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BSD Mailbag 9.6.19

It’s Buffalo week, and we’ve got a fresh new mailbag for the first night game of the season!

FloSports: FloWrestling Penn State at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Remember that time that Rob Koll went to court to stop Zain from representing the US, and then Zain said screw it I’ll beat your boy a third time?…That was awesome.—mattinglywasking

To me, Zain winning the first (and then only!) match against Yianni on the 2nd was the epitome of “ball don’t lie”. What makes it even sweeter is the number of Yianni-stans (and/or Penn State haters, in which the venn diagram in this instance is a round circle) online who were still crying over it, how Yianni is a much better wrestler than Zain and would do better in international competition, and how Zain will go one and out.

Newsflash: if Yianni is a better wrestler than Zain, how did Zain win the last three bouts against Yianni? And how did Koll and Cornell crying about the second bout turn out? Yeah....not as expected.

And here’s another newsflash: I really like Yianni! He’s a great kid, and an exciting wrestler, and his win in the finals this past season was wonderful! But Zain just beat him. Period.

Taking into consideration the level of competition: What are the two or three things we learned from the 1st game about this years team?—psualum9931

We actually *did* learn stuff from the first week! The biggest thing I learned was simply how talented this team is, top to bottom, offense to defense to special teams. Whether that’ll translate to wins against the toughest teams on our schedule is yet to be determined, but when CJF said that this is the quickest and most talented defense he’s ever had as a coach, based on Saturday, he ain’t lying. And that’s with Cam Brown (whom the BTN crew called out specifically by name in predicting a special year) only playing a single series in the second half!

By extension, the depth on this team is something we haven’t had at Penn State since well before the sanctions. The only position that I don’t see a backup as being only a step behind (if that) the starter is punter and kicker - and the latter is only because of the third thing I learned, which is that the transfer portal can be a most amazing thing (in giving us Jordan Stout). Holy hell, Virginia Tech, what were you thinking?!

As it pertains to the CFP, is scheduling cupcakes a good thing or bad thing for the program?

I’ve heard both arguments:

1. The committee does not consider SOS as much as the old BCS system did. Therefore, destroy teams and impress the committee.

2. Cupcakes do nothing to prepare us for the upper third of our schedule, which is most important to determining our ability to make the CFP.

Where do you stand Cari?—Tmbgiants_3

I think it’s...fine? I understand the criticism and I don’t share it. After five years of data, we now have backup to show that the committee really doesn’t care about strength of schedule, and with 9 conference games, let’s play a game that is more like a tune up.

I disagree with the notion that playing Idaho does nothing to prepare us for the upper third of our schedule. With a team as young as ours, any playing time for depth players is incredibly valuable, because you never know when someone might have to step in. Plus, team chemistry, emotion, and mindset is a real thing that impacts games, so a young team knowing that they have the ability to come in and dominate will definitely help down the road. They know they can set records - they just have to do it.

Is it fair criticism to the AD who scheduled Idaho? For not inserting a clause which drastically reduced the amount paid to a visiting team if they are no longer an FBS program when the game is played?

$1.4M has been noted by USA Today as approximately double what FBS teams pay a FCS school for a guaranteed game. I would add this expense to that of having to FedEx overnight season ticket holders tickets 2 years ago (due to switching printers) as an evidence that the athletic department is not spending money efficiently. Add this to last Saturday’s parking debacle and whatever they paid to the consultant who devised that plan as three items of wasteful spending.—LarzLion

See above, a bit - and I don’t see how the scheduling of the game is fair criticism for the AD. When we scheduled Idaho, it would have been the same as scheduling Texas State (who Texas A&M beat last week) or East Carolina (who NC State beat) or UConn (who actually beat a lower-level foe) - one of the bottom teams in the Sun Belt Conference (and I didn’t even put Navy in that tier, even though they ended up 3-10 last year). After they scheduled it, the school announced they were dropping down.

Not including the clause that the money would drop down is an error, but not egregious in my opinion - and I’m actually glad that we honored the contract. We likely could have easily petitioned or sued to pay a lesser amount if not get out of the game completely, but we honored our end of the contract. That means that additional NCAA athletes get academic and athletic support via the donations that folks like myself have given Penn State, and I’m very much ok with that.

Can we have a post game redux with the frenemy interviewee?—eartotheground

This would be hilarious, but alas, I doubt that most recipients of a beatdown would want to conduct such an interview. Especially when their hopes of a two-score game were dashed in the first quarter.

How about a background article on Nick Eury? From the snippets I’ve read and heard at CJF’s presser, it seems like that would be a great “feel good” story. You know, a little history, struggles, successes, culminating in his touchdown carry on Saturday. He’s the kind of guy that improves everyone around him. I’d love to have the background on the guy and hold him up as an example of what hard work can do. You know the type…—48-14

I don’t do scheduling or planning of stories anymore, but I’m sure that there are many bios in the works right now due to the attention he got after that tough TD run on Saturday. Here’s just one.

How did the new parking zone thingy work out for you?—Smee

It worked fine for me - though the attendants when I got in (shortly after 8) seemed even more clueless than usual. Please always take my discussions about parking with a grain of salt, though, because I’m normally one of the first folks in the lots, and often one of the last ones to leave - so I know my experiences are not typical.

I do think the lack of advance notice that they were “punching” the parking passes is a huge fail - and part of my attendant issue is that they didn’t punch mine, but punched a friend’s in my same lot not 15 minutes later. Weird.

How long will it be (and this is nothing negative towards Jan J. or Ellis B.) until Brandon Smith takes over at mlb?—phillyfanisc

I don’t think he’ll start until next year, and I doubt it’ll be in the middle - I think Micah may bump up to a standing DE/LB hybrid and Smith takes over for Brown on the edge. A Parsons-Brooks-Brown starting linebacker lineup has a delightful ring to it.

Do you think we will ever see Hippenhammer back to receive a kickoff again this year? Or are we finished with that?—jiminore

Honestly, we were probably finished before it even started - though Hipp helped himself out exactly none. He wasn’t on the depth chart to field kicks headed into last week, and really only was out there because we didn’t want to risk injury to KJ or Jahan Dotson, who may field kicks in KJ’s absence. If we need to fair catch a punt from an actual good punter, too, don’t forget that John Reid has had much experience doing so.

Did you notice when Stout kicked off early in the 3rd quarter it appeared someone (CJF or Lorig?) made him go back on the field and complete his run-out to the goal line?—Smee

I didn’t see this, but it is HILARIOUS. I love it. And Lorig is the best hire CJF made in the off-season, paying off dividends already.

Would be more appropriate for next week’s mailbag, but on a scale of 1-10, how poorly has this thread aged?

(link here)—IronCityLion

HAHAHAHAH! I am many things but one thing I try to be is pretty self-aware. This apparently is not something that exists within a lot of the Pitt football fandom.

Is the B1GW really that bad? Could a B1GW team contend in the PAC12?

Bonus question: Who needs a new coach first? Elite VaTech (minus one good kicker) or FSU?—LarzLion

Not top to bottom - I think Rutgers is worse than any team in the West. And Wisconsin looked pretty darn good this week, I think they could easily win the Pac 12 this year. The rest of the crowded middle of the Big Ten West had mediocre performances, but the biggest jump in-season typically happens between game one and game two, so the jury’s still out whether they’re going to be great this year, or simply ok. Don’t read too much into a week one performance - as evidenced by our 2016 season.

When will Oklahoma play a team that has a defense? I’m sure after this pathetic showing by Houston, Riley is all but guaranteed to have his 3rd Heisman QB in a row.— Pasadena’95

I can’t say with certainty when they’ll play a team with a defensive pulse because I don’t know where Oklahoma will go bowling this year. If Jalen Hurts does win the Heisman, I hope we play them so that we can shut him down like we’ve done Heisman winners in the past.

Seems like so many media types need glass stomachs because their heads are so far up their butts they need to see where they’re going. Which sports pundits do you think are the most egregious in promoting teams like Tennessee, Florida State, and others as “back” while any sane person would know that it isn’t the case?—RWReese

I actually think the perennial Notre Dame and SEC conference love is worse. Notre Dame looked decidedly mediocre against a Not Good Louisville team on Monday night, and all throughout the game it felt like Kirk Herbstreit (whom I generally feel calls a good game, and is even handed!) was all aboard the Brian Kelly/Irish train (yuck). And ESPN giving Paul Finebaum a platform is still ludicrous to me - aside from Alabama (who is always gonna be great under Nick Saban), how is the depth in the SEC better than the Big Ten?

Bueller? Bueller?

Spoiler alert: it’s not. The dregs of the SEC are just as bad if not worse than the teams at the bottom of the Big Ten this year (the folks on Sirius XM’s College Football Sunday show went on a rant about it, and I was absolutely There For It). You can’t claim the title of best conference and have an historical powerhouse lose to Georgia State like that. It just can’t happen.

1) Why will people bitch endlessly about PSU running up the score on inferior non-con opponents, while never batting an eye at a team like Maryland doing so?

2) Eating buffalo wings at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Buffalo: overrated, or something everyone should experience once? Justify your choice.—rallyparakeet

  1. Have you met our fans? They’ll complain if we run up the score, and if we don’t. If we run the ball we’re not passing enough, if we pass the ball we’re not running enough. If we use a timeout it’s poor clock management, but leaving timeouts on the board is poor coaching. That’s how you Penn State fan. But for non-PSUers, it’s because I think most folks know it’s an aberration for Maryland - and they haven’t had an offensive pulse in years. We’re different, in that since Morehead arrived in Happy Valley we can score so we should know how to pump the breaks a bit. I don’t care, I want all of the touchdowns in every game.
  2. BWW is fine, I guess. But if I’m in Buffalo, I’ll go somewhere else for wings, thanks - because in that town, why would you go to a national chain when you can go to a place that actually created the wings?

Anchor Bar or Wings ‘N Things - Who really invented the buffalo wing? Does BSD have a cub reporter that can dispatch to get to the bottom of the story?—kingkub

With our BSD travel budget hovering around the $0 mark, I did the next best thing - I went to my friend Fred, who went to school up in Rochester and never fails to voice his opinions on all things buffalo wings. Here’s what he said:

“Really????...Is that a question for real? Wings and what? In order to have a thing called a wing, it must be invented. Clearly whatever that wing thing place is, they took the term “wing” from the Anchor Bar Buffalo Wings. Had to have been invented (by AB) to get the term wing to come up with the silly wing and thing restaurant name. Who’s with me?”

You’ve heard it here, folks, from the self-styled “certified wing expert” - it’s Anchor Bar.

So, ala Larry Johnson Jr tweet storm, is there a conspiracy to make the NFL and NBA more effeminate? Is there a conscious effort toward the woosification of male athletes to reduce their overall toxic masculinity?—RWReese

No conspiracy for “woosification” (because that’s not even a thing), but the effects of CTE are real and prevalent, folks.

Also, I support the reduction of toxic masculinity in all places, including football - and I don’t consider that woosification at all. I think a lot of the current generation of NCAA (and younger NFL) players embody this pretty well - you can actually play football and be respectful towards others at the same time. What a concept!

Next year is 2020. Will we finally start saying twenty as the first part of the year instead of two thousand? Twenty-twenty flows off the tongue much better than two thousand twenty and all the other years that began with two thousand. So, is next year twenty-twenty or is it two thousand twenty. Aslo, thank you to the Nationals for trading Felipe Vazquez (nee Rivero) to the Pirates.—Gerry Dincher

I’ve been rewatching The Good Place on Netflix. Now that they have season 3 up. What would be your personal football hell/heaven? Or just your regular personal hell/heaven?

I think football hell is that every game of the season is like the 05 Michigan game where we almost seem to have the game in hand but then have it taken away in the last few seconds. And I’m forced to watch it surrounded by annoying Pitt fans.—skarocksoi

J’adore The Good Place - the season one ending will be up there as one of the best season enders in TV for me (and the best for a comedy). If you haven’t watched it, definitely do.

I think football hell is watching Minnesota’s kick sail over LaVar Arrington’s outstretched arms in 1999 over and over again, alternating with Iowa’s kick in 2008. Basically any kick that’s against us in the closing minutes that went in.

What is your favorite “Dark Rey” theory/prediction? I’ve seen a few online…clone, vision, actually turns to the dark side, etc…—CaptBomb

I try very, very hard to stay away from predictions like what you mentioned, because I’m sure one or more will be true and I don’t want to be spoiled.

My prelim theory just from watching the trailers, though, is that it’s a vision ala Luke in Empire Strikes back, and she doesn’t go dark. But it would be cool if she does and Finn saves her from herself.

El Camino releases Oct 11. Are you scared that it will mess up Gilligan and Breaking Bad’s legacy? I’m kinda scared because it’s so hard to pull off a good ending to a critically acclaimed show…which he did already. As much as I want to see more from certain characters, I worry that pessimistic swift will be disappointed.—swift_retribution

Don’t hate me, but I still haven’t watched Breaking Bad. It’s been on my list for years, but our aforementioned TV renaissance and my love of sports has seriously limited the tv I’ve been able to watch.

Would you rather die in a plane crash or a submarine implosion?—WorldBFat

Definitely plane crash. Definitely, definitely plane crash.

The worst way I can think of to die is being stranded in space, likely from my lifelong love of James Bond:

The only thing close to that, in my opinion, is drowning, knowing you’re going to die and being unable to do anything about it. I’m also claustrophobic to a degree as well, so if you ever find me on a submarine, you know there’s bigger issues afoot.

What’s a safe insult word that can be used without being offensive to a group of people? Besides Jerk, Moron, knucklehead, or Nerd. I’m trying to expand my ability to insult without ruining my chances to one day run for public office.—Dbridi

I don’t know about insults, but I’ve recently been introduced to the term “tiny baby tantrum” when a grown adult throws a fit and acts like a jerk. I’ve used it multiple times now, to great affect.

Ever lay down on one side and think “I’ve had too much to drink” then flip to the other side and then have the room start spinning? What’s up with that?!?—JayMPSU

Ha! No, this has never happened to me. The room rarely spins when I’ve been drinking, and it’s only after I’ve gotten up in the morning that I generally feel like death. If I can stay laying down as long as possible, I have a better chance of being human the next morning.