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BSD Mailbag 11.17.17

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We’re talking Barkley, Nebraska and more in this week’s mailbag!

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

Thoughts on Penn State playing a neutral site OOC game like Alabama has been doing for the last couple of seasons?--Patrick Koerbler

I'm a firm believer in seven home games - it's what helps keep the athletic department as funded as it is (with all of the non-rev sports, which I love) and it's a boost to the local economy. So I'm in if it means we can still have seven home games - which means, because of the nine game Big Ten schedule, only every other year. Alabama does seven home games a year, with the neutral, and then four away games; this I'd be on board with. Michigan had one this year with only six home games; I'd have nixed that one, especially because it was, essentially, a lose-lose with a reeling Florida team as their opponent.

Thinking positively, if we earn an invite to a NY 6 bowl game, do we

A. want a rematch, albeit for smaller stakes, with USC

B. be part of a "David gets their chance against Goliath" storyline against Central Florida

C. renew a long ago rivalry and play Notre Dame--phillyfanisc

I distinctly do NOT was A. I'm sick of USC, and the fact that their quarterbacks have Heisman-worthy performances against us before regressing.

I'd be ok with either B or C; for B, it'd be a rematch of the Ireland game, which was phenomenal, and I'd be more confident than any other opponent. And C would be awesome - it would be a better game, but I'd love nothing more than for our team to be the cause of a Brian Kelly purple face. Plus, the kids on that team that had the chance to be Nittany Lions and didn't - I'd love for this squad to make them eat their words.

How many points do we need to score to get Mike Riley fired?--NLions_54

None for him to get fired this Sunday; that’s not happening. To ensure he gets fired at the end of the season, we just have to score more than the Huskers do.

When's Mike Reilly's last day--TonyLion

IU is Our Most Hated Rival, obviously

Can some of the hate I have for them be legally transferred to Nebby? Both have red and white color schemes, sometimes with varying stupid arrangements of stripes involved.

What is the best trophy to represent this game? Should it be something iconic to 1994, just because, or is that a recency and one-sided bias as a PSU’er?--MrNoPants

I think it should be an amalgamation, a montage of poor referees and AP voters. All aboard, like, a pyre. With this gif broadcast on top:

(side note: I accidentally had this gif up on my screen while writing the rest of this mailbag, and, yep, still just as frustrating and traumatic as it was in 2012).

With the exception of occasional evening games, why aren't all the kickoffs at 4pm?

Screw the 12 o’clock kickoffs. 4 o’clock is perfect. You don’t have to get up super early and have plenty of daylight to tailgate. Plus a lot of the game is played under the lights which just makes things better all around. Then you get to cap off the win with a few hours at the bar. Why is there any other kickoff time? If I am watching the game at home the best time is the 7-8 pm evening games as long as we win. If we lose, I end up unable to sleep and the next day is shot.--bva-psu

I don't know! 3:30/4pm kickoffs are my absolute favorite. You can sleep in a little bit, still tailgate for hours before the game, and still have time for some food and drinks after the game in celebration as well! It's the best time, especially this time of year, when it's almost like a night game at the end of the game.

Logistically, of course, it can't happen because then you'd have too many games at one time. But still! #team330

Is Moorhead more likely to stay after the last few weeks? Has the perception of him nationally changed?--Dbridi

I think so, ever since the MSU game. There aren't going to be many attractive (for him, at least) head coach openings this season and he gets paid pretty well at Penn State, and his family seems to love it in State College. Couple that with less-than-great overall performances and Penn State having a season disappointing relative to preseason expectations means that his stock is lower; next year, if the entire offense can improve despite the loss of All-Everything Saquon Barkley, his stock will be higher and there may be more attractive jobs opening up.

Given that we aren't going to the CFP, over/under on Barkely skipping the bowl game. I’m thinking it is 90/10 that he skips it. No benefit for him playing some random game, and based on things since mid-season our game plan isn’t going to be designed to make him any $$$ in the league. The 10 percent is if it some match up that appeals to him in some way, shape or form. Not sure what that would be, but hold it out there. And honestly I’m not sure him skipping is a bad thing for PSU. Bowl games ought to be as much if not more for the next season (again, assuming no CFP), and it might be better for us to see how to run the JoMo offense (and I think he’ll be back in 2017 b/c his star has cooled some and the opening aren’t great this year) w/o a back that causes EVERYONE to crash the mesh so hard.--MJBPSU

I think that Barkley should skip the game. I also think that he won't want to, because he's just that type of team player, as evidenced by, well, everything he's done. I don't want him to have his draft stock go down because of an injury, and it could only hurt him - he's a top five draft pick. He's amazing and will be, if possible, even better in the pros when defenses can't simply sell out to stop him. It'll be interesting to see what counsel James Franklin and staff give him on this matter.

With 2 games left in the regular season, can Barkley make it to 1000 yards rushing? It’s getting a little ridiculous now and it also seems he will run out of time to become the all time rushing yardage leader in school history. I feel bad that this offense is betraying him every week against even the weakest of defenses. I have also come to the realization that he will not win the Heisman Trophy. As a follow up question to that, is it to late to start the hype train for a Trace McSorely Heisman push?--adamp1984

Yes. He might make it to 1000 after this week's Nebraska game, against a rush defense that is horribad. But even if he doesn't, there's always Maryland!

Barkley has to be the most respected player in the nation.. I am sure he met every single Rutgers defender on the field on Saturday.--mook1525

Yes. No doubt. As evidenced by the eight yards he gained on first down in the third quarter, when he ran the option and kept it - and the Rutgers defenders didn't even pretend to not be all up on Barkley. They didn't hesitate; that was their job. Welp.

Do Gesicki and Barkley track their hurdle numbers and compare against each other?--FB_Dive_or_Bust

I'm sure Mike Gesicki isn't that stupid.

If Chip Kelly were to become the next Florida head coach, what do you think he’d accomplish?--Succss With Honor Always

He'd probably win the SEC East more often than not, making his way to the SEC Championship before being soundly beaten by Bama or Auburn. He'd then likely go on to a bowl game, and be roughly 50/50 in those.

You know...almost exactly like Jim McElwain did before being fired this year.

What’s the next big offensive innovation in College football? We’ve seen spread, then read option, now RPO (I know, I’m oversimplifying). But what’s next? What are the new schemes bubbling up through the game?--Dbridi

I'm not a big scheme girl, but this A-11 offense sounds pretty interesting with our line woes...

If you were to come into possession of a program from the 1981 Pitt/PSU game, what would be the best thing to do with it and how would one go about getting Todd Blackledge to sign it with the inscription of 48-14, which is likely your answer?--Succss With Honor Always

YES THAT WOULD BE MY ANSWER HOLY HELL HOW DO WE MAKE THIS HAPPEN.

I mean, I could probably get credentialed for a game he called solely to do this. But that would be a compromise of any modicum of journalistic integrity that I still have, right? Right?

Can you think of a more disappointing 10-2 season? I love our guys and our staff and I have no complaints – JT Barrett caught fire against our tired defense and if we have a dry field and no delay in east lansing I think we win that as well. And that’s the way football goes. But it’s been a long time since we have even been allowed to have expectations, so I’m wondering when was the last time we had 10 wins and the season didn’t feel amazing?--Dbridi

I feel like 2009 was more disappointing, because I never felt like we were as great as we are this year, and we lost at home to the team who ruined our season the year before. Plus, every game when Daryll Clark was hit, I grimaced - we had literally no quarterback depth behind him (if you recall, Kevin Newsome was our true freshman backup that year - the guy who was passed on the depth chart the next fall by two true freshmen and a walk-on). For a team coming off a Big Ten title, having no depth and benefitting from a down Big Ten to get 10 wins felt off--I feel like that LSU Capital One Bowl was a microcosm of that. We didn't even play a NY6 bowl, which is where we're likely headed this year.

What Sport has benefited the most from PSU joining the BIG? I say it is wrestling, some say women’s volleyball. Settle it for me.--wvlion

These are my two favorite non-football sports, so I feel uniquely qualified to settle this debate.

It's wrestling. Penn State isn't the team that makes the Big Ten the best wrestling conference - and the same thing could be said about wrestling. But before Penn State joined, Ohio State wasn't as good as it is now; the sport was the traditional powers, Iowa and Oklahoma State, with a few others occasionally sprinkled in here and there. Penn State entering the conference and then getting Cael is what has made the league much more competetive, with talent up and down the list - indeed, Iowa isn't even amongst the best THREE squads in the conference this year. Part of the reason Penn State's better is because we're in the Big Ten; the conference, though, is definitely better because we're in the Big Ten.

On the other hand, Penn State's women's volleyball team has been equally successful - but it wasn't Penn State joining that ultimately elevated the conference profile into the best conference in the nation, hands down - it was Nebraska. Prior to Nebraska's entry to the Big Ten, the Big Twelve had a very valid claim to being the best up and down conference in the nation; when Nebraska joined, that narrative decidedly switched, and now almost all the Big Ten teams - from Wisconsin to Minnesota to Purdue to Michigan State - have become pretty darn good, with teams having losing conference records but still ranked, since there is virtually no gimme on the schedule. Both Penn State and the Big Ten volleyball are better for the Nittany Lions' inclusion, but the seismic shift didn't happen because of PSU's inclusion - and that makes the difference.

How silly is it that you can buy beer in the Club seat lounge at the stadium, but you can’t take it out to your seat? Do folks really say, "Why, I think I’ll go get a beer and watch the game on TV in the lounge (something I can do for free at my house), rather than in my seat for which I pay beaucoup bucks."--Smee

Yes. Yes, they do - especially in horrible weather (or when it's really hot outside). Sometimes you can't get between a Penn Stater and their beer.

What's the best part of work travel? Airport beers or hotel masturbation? Airport beers are great, because they’re met with no judgement and are guilt free. You can drink at 6am, and no one is going to look down on you or give you shit. However, it’s also nice to have a nice, lonely hotel room, fire up the incognito on the Kindle, and not have to worry about your wife/husband, fiance, girlfriend/boyfriend, roommate, etc. walking in or hurrying you. You can just take your time and enjoy.--IronCityLion

I actually am a huge fan of airport champagne. Because I need a little something to get over my flight anxiety, and nothing's better for that than bubbles.

The new Thor, your thoughts? It was good, but felt really rushed in a way--Sperbro

I loved it so much. It was funnier than the previous installments, and any time there's a shirtless Thor is a good time for me. I get what you're saying about being rushed, but in places some of the other Thors felt too slow to me. I also loved the way it ended (no spoilers!) and the other Marvel universe characters that were in it. The use of music, too, was more Guardians-esque, which I loved.

The Lord of the Rings TV show - good or bad idea?--mook1525

I had not heard talk of this until this question, and all I can think of is

It doesn't lend itself to an unlimited series structure; there's just not the framework there for a weekly show with no end. The narrative structure of the Lord of the Rings so clearly has a beginning, middle, and end that the only way it could possibly work is in a limited series - but even then, Peter Jackson did such a good job at it (with amazing special effects) that no tv budget would be able to top it.

Plus, no Orlando Bloom means no for Cari.

When is Mike Gundy going to cut his hair? I live in Illinois and do appreciate a good mullet. I saw a 5/6 year old kid at the airport awhile back who was rocking a badass little mullet. But his is not good--adamp1984

He is a man, he's fifty. He can cut his hair whenever he wants (and I hope it will be soon).

Star wars battlefront 2? I just recently got into playing battlefront 1 online on the ps4. I have had the game for a while but only just recently quit messing around with it and started really get into the online play. Well now battlefront 2 is coming out in 2 days. Am i going to be the one of the few who don’t buy it and get stuck watching my screen for 10 minutes waiting for enough players for a game of "cargo" online?--adamp1984

I'm actually not a gamer, even Star Wars games, so I'm not sure what all you're asking here - I'll leave this one for the folks in the comments. I wouldn't mind watching someone play it, probably, because it sure looks cool!

What would fifth grade you ask today you?--Gerry Dincher

Why do you so rarely chase your dreams?