miles Sanders? Give him more reps for post-Saquon era and allows some of the wear-and-tear to be alleviated for #26. Granted he had/has a fumble problem, but I’d love to see more rushing opportunities for him when the score differential is solid.—CuddleConfuddle

I’m confused – I feel like we are seeing Miles as soon as the score differential is solid. When would you have preferred to put him in? When our offense hadn’t scored a touchdown in a while against Indiana? Iowa was never a time for him to be put in, and he did get 44 yards against Georgia State. I was a little surprised that he didn’t get more touches at Pitt – but not being able to hold onto the ball will do that to you, and that’s been a problem for him. I understand why he was kept out after the fumble, even if PSU did recover it.

When Penn State beats Northwestern, will people finally focus on something else other than Trace’s shortcomings and realize this team is 17-3 under his leadership? There are not too many quarterbacks in Penn State history that have those kind of numbers in their first 3 years of eligibility.—wvlion

Haha. Do you even Penn State fan, bro?

Going to every game this year….except Northwestern. I just have no desire to drive 9 hours to watch northwestern play a home game. Assuming reasonably full stadiums everywhere (and ignoring the fact that my 7th grade rec league basketball games drew more spectators than high point solutions stadium) is Ryan Field the worst environment in the B1G?—18novalion

Northwestern is notorious for not being very home field-advantagey for the home team, which may be why often the Wildcats do better on the road. It’s one of the smallest stadiums in the Big Ten, and historically Northwestern just hasn’t been very good – plus, with widespread alumni and not very many non-alumni fans of the program, there’s not a large draw. It’s supposed to be fairly quiet too (but then again, so is Michigan stadium). All are a recipe for a snoozer of a venue.

Since there are two sets of brothers on opposite teams this week, should they just allow late hits and personal fouls if its brother against brother? I feel like backyard rules should apply there – "After further review, the targeting call is overturned, it was a little brother spearing the big brother, therefore perfectly legal"—vern05

I love this idea. If I didn’t fear for our Gillikin’s safety, I’d put him in on punt return coverage so that he could take a shot at his long-snapper brother.

Did you think that Scales hit on Gesicki was dirty? After watching the replay, I thought he took advantage of Gesicki being in an awkward position. I thought Scales hit Mike in the one spot that was least protected. Maybe that’s just me being a homer.—swift_retribution

No, I don’t think it was dirty. When a player is tackling another player, I highly, highly doubt with the speed of the game that he is specifically targeting a “least protected” area of the player’s body. He’ll go for the area that he normally would go for, that would give him the best odds of bringing down the player for little to no gain. That’s what they’re taught, anyway, and if you start to think out there, you’ll miss more tackles than you get.

All else being equal, pretend that this year’s offense was a record breaking unstoppable juggernaut, and the defense was steady but not spectacular, like say, Iowa’s. Would that make this year’s team

a) more fun to watch?

b) more likely to win it all?—notJohn

I like the response in the fanpost that this would make us #2 behind Nebraska, but yeah, I think it would make the team more likely to win it all. If you can score on almost every possession, you don’t need your defense to make stops on every possession – just more stops than your opponent’s defense. I don’t think it makes it more fun to watch, for me at least, because I love defense and special teams, so I actually enjoy this year (holy hell! Two safeties and not in a baseball-score game!) a heckuva lot.

Where do you buy tickets for away games - from the NLC (assuming you have enough points to qualify for the game) or third party sellers? Typically I pick up tickets from third party because I like the choice, but not always the price. This year I went the NLC option for my away game, knowing I’d be sitting in a group of PSUers. But wondering what kind of nose bleed section I’ll be in.—JayMPSU

I go through the NLC whenever possible; the only time I’ve been unable to secure tickets through them was last year’s Pitt game, which was severely limited so my friends and I actually were some of the touted increase in Pitt season ticket holders when we bought seven partial game packages. Most stadiums don’t have visitor sections that crazy out of the way, like PSU’s is now; for Iowa in 2012, my tickets were quite good and I was very happy. Minnesota and Indiana, likewise, were not bad seats. I’m interested to see where we are at Maryland this year; at M&T Bank two years ago, we had ADA seats, so they were quite awesome.

I generally like sitting in the NLC section, because you have less of a chance of having irate, boozed up opposing fans being angry with you. At away games like Rutgers and Maryland, that can make a difference.

Is NW's nooner games (11:00 CT) their version of Iowa’s night games?—LarzLion

Maybe? I think it’s more that they are really good at beating the spread. I think it’s more that it’s Penn State’s kryptonite than anyone else’s, because at Iowa or Illinois or Minnesota a noon game is also at 11 am local time – so for those teams, it doesn’t make much of a difference playing that early in Evanston.

Clayton Thorson...He enters this week with 1061 yards, with a cmp% of 64.1, 7 TDs, 5 INTs. Rumor has it many NFL scouts are coming to see him this weekend. What is the over/under for interceptions thrown? How many sacks will PSU chalk up? Does he exit this game with more INTs than TDs?--PeteZockyU

I think the O/U should be set at two, with at least 5 TFLs (not just sacks). I’d be shocked if he doesn’t have more interceptions than touchdowns; our defensive backfield is just that good, and he doesn’t have the talent of Simmie Cobbs to throw to. I think that any scoring Northwestern does will be on the back of Justin Jackson, who is the best running back in the Big Ten not named Saquon Barkley.

Describe appropriate remedial training for the Snapchat-addicted souls in the student section...where dropping the Lion is now apparently a thing that happens. How can you fail at doing this correctly after you had to out-shout all the other sections to get the Lion to surf your section of crowd to begin with?

Dear current undergrads,

You’re killing me, Smalls.


Semi-old farts who can’t decide if they’re young Gen Xers or old Millenials.—NittanyPUMA

Listen, everyone who has sat in the student section has seen the Lion dropped at some point or another – before AND after smartphones. I get why it’s fun to blame the younger generations, but there’s more than just smartphones that distract kids at these games. Do I wish some would actually live in the moment rather than trying to document it for posterity on social media? Sure. But this isn’t just a new generation thing. I’m sure that those of us in the age bracket you describe would have done the same thing if we had social media at Penn State (a thought that terrifies me).

So Penn St. piped in loud music & crowd noise for the game at Iowa. What do they play at practice for NW? Easy listening, nursery rhymes, snoring?—LionfanAllan

Nothing. Straight silence. That’s almost scarier, no?

is the BSD Matcast dead? i see it on the ‘retired shows’ section of mat talk online—kdm628496

It is, unfortunately. Garrett is no longer on staff at BSD, so we won’t be hosting his podcast anymore; he has taken up residence with Lions247, though, and should be having a matcast over there. Our own Clay Sauertieg will still be joining him on that podcast to talk the awesomeness that is PSU wrestling.

If a tree falls in the woods, and there's nobody there to hear it, does Rutgers still suck?—Pasadena'95

Man, Rutgers…this is just sad. I wish I felt bad about it.

Is "soft" the worst possible football insult? —bscaff

No. I think gendered insults, like “pussy” or “bitch”, are way worse, for a myriad number of reasons that I won’t get into here.

You're out at the bar when a guy comes up from behind you and says hello and offers to buy you a drink. When you turn around to see who the guy is, you quickly realize its Pat Fitzgerald. Do you:

a) Punch him in his stupid face

b) Kick him in the junk and then punch him in his stupid face

c) Take the drink, dump it on his head, and then punch him in his stupid face—skarocksoi

It’s like you don’t know me at all. I’d take the drink (because, free alcohol), thank him politely, and then punch him in his stupid face.

Heading out to Chicago this weekend. Going to the game on Saturday and then going to run around the streets of Chicago for about 4 hours on Sunday morning (Chicago Marathon). How many beers should I drink and how much deep dish pizza should I eat on Saturday?—PokeyStixAreAwesome

All of the beers and all of the deep dish pizza. Nothing helps on a long run like puking a few times, right?

Where is the best place to eat dinner in Chicago on a Friday night? Only qualifications are less than $100 (1 person), polo shirt/jeans/sneakers OK, wait time of less than one hour to get a table/seat, and no fish. —Aqua Velva Man

I’ve only been to Chicago once, but I doubt you’ll get much in the way of great food with waiting less than an hour. I really like Harry Caray’s and the food at the Signature Room at the 95th, but you’d probably want reservations for the latter. If you really don’t want to wait in line, I suggest getting Malnati’s takeout and bringing it back to your hotel – you can call it in so you don’t have the wait the 45 minutes, and it’s delicious no matter where you eat it.

why didn't you invite me and my band to play at your wedding?—mikeswavely

Is this some sort of joke that I’m not getting?

Is the all you can drink packages on cruises worth the cost? It comes out to be like $454/person for a 7 day cruise. Drinking $65 of alcohol/day per person doesn’t sound like a lot, but the first and last day are likely going to be shortened so it’s really come out to like $80/day per person for the 5 main days of the cruise, which also wouldn’t include any alcohol consumed off the boat. There’s also the option of only 1 person getting the drink package, which then requires that person to be the designated beverage retriever for the duration of the trip, something that I would imagine would be pretty tiresome. —Succss With Honor Always

Let’s say the drinks are $8-10. I understand getting maybe 6 drinks a day a few times during the trip – but not every day. That seems to much to me, and I’d think you’d either want to go the route of one person getting the drink package (which I would be fine with being the beverage retriever, if it saves hundreds of dollars) or not doing the drink package at all.

What is your favorite Oktoberfest style beer? I think Spaten is my favorite, but this does not include pumpkin beers, just the Oktoberfest harvest style beers. Sam Adams isn’t bad and SlyFox is pretty good but I still like Spaten the best. I have had some harvest beers that taste too close to a wheat saisson and are too yeasty for my pallet. Our one local brewery (Gear House) made a very tasty Oktoberfest and had their celebration on Sept 23 which worked well for me.—BMAN13

I too like Spaten. I also enjoy Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest, and Brooklyn Brewery’s Oktoberfest. In terms of price and bang for your buck, Genny’s got an Oktoberfest out for the first time this year and it isn’t horrible.

Where is the best place to live in the Southern Hemisphere?—WorldBFat

I’ve never been to the southern hemisphere, so I can’t say – but I’d love to see more suggestions in the comments.

Has the "jNW" moniker appeared anywhere besides BSD? I’m trying to spread its use and it still makes me chuckle. I would love to see it become popular around the B1G.—Dinsdale Piranha

This wasn’t started at BSD; I’m pretty sure that BHGP started it, when no matter their team it appeared Northwestern had their number. It was a condescending, why can’t we blow you out? You’re “just” Northwestern, type of thing. But I’m willing to be proven wrong.

Is this community now to be known as White Shoe Diaries? I just called my lawyer to initiate trademark and copyright proceedings. —Scoop Dawg

We actually changed our twitter name to White Shoe Diaries last Saturday. If the team wears white shoes on a day, we’ll do it again.