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BSD Mailbag 10.12.18

Welcome home, Penn Staters

NCAA Football: Clemson at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Lets say Ohio St., Clemson and Notre Dame all win out, and an undefeated Georgia upsets an undefeated Alabama in the SEC championship. Does Bama jump an undefeated team and still get in the playoff?—phillyfanisc

Absolutely not.

In a (very long-shot) scenario in which there are three Power 5 teams and Notre Dame that are undefeated, they’ll treat the conference championship as a play-in game—and both UGA and Bama would go into the SEC title game knowing this. If Nick Saban loses what he knows is a play-in game, then they aren’t the big time squad most of us believe this year, and they won’t deserve to get in.

It doesn’t really matter, though, because at least two of the five teams you mentioned in this question are going to lose before the first weekend in December. You heard it here (probably not) first.

Do you think if during a replay (say for a goal line stand) they see targeting that they should be able to call that?—JayMPSU

It depends on whether you take the rules committees’ reasoning behind creating and refining the targeting rule as true or not.

If, as the committee suggests, the rules are there almost exclusively for player safety, then it shouldn’t matter when it is called - if it is seen during replay (and definitive enough to meet the “enough video evidence to overturn the call on the field” standard), then it absolutely should be reviewable.

I’m also of the opinion that other non-subjective fouls, such as delay of game or illegal substitution, should be reviewable. We’re not talking about the definitions of “ball control” or where a ball should be spotted - there’s twelve guys on the field, or there’s not. Or, the clock struck zero and the ball is still in the center’s hands - or it’s not. If we’re going to make these rules, let’s be consistent (and appropriate) in enforcing them.

Who is Kelly Bryant?—Smee

I’m not sure if this was said in earnest, but I’m betting it’s in jest - he’s the former Clemson quarterback who lead them to a playoff spot last year (and has a ring from Clemson’s title season, when he sat behind Deshaun Watson) before being beaten out for the starting job this season by freshman Trevor Lawrence and announcing his transfer after the third game, so he could still retain his eligibility.

There’s two ongoing discussions regarding Bryant. One is that he has been, inexplicably, favored to transfer to Penn State; this is ludicrous, as PSU has a deep slate of talented quarterbacks (more deep than Clemson’s) and when Trace McSorley leaves after this season, he’d have to fight off Tommy Stevens, Sean Clifford, and Will Levis for the starting job (my money’s on Clifford, fwiw). It’s silly to think that he’d transfer to a school with evident talent in the wings waiting to take over, since he only has one year to make an impact - and at Penn State, there’s far from a guarantee that he would start.

Rumors now have him visiting UNC and Arkansas, both of which would be better bets (though I’m a little surprised that Clemson would allow him to transfer in-conference).

The other storyline around Bryant is whether he should be allowed to transfer, or if he should have stayed out of some sense of loyalty to the program. I think this is a false choice, though I do know my boss (who grew up a Penn State fan before going to a small college, and whose daughter is a junior at Clemson) disagrees - as do some other reasonable people.

When it comes to the relationship between a student-athlete and an athletic program, the overwhelming amount of power lies in the hands of the program. They’re the ones who decide whether he gets a scholarship or not, whether he plays or not, and any changes on their side (ie, coaching changes or even behind-the-scenes amenities changes) occur without any say of the player, and with the player unable to respond or make corresponding changes - they just have to sit and take it.

The one thing a player has control over is where he plays - but even that’s not all-encompassing, as, depending on the sport, the player may have to sit out a year at the new school, and the original school has options to limit the player’s transfer destination.

Bryant wants to get into the league; he didn’t see a path to do that in a Clemson squad that would see him get only mop-up or injury snaps behind a player who will look to start for the next three years. I don’t blame him one bit; the program didn’t show him loyalty, so why should he reciprocate? He’s doing what he feels is best for him, and I don’t blame him.

But, but, Cari! You got mad at Penn State players who transferred after the sanctions, and you celebrated Tommy Stevens staying instead of transferring these past two off seasons! And to that, dear reader, I’d say you’re absolutely correct.

In terms of players transferring after the sanctions, the program itself didn’t make any changes, and didn’t dampen playing time or impact, really, the players’ ability to make it to the NFL; indeed, I actually think transferring harmed some of those players more than staying at Penn State, where they would have gotten the same if not more playing time, and the same if not more press, would have done.

When it comes to Tommy Stevens, I would not have blamed him one iota for transferring out of Penn State this offseason, and playing two more years with another program. If he knows he’s not going to get significant snaps being McSorley and perhaps Clifford, this makes sense. But what did PSU and James Franklin do to entice Stevens to stay? They incorporated him into the playbook anyway, creating a “Lion” position just for him, and ensured that he would see the field when healthy even if not at true quarterback - and though against Ohio State those plays didn’t work to their best effect, the effort is there.

I don’t blame Bryant, as I have no ill-will to players who transfer to get more playing time (like, recently here, Andre Robinson or Alex Barbir), or for familial reasons. It’s the little bit of power they have in an otherwise incredibly unbalanced relationship, and they’re doing them.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how annoying is the Red Sox vs. Yankees rivalry? What rivalry in sports do you think is the most obnoxious?—Gerry Dincher

It’s probably around a 7. Michigan-Ohio State is clearly the most obnoxious rivalry in sports, and I’m not sure it’s close

Did you ever participate in the Homecoming parade?—LarzLion

The closest I ever got to participating in the Homecoming parade was picking up Stacy Parks-Miller’s earring that had flown off when she waved to the crowd by me, and running up to her to return it.

So, that’s a no.

I’ve asked this before, but hey, I’m persistent… does the mothership have any plans to include comment quantities in the blue bar of purgatory where threads go to die?—Smee

I don’t think so - it’s a stylistic choice of how they want all homepages on the network to look (I don’t disagree with your ire towards it). Not much the masthead at BSD can do about it, unfortunately.

When I ask the students I teach what career path they’d like to take 1/3 of them say “YouTuber.” Is there actually earning potential there, or are 33% of the kids I teach doomed to live in their moms’ basements?—bearwithscarf

There is, surprisingly, earning potential in making YouTube videos - but like most “careers” involving entertainment, it’s only the selected few superstars who make enough to live lavishly. As with actors, musicians, and the like, most of those entertainers will have to hold down “real jobs”—ie, waiting tables, office work, or retail—while they’re waiting for their big break, or waiting to give up.

And, really, at what cost? Much of what’s on YouTube is purposefully sensationalized as it’s all about the clicks and getting people to view your videos to make money off ads, and I’m not so sure that espousing what you think will get you views rather than your real ideals and personality is a way to a successful life. But that’s just this humble blogger’s take on it.

What is your favorite fact about the universe? I’m partial to the notion that there are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on earth.—kavija66

I admittedly don’t know much about the universe - I was never much into science, and the fields that I did find most fascinating tended toward the weather and geological fields (for example, I recently found myself caught in a Wiki spiral reading about the most potentially dangerous volcanoes on Earth, the Ring of Fire, and the world’s worst natural disasters in history). But I’m always down to lean - please post your favorite facts in the comments!

After just leaving Paris. Why are women enamored with that city? I’m glad I went, but I’ll never go back, even if there’s a fire. It was crowded, over priced, smelly, and everyone smokes. End of rant.—swift_retribution

First of all, “women” are not enamored with the city. That’s an overbroad generalization that feels silly being directed at a woman; and a woman of whose proclivities towards Paris you have no inkling of (for the record, I don’t love Paris. I like it; it feels European to me, and I love that feeling. But give me London, Brussels, or Edinburgh).

In terms of your issues with the city, most of what you indicate as negatives are what you’ll find in any city you visit - in the entire world - of similar (or even smaller) size. I’ve visited Paris a number of times, and I found it cleaner than Portland, less crowded than New York, and with fewer smokers than London. I don’t know what you mean by smelly; the smells I remember overpowering me were of fresh baked goods and coffee, which are smells I’ll take any day.

You can absolutely not enjoy being in a city; there are different vibes in different cities around the world, and not all of them are to everyone’s liking (for example, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to Glasgow; it felt boring to me, and I saw no draw). But, as someone who loves to travel, a few things can shape your experience: who you travel with, the areas you visit, and where you stay, amongst other things. And no two experiences are exactly alike, so while you may have stayed in an area of town you were uncomfortable and/or unhappy with, Paris is a gigantic city and if you had stayed a few blocks away, your experience may have been completely different.

You don’t have to go back to Paris, or even want to. But dismissing those who might simply because your individual experience was less than ideal is dismissing the experiences of many, many others.

End my rant.