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BSD Mailbag 12.18.20

Champions week is here! Let’s answer your questions.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

What is the big ten’s rationale for playing meaningless games during a pandemic this final week?—PhillyLion

Probably nothing more or less than money. I’d like to think that the players who pushed to play during the few months that the Big Ten season was cancelled would have swayed the conference, but I have a hard time believing they do anything because student-athletes want them to. It’s the cynic in me, bringing down to the monetary level at all times.

what were the odds that we would be able to get 9 or 10 games in this season? gotta be pretty long. 2 of the “Champions Week” games have already been cancelled(Purdue/Indiana and Michigan/Iowa), is Michigan State at Maryland Saturday night the next? Why would MSU pay for the flight, hotel rooms, meals, etc for a 2-5 team to face a 2-3 team?—kingkub

Pretty good, I think, from the Penn State side, since PSU has taken the pandemic seriously from the beginning, and by all accounts gone above and beyond even the commonwealth’s orders (which were stricter than most other states’ in the conference).

But you can only control that which is in your control, right? And the Penn State program can put all of the safeguards and precautions into place for their own players, but can’t control what the other team does. And that’s where the odds gets wonky for me – because not only did PSU not have any outbreaks that caused them to cancel games, but neither did any of their opponents in the week leading up to the games (a few had them after, either immediately after or later on in the season). The odds of that happening, imo, are much smaller.

Which number will be higher on Saturday?

of red zone points we score

of QB runs we attempt in the whole game—vern05

The number of points we score. Especially if you’re looking at QB runs that were a designed play call, vs a broken play or good downfield coverage that required the quarterback to break the pocket and try to scramble – that’s not an attempt, in my opinion, but rather (in many cases) a good decision being made.

But, yeah, our offense won’t be the problem in this game in terms of points – it will be special teams, and ball control. We’ll likely have worse field position than the Illini all game, but can march down the field as we’ve shown all season. It’s just the last few weeks where we’ve done better in the redzone, both in touchdowns scored and actual points on the board (ie, settling for field goals).

Nick Saban has an impressive 5 National Championships at Alabama (4 unanimous, 1 split)

Two of those were absolute gifts that he should not have had (2009, 2017). Still, 3 undisputed national championships is beyond impressive. Anyway, he’s 69. Is he going to be around for another 15 years? If not, how long until he retires and does that finally allow for a shift back to a more evenly distributed national championship field?—psuphysicist

I doubt he’ll be around for 15 more years, but even if he retires sooner rather than later, I doubt there’ll be more parity until the playoffs are expanded. Right now, there’s a block of six teams that have even won a single game in the playoffs (Bama, OSU, Georgia, LSU, Clemson, & Oregon) – and this year the odds are good that that streak continues (Notre Dame with a long shot at winning a game). For the best players out of high school, if they want to compete for championships, why would you choose a school other than those six? If the ring is worth more, riding the pine for two years and starting the third could get you rings *and* a good shot at the next level, despite getting more playing time and practice slots at a very good but not elite school.

It’s an undisputed fact that more schools were in contention for titles prior to the four-team playoff was introduced – because seven different teams won the BCS national title in the decade before the CFP came into fruition, as opposed to the four that have won since.

Fluky things happen in college football, like Florida’s loss last week that dropped them out of the playoff discussion, and Auburn’s Iron Bowl win in 2013. If the playoff is expanded (even to just eight teams), there will be a larger pool of teams that a) could win a single playoff game, and b) could knock off a “big dog”, playing well at the end of the season, on a run to win it all. This would mean that the highly touted players would have a larger pool of schools to choose from if their goal was to win a title, because more schools would have viable paths towards that goal – and thus these players would factor in depth charts and more playing time at other schools, much more than they do now.

Do you think the College Playoff Committee would be justified in snubbing tOSU because of B1G’s arrogance?

As much fun as we poke at Nebraska for their antics during the shut down. Do you think the committee might be just as displeased about the B1G antics and trying to cancel college football this year? The B1G shut down & was arrogant enough to think that other conferences would follow suite, but instead pissed other conferences. What say you?—EagleLionSly

Before last week’s Florida loss to LSU, I would have said, yes, it would have been justified to take Florida over OSU. But now, I just don’t see it – even if OSU loses, there’s not going to be a team with fewer losses that deserves it more. The best team in the Big 12 (ISU) has two losses – you can’t choose them over one-loss Ohio State. And if you have two teams with one loss, you’re not going to pick one from the same conference as undefeated team (ie, picking Texas A&M, who didn’t win their division over Alabama).

I’m just rooting for Clemson over Notre Dame this weekend, and then for Ohio State and Alabama to win their first games in the playoff (over the two ACC squads). Probably not a popular opinion on this blog, but there it is.

How many losses per year, for how many years, by anOSU will it take for the media, CFP and B1G committees, et al. to stop kowtowing to them? (Apologies if “kowtowing” is viewed as cultural appropriation.)—PSU_Lions_84

I’m not sure this would ever happen. Just look at how the media, CFP, and the conference still bend over backwards for Michigan – they haven’t won the division since we got divisions, but every year, preseason, it’s all about how they’re back and are a true on-field rival to Ohio State. It hasn’t been true in over a decade, yet that narrative exists across the board.

Another good example of this is Texas – obviously not in the Big Ten, but the media, CFP, and their own conference do the same, despite nosediving in terms of on-field performance once they convinced Mack Brown to go. Yet, every year, there’s talk that they’re back. Are they? Are they, really?

Was KJ’s “I scored twooooooo” the cutest thing from Sunday? Love that our guys balled out and have good hearts to match.—PhillyLion

In case you missed it, here it is:

And yes, it was stinking adorable. We circulated it amongst some of my tailgating best friends group.

Did you know that the Land Grant Trophy had a twitter account?—LarzLion

I did! Why didn’t you?

Any news on the wrasslin’ front regarding a season?—mbailey71

No schedule yet, but it looks like there *will* be a season. It won’t start until after the new year, and likely (for Big Ten teams anyway), there won’t be any out of conference duals (sound familiar?). But in the meantime, there’s gonna be an event on the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club’s Rofkin account on December 22nd that should whet your appetite (can’t wait to see RBY dominate).

Who is on your PSU wrestling Mount Rushmore?

It’s extremely difficult to narrow it down to 4 people. PSU has 4 three time NCAA champions, all with 3 career losses: Ruth (136-3), Zain (126-3), Nolf (117-3), and Bo (120-3). Five years ago I couldn’t imagine David Taylor (also 3 career losses!) not making this list, but I’m not sure he makes the cut! That’s madness! And I didn’t even mention Hall, Cenzo, Sonny Abe, Andy Matter, All-American James English, Quentin Wright, Phil Davis, or Kerry McCoy.—kavija66

Aw, man, I’m not sure this is even possible! Our fellow matheads on this site even had difficulty coming up with *two* all-decade teams.

That being said, though, I’m not sure you could leave off David Taylor, just because without him following Cael to Happy Valley, we might not be the prestigious destination for wrestlers that we are today.

Is Josh Gibson the greatest MAJOR League Baseball player of all time?—IronCityLion

I am no baseball historian, so I don’t have a frame of reference prior to really the mid-1990s, so I’m not equipped to really answer this question. I will say, though, that it’s about damn time that MLB officially recognized the Negro leagues as major league baseball, and it’s undisputed that Gibson has been one of the best to ever play the game.

What should be the name of the Cleveland Baseball Club? “Cleveland Spiders” has a nice ring to it—Liongame

I’m not sure I’m creative enough to come up with a truly great team name, but I do really like EagleLionSly’s suggestion of “Cleveland Rocks”.

And as much as I liked psuphysicist’s comment too, the Steamers’ ain’t gonna happen.

Which celebrity height most surprises you?—Liongame

I’m not really surprised by much, because it’s pretty well-known how the camera is able to distort perceptions and thus make people and objects appear larger or smaller depending on the needed perspective – but I do have to say that I really thought the Rock was taller than he is (6’2” is tall, but not gargantuan, and he just seems so much bigger than everyone) and that Nicole Kidman wasn’t as tall as she is (because I assume Tom Cruise is just so short, and she didn’t seem four or five inches taller than him when they were together – probably lifts in his shoes).

is there a more reviled holiday item than the fruitcake? nobody is drinking egg nog in July but people don’t despise it like fruitcake. cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving is welcomed with open arms. why the hate toward fruitcake?—kingkub

I think it has a lot to do with who makes the fruitcakes that folks are eating. Fruit cake seems really easy to mess up, and is only as good as the ingredients in it – so if one thing goes wrong, or the maker isn’t a good baker, it can go VERY wrong and turn someone against fruitcake for life. That’s not the same as egg nog or cranberry sauce – with the latter especially being really difficult to mess up, even for the most basic of cooks.

Hot Stove question . . . We have an electric stove with the double burners. In my household, there is an ongoing dispute about how to heat things up the fastest. While using a small pot, your choices are using the single burner or the double burner. The single burner provides total coverage contact with the pot. The double burner heats outside the surface area of the pot.

Which heats up faster, the single burner or the double burner?—Dbridi

As someone who also has an electric stove with the double burners, I have tried both and seen literally no difference. I’ve started to just do the single burner for a small pot because I also am a walking disaster and the probability of burning myself on the stove if the pot doesn’t cover the entire hot area is not insignificant.

Who was your favorite character on The West Wing? I vote Margaret Hooper. “MAR-GRIT!”—Smee

I actually have never seen the West Wing. I know, I know…tell me how much I’m missing in the comments.

I know this is about 7 years late - Is the ‘The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug’ the worst movie ever produced in the history of mankind? How could a movie with this budget be so freakin’ bad? and after Peter Jackson did a pretty good job with LotR. Watched it last night, it is comically bad. Not sure if being baked had anything to do with it—PSU1979dude

I don’t think the Hobbit 2 is that *bad*, per se, but more very, very unnecessary. Again, it’s all about money, and the second Hobbit movie seems all filler and no substance – made solely because they wanted a trilogy rather than two movies. And that’s fine, I guess, because it is a very pretty movie, but it’s wholly unnecessary in the scheme of things.

Can we make it illegal to feature voice commands for connected devices in commercials without an immediate cancel command? I’m so tired of commercials setting off various devices, but drunk me would suffer greatly without being able to rely on voice commands.—Succss With Honor Always

Ugh, SAME. I’m also tired of telling Alexa something while I am on a zoom call, and others’ Alexas responding. First world problems.

What’s something that you were wrong about and fought for and made it even worse for yourself? A hill you died on and were very very wrong about.

I thought the middle finger always meant “shove this up your ass” – that seemed like a terrible thing. Other people have said it means “F you” – which seems much less terrible. Long story short, on a long car ride this came up and we ended up calling several people at my request whom I assumed would support my theory. I assumed wrongly, and apparently I am the only person in the world with this “ass” theory. The rest of the car enjoyed my repeated failure as we called person after person who soundly rejected my theory. Hilarity ensued.—Dbridi

My memory’s not the best, but I can’t think of anything like this (your story is one for the ages, and yes, you were very much wrong). The fights over whether I’m wrong or not tend to be over more subjective things, or things that can’t be proven (like being told that I said the wrong name or pronunciation, when I know for 100% certainty that I did not). I’m open to being wrong most of the time, and I’ll likely google provable facts if I’m challenged on them, and admit to my misperception if I am wrong.

But I’m super curious about the community’s wrongness – please leave your own experiences in the comments!

Would you rather be attacked by a nine month old sized Godzilla or a Godzilla sized nine month old?—Gerry Dincher

Definitely the former. It reminds me of the Buffy season four Halloween episode (“Fear, Itself”) – almost anything (Chucky or gremlin-excepted) is going to be easier to subdue the smaller it is. Even a baby at forty feet tall is terrifying.

Is there anyone else who likes to go for a drive in the snow? I have a 2002 Mitsubishi Montero Limited and it is a great 4WD vehicle. I enjoy getting out in the snow and challenging the drifts….—BMAN13

I don’t like to drive in the snow, but I absolutely love walking in the snow. It feels so peaceful, serene, and clean – like a new beginning. Most of the time gone in a few hours or days (like Wednesday’s snow, which was shoved aside by sleet and freezing rain that night in the DC area)…but for a few hours, it’s perfection.

Are Duluth Trading Company clothes that tough and that soft at the same time?—Dbridi

I’ve never tried them but from the comments on the original questions post, it sounds like I should!