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BSD Mailbag 11.23.18

It’s Friday, which means it’s Mailbag time!

NCAA Wrestling: DI Wrestling Championships
Now I’ve...had...the time of my life...and I owe it all to you.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

besides the 22 players who take the walk out of the tunnel for the last time, realistically, which underclassmen walk for the last time? and BONUS question: which coach(es) walk for the last time?—kingkub

We know those 22 players, so of course they’re off limits (and only Sterling Jenkins is announced as leaving early, which isn’t much of a surprise).

I also wouldn’t be super surprised to see at least one wideout leave (you can leave your guesses as to who in the comments), and Jon Holland departing after being passed on the depth chart by both Pat Friermuth and Zack Kuntz wouldn’t shock me either. I’m sure we’ll see one or more guys declare early, because that always seems to happen, and at least one player that no one ever expected will likely depart for another school.

I do hope that Phil Galiano decides that Penn State is not for him, but I don’t see many coaches leaving this year.

Understanding that we’ll never get an answer to this, (so everyone can claim they’re right), given that Saturday’s weather forecast for Happy Valley is light freezing rain early changing to rain in the afternoon, a high of 40 degrees and low of 38 with a 5-10 mph wind, and all the grass parking lots are now closed, how many living, breathing humans will be inside Beaver Stadium for the senior day foosball game?—Smee

Before walking into the stadium for Wisconsin, I predicted, due to the colder weather, crazy wind and insane parking situation, that there would be under 70k in the stands. I was way, way wrong - except for the student section, the lower bowl looked pretty darn full.

This week, though we may lose a few due to hunting season, it’s actually going to be warmer than the last game, but with sleet. Parking won’t be as much of a factor, I think, because it will be the second game in a row of the same restrictions; I’m going to say I expect around 80k butts in seats.

Bigger disappointment this year: Losing to this mediocre MSU team or getting blown out Michigan?--JayMPSU

Oh, it’s Michigan State, and I’m not sure it’s close. Mark Dantonio had his team punt to Penn State when down with only a few minutes left in the game - and he still won. That game, much like last year’s game against Sparty, was horrible in almost every aspect, including officiating. And Penn State looked like crap, but still should have won. That stings above all else.

I watched a lot of football this past weekend, both college and pro. I know I should let the MSU game go but I saw six examples of a QB hit or the QB’s arm hit while the arm was going forward and the ball landed behind the QB. The arms were clearly in the forward motion part of the throw and though most flew out to the side and slightly behind the QB every single one was a fumble. I saw 3 passes that when the QB was hit that landed in front (even right at the feet) of the QB and they were incomplete. What am I still missing about the play against MSU that was called incomplete instead of a fumble????—BMAN13

Speaking of that game and the officiating...I still can’t get over it. I understand that it’s *technically* how it should be called by the letter of the rule, it’s simply never called that way. And of course that’s how it gets called against us, because it may have made the difference in a game where it shouldn’t have made the difference.

What do you think accounts for the disparity between the depth of Rutgers’ stinkocity vs. the merely mediocre Maryland morass? According to Wikipedia, New Jersey is the 11th largest state by population, while Maryland is 19th, so it ain’t headcount.—McCloskeywasinbounds

I get that New Jersey has good recruits, but the entire DMV as a whole has excellent, game-changing recruits year in and out. If Maryland lands one or two of them every year, they can pull off a few upsets, like they did this year - and that will keep them afloat. Rutgers, despite their claim to fames, just doesn’t have the reputation to be able to do that. It’s sad, because a shitty Rutgera, despite being pretty hilarious, brings almost the whole Big Ten down.

Why is Maryland mediocre (at best)? There is tons of talent in the region. Campus isn’t anything special, but then neither is Columbus or East Lansing. They have UA money, so facilities and bagman money shouldn’t be an issue. Is it just that everyone with the choice will always opt to leave the DMV? Would it help to raise College Park and just start over in (take your pick): Silver Spring, Columbia, Rockville or Frederick?—kijana’s acl

I have some pithy answers to go along with some serious ones.

Maryland’s uniforms, with our stupid effing state flag all over the damn place, aren’t attractive. The flag waiving helmets are flat-out hideous.

And the fan support is just virtually non-existent. Before they joined the Big Ten, their games were sparsely attended (not Pitt-level bad, but nowhere near the level of most Indiana games, generally); now that they’ve switched conferences and some consistently good squads with a boatload of alumni in the area come every other year, it’s gotten better. But the fan support for football just isn’t there; part of it is the nature of Maryland’s fanbase as a whole, which imho could give stereotypical Philly fans a run for the money, as their M.O. generally involves denigrating their opponent or whomever their deemed most-hated-rival is at any given time - not any general love of the program, but rather an aura of superiority or perceived ability to be superior that simply hasn’t come to fruition (it’s a lot harder to be consistently good-to-great at football than a lot of Maryland fans want to believe).

Money also has a lot to do with it, and Maryland hasn’t had a lot of that and likely won’t have enough to start to compete until their full share of the B1G pot comes through. You have to have the money to hire big name coaches and assistants, and the fan base to get butts in seats. Maryland can get there - but a lot depends on their next coaching hire, and whether he can turn around the fracture in the program.

Coaches’ contracts: Every year we speculate about our coach or assistant coaches leaving for another program. The coaches are always under a contract for multiple years, yet leave for better opportunities (here, there, and everywhere, including the pros.) Surely they have a non-compete clause, right? Why then do programs let the coaches leave?—48-14

I actually think that most contracts likely don’t have non-compete clauses, because agents aren’t stupid and negotiate non-competes out of the contract. Generally, too, a non-compete in a field like college football coaching couldn’t be so broad in scope as to limit a coach from leaving for other gainful employment in the same field; if there are non-competes, there’s likely limitations on the geographic area or conference that a coach can leave for.

But the biggest reason that programs “let” coaches leave is money. Most coaching contracts, if broken by either party before they are up, have a buyout attached on either side; the amount of the buyout after a set number of years is often a sticking point in negotiations. If a coach wants to leave for a different school, would the school want to force that coach to be somewhere he doesn’t want to be? Or, instead, would they rather get an injection of millions of dollars in cash from the coach in order to hire a decent replacement? I don’t think it’s a tough decision for schools - especially when you factor in the idea that college coaching is a limited community, and if a school is known to hardball coaches, they’re less likely to attract decent talent in the future - even if it’s the school who ends up wanting to go in a different direction.

With the recent speculation of Jimmy Franks to USC. Do you think there is something rotten in the state of Denmark between he and Sandy Barbour? I’ve heard the rumors that she isn’t good at raising funds. Idk if this is true. Do you feel this is just CJF jockeying for more upgrades? At any rate, it’s starting to concern me.—swift_retribution

Could it be possible that it’s neither of those things - rather, it’s a wishlist of a certain subset of those who follow USC who want a guy like James Franklin on their sidelines? The mothership’s Stephen Godfrey, who got to know Franklin when he coached at Vandy, seems to think so.

Personally, while I see the allure of coaching at a storied program without much traditional divisional competition, I don’t see Franklin leaving. Though I sure as hell think that Lasch upgrades and increases in salary for assistant coaches (new or certain current ones) is something that should definitely be done, whether Barbour wants to pony up the money or not.

Is it just me or does it seem CJF isn’t having as much fun this year? I miss the guy running up and down the sideline, assaulting his coaches after good plays/ touchdowns,…. smiling….—Tmbgiants_3

I definitely think he isn’t having as much fun. Who’s to say why that is? Is he feeling more pressure, or feels like his team this year will respond better to a business-like head coach? Or is he desperate to be just like Nick Saban?

I don’t know, it’s probably a combination of all of the above, but I like Franklin and want him to enjoy Penn State. He can come play drinking games at my tailgate, we’ll get that frown turned upside down in no time.

Next year we play Rutgers in the last game. While we play the dregs of the Big 10 on the final week, others around the country have “rivalry week.” Would you rather have a rivalry game in the final week (like 5b used to be) or just coast into the bowl game as we have (and will be doing) more recently.—LarzLion

I mean, not every team has a rivalry the last week - the Big 12 especially seems to have scattered their rivalry games throughout the season rather than this last week. I frankly don’t care who we play the last week of the season (last year, having the game in Maryland after Thanksgiving was especially sweet to me, in 60-degree weather with a lot of my friends tailgating with me in College Park). I did, however, really, really like having Michigan State to close out the season; though they weren’t a rival, we do have a trophy that everyone talks about, and it’s almost always a good game - you can never sleep on the Spartans. That’s not the case with the Big Ten newbies we’re now playing.

How would Penn State’s back ups fair as a team in the other wrestling conferences and where would they place within the Big Ten. Where would they place at The Nationals. How many All-Americans? The other conferences are:

1. EWL


3. MAC

4. ACC

5. Big 12

6. Pac 12

7. Southern—Gerry Dincher

I don’t know too much about the other conferences - not enough, certainly, to predict where our backups would fare at other schools. I do know that your question most certainly depends on weight class; our backups at 149 and heavyweight would absolutely start for other teams in the Big Ten, let alone teams in other conferences - and if we could have multiple entrants at a single weight, I’d bet money on Verkleeren AND Berge, and Cassar AND Nevills making all-american.

For other weights, though? Maybe not so much, because of the moving around at different weights. If Gavin Teasdale was still with the team, I’d say that he could start at multiple other programs while Brody Teske is at Penn State; Devin Schnupp, though, I think could make the NCAA tournament depending on the team/conference we’re projecting him to - but I doubt he’d do any better than 2-2 at the tournament.

Early season over/under for NCAA Champs this March? I’m thinking 4. Cenzo, Nolf, and Nickal with a possible upset pick (ie Sugar Shak).—SavedByLeBell

Four is a good over-under bet. Three are almost guaranteed; Nolf is just going to wreck fools (as close to a sure thing as Zain was the last three years) and the only thing that keeps Bo from being a lock is the new weight class - but he’s more than the odds-on favorite to win at 197 this year. The last two seasons, the only person standing in Cenzo’s way to the title was IMar - and not only did our little meatball deck him and beat him 2x in the NCAA finals, IMar’s graduated. It’s Cenzo’s weight, even though it’s still a deep one in the conference, and he’ll make it count.

So, three almost locks; picking under four would make it so you think those are the only guys who win, and picking over four is almost silly (Shakur Rasheed has a shot, sure, and his turning combinations are simply nasty; but who else? Lee could take a huge step up but his weight is stacked; Hall still has the very scary Zahid Valencia in his class; Cassar is bumping up to hwt and still undersized, though dynamic).

I say four seems most likely.

What’s your opinion on the parking debacle this year? Unavoidable because of the weather or something PSU should be better prepared for?—PSU Mudder

While I’d like nothing more than to pin the blame for this on Penn State, the fact of the matter is that there has been unprecedented precipitation this fall. It has put quite a damper on our tailgating and I’d like to have a word with mother nature; if you haven’t had rain in a week and the first drops of new rainfall are sitting on top of the field because it’s still so saturated, you know it’s a problem that not much the university can do will fix.

Did you ban garder and joey.t.taylor?—LionfanAllan

Haha, no. I can’t speak to why either may not be on as much as in the past - I can only say, I totally get it. Sometimes real life wills out.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving food? I love Thanksgiving dinner, but I’ve always liked Thanksgiving breakfast more.

My mom makes hash brown casserole and an egg strata (cut-up sausage links on the bottom layer, egg and cheese mixture in the middle, and bread cubes on top) every Thanksgiving for breakfast.

Stuffing is my favorite Thanksgiving dinner food.—Malkin’s Milkshake

This is really tough for me, because I like almost all Thanksgiving food, but I don’t love any of it.

I like stovetop stuffing, and green bean casserole—but I have both of those other times of the year as well. I also LOVE desserts, so the pies I make for Thanksgiving (this year it was an apple pear pecan praline pie) are some of my favorite things.

I think I’ll go with something pretty easy and simple, though - cranberry sauce. Not the kind you get in a can (though we always have some of that too, since my mom adores it) - no, I love the kind that is homemade. My sister always talks about how easy it is to make, but I’ll leave that to her - or to my brother, who made a cranberry orange relish this year that was absolutely fantastic.

Happy belated Thanksgiving, everyone! And go state!