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32 Random Thoughts on...the Penn State Offseason

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We bust out an old trope for dog days of summer

Wisconsin v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

On New Year’s Day, the Penn State Nittany Lions battled the Kentucky Wildcats in the Citrus Bowl. And then...basically nothing. The dreaded offseason has run for months, and I have some thoughts, which I’ve randomly set forth below.

  1. Collyer’s writing this week? Oh good!
  2. Wait, what’s the numbering for?
  3. Is he seriously going to do this list gimmick again?
  4. Yes, yes I am. Honestly, in the 242 days between Kentucky and Idaho, our faithful community deserves some consistency. I’m your man.
  5. You never realize how long the offseason truly is until right about now. Absent a random recruiting news event, mid-June every year is just the pit of despair for me as a college football fan.
  6. Which is weird, because I think you’d expect it to be earlier. The big finale to each year, assuming your team is remotely competent, is a big game at a neutral site in a vacation destination against a team you don’t normally play. That’s a lot of emotion and energy packed into one 60 minute game, and once it ends, it’s like letting the air out of a balloon.
  7. But these days, we’re really letting the air out of the balloon slowly. After the game, it’s the post-game analysis. After the post-game-analysis, its the “Way Too Early Top 25s.” After the “Way Too Early Top 25s,” it’s the transfer portal.
  8. Ugh, the transfer portal. This is my worst nightmare. Free agency comes to college football. At least before, we were able to hide the process from view, and the only time you actually saw unscrupulous behavior from college coaches on the recruiting trail is when the Tim Beckman’s of the world brought their entire staff to State College like a pack of hyenas to recruit kids who just received devastating news.
  9. Ugh, Tim Beckman.
  10. But now, we get to see the ugly side of college football right before our eyes. And yes, I know the portal is theoretically meant to be confidential, but it’s obviously not (h/t to the Mothership gumshoes for their impressive digging), and you manage to get things like Penn State “fans” popping off at Lamont Wade on Twitter.
  11. Not an ideal scenario, to be sure.
  12. Either way, after the transfer portal its the rest of National Signing Day, which used to be a much bigger event before we decided to usurp it the early signing period. Before you know it, we’re looking at new rosters, new transfers, new freshmen, and previewing the Blue/White Game.
  13. Of course, the Blue/White Game is our annual tradition where we preview it as if it’s make-or-break for depth chart competition, then get to the game where we’re all reminded that it’s literally just one public scrimmage surrounded by a carnival, then promptly forget and write our reaction pieces and argue for the next several weeks.
  14. And then, we’re finally here. A big pile of nothingness. Air completely removed from the balloon.
  15. Good thing we had Penn State Men’s Lacrosse this year. Seriously, way to go to work, guys.
  16. Tough loss in the Final Four, but these things happen. Even Zion Williamson couldn’t guarantee Duke a title through the minefield that is the NCAA Tournament.
  17. You know, when I said in January that I “was ready to move on” from the Trace McSorley Era, I said it with with the implicit agreement that we were moving ahead to the Tommy Stevens Era. I, for one, never agreed to quarterback drama in late-April.
  18. Typically, we reserve that stress for late-September, where Sean Clifford inevitably became the most popular player on the team for a very vocal 35% of the fanbase.
  19. Now, we’ll hand that title off to Will Levis. Congratulations, man.
  20. All things aside, I’m sorry to see Touchdown Tommy’s Penn State career end this way. I know it’s the way of the world now, but it’s not the way I want it to be. This was supposed to be his storybook Michael Robinson year.
  21. Instead of remembering Tommy for winning a Big Ten Championship, I’ll just have to settle for him barreling over the entire Iowa roster on the way to a blowout win.

23. Good luck at Mississippi State, Tommy. CLANGA!

24. Yesterday, Pat asked who Penn State’s x-factors would be this coming year. It’s a great question, and one of you responded by naming every single running back not named Ricky Slade on the roster. We’ve come a long way, baby.

25. The depth that currently exists at running back hasn’t been seen in State College has in decades. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our fair share of talented running backs who have seen success - the Tony Hunts and Evan Roysters of the world. But this squad has potential difference makers and home run hitters everywhere.

26. I remember in the mid-aughts when USC just picked up tailback after tailback after tailback off the success of the Reggie Bush/LenDale White duo. You had 5-star kids leaving starting jobs at power programs on the table, all for a shot at Hollywood. Those depth charts were outrageous.

27. The fact that these depth charts are of a similar stature just shows how far we’ve come and how seriously James Franklin and his team take recruiting.

28. I don’t know who our x-factors are. Give me some time to get reacquainted with the squad. By late-July and early-August, I’ll have lock down opinions that you all can rub in my face by late-September when I’m clearly wrong.

29. I do know one thing, though. I want to see this.

30. Go convince ‘em, Micah.

31. See you at the end of this interminable football drought.

32. We are...