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BSD Mailbag 12.4.20

Welcome to December, and the last few mailbags of the season!

Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers
Throw it on a dime
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Merry Christmas from Cael and NC State coach Pat Popolizio


I have no comment on this, I just wanted to make sure to include it.

I need some positives in my life, what is your favorite Penn State Football win of all time and why? Mine is the 1987 Fiesta Bowl win over Miami for obvious reasons.— wvlion

Aw, man, this is so incredibly hard - and I’m not sure I can nail down a single one. Some of my favorites:

  • 1994 Michigan - in middle school, one of my best friends at the time was the daughter of a Michigan alum. She didn’t really care too much about football, but of course I’m me, and I absolutely did - so when she came over to watch the game, I moved a lot of our basement PSU room decorations up into the living room, which was the only room with cable. Of course, we won that game and I’m sure my rubbing it in her face had nothing to do with it.
  • 2005 Ohio State - after the dark years, a lot of folks thought that Penn State still wasn’t *back* back. This game proved them wrong. I still get chills seeing clips of Troy Smith on his head in the backfield.
  • 2014 UCF - because Ireland, and the redemption of Sam Ficken.
  • 2016 Big Ten Championship - while folks point to the OSU game that year as the big win (not without logic!) I think the championship game is more positive. Because as PSU fans, we are preconditioned to believe that we can’t have good things (a mantra that the next day’s final playoff rankings would reinforce). But for one balmy night in Indiana, all the good things could be ours once again. And we could have hope.

Need help/advice with a problem:

I usually get cleaned up for a PSU game, wear a jersey, wear the same socks, the same cologne, drink out of the same coffee cup, and drink out of the same mug all day. I almost always eat the same snacks… NOTHING changes. We were 0-5.

This weekend I was hungover, tired, didn’t shower before the game, wore the same clothes I had on the day before (no PSU gear at all), didn’t have the coffee cup, the mug, or anything. Nothing was the same…we won.

Do I:

a. Keep doing the same thing I always do because it worked a lot in the past.

b. Do what I did last weekend.

c. Who give a crap, superstitions are stupid and aren’t true.

d. Ohio State sucks.—mrb23

I’m going to throw a poll here to get a definitive BSD community response:


What should mrb23 do in advance of this week’s game?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    Keep doing the same thing he always does because it worked a lot in the past
    (9 votes)
  • 27%
    Do what he did last weekend
    (82 votes)
  • 18%
    Who give a crap, superstitions are stupid and aren’t true
    (54 votes)
  • 51%
    Ohio State sucks
    (153 votes)
298 votes total Vote Now

I know what I’d do...but I’m equal parts overly logical and incredibly sports-superstitious. also Ohio State sucks.

Drink Superstition

Like other superstitions mentioned, I usually drink a good stout sometime Saturday morning before games. This past Saturday I busted out a bottle of Bourbon County 2019 cause the normal Founders Breakfast wasn’t getting it done this year. And wouldn’t you know it they got a W.

So I am pretty sure I still have 2, 2019 bottles left. Do I use them on a lost 2020 season or save them for sometime in the future? I am pretty sure they will be staying on the shelf.—Ironlung05

Much like above, where I alluded to this, I’m firmly in the camp of “it’s only weird if it doesn’t work” - that’s the reason why we did fireball shots before every game in 2016, to great effect - and only stopped after the fireball stopped working in 2017 (sorry, Donagh). Use them now, man - Bourbon County is awesome (the first time I had some was with BSD’s own Nick Blonde in Liberty Craft House circa 2015, and I’ve loved it since). It’s not as if it’s a hardship (unlike the aforementioned fireball) and a strong end to 2020 can lead into a great 2021! Just see 2004, if you don’t believe me.

where’s the game this week? God does 2020 suck! Remember when the networks wanted to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first collegiate football game (Rutgers vs Princeton in 1869) and couldn’t find the location because it was turned into a parking lot? No plaque, no sign, no memorial….it’s not like they have a lot of other football success to celebrate—kingkub

It is on FS1...for now. I don’t remember that, but then again, I don’t pay much attention to Rutgers.¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Give me one good reason why we’re still playing football? None of Penn State’s remaining games can have any effect on any teams’ chances to win the league. Only Michigan State even has a chance to get to .500, and that’s only if they play Ohio State and win. A result that stupider than it is unlikely, and it’s very unlikely. Seriously, what are we doing here?—jesse.

Alas, I cannot! I am with you, and wished we hadn’t ever started this season. We don’t know the long term effects of COVID for those who seemingly are recovered, and is the health of these players and coaches worth it? I’m of the camp that it’s not.

What are the odds CJF has a side deal with Derek Mason, to take over as PSU DC if Pry continues to stumble or leaves? Apparently defense is Mason’s forte, and I’ve seen idle chatter that Pry may be offered a HC role at various places.—PSU_Lions_84

I hadn’t heard this before, but this might actually be a good thing, if it happens? I’ve liked Pry as a person but have had complaints with his defense for a few years now—so often, when we’d lose something like 42-32, folks would blame Ricky Rahne in 2018. But for me, is a game in which we gave up over 40 points really on the offense? I’m super intrigued by this thought, and I’d be on board if this is how it goes. That probably means it’s never happening.

UCF QB McKenzie Milton is in the portal; Tremendous 3-year starter credentials, but hasn’t played since 2018 due to a gruesome knee injury. (He is cleared to play this year.)

Milton was the UCF QB in 2017 when they went undefeated (including a bowl win over Auburn) — which got Scott Frost the Nebraska job. He was 10-0 during 2018 before the injury.

Career stats:

33 games, 27-6 (all 6 losses during true FR year)

8,683 yds passing, 61.8%, 8.5 YPA, 72 TD, 22 INT

1,078 yds rushing, 3.8 YPC, 20 TD

How many BSD posters will have to call their doctors for a 4-hour boner?—bveo12

Considering so many folks here think that any QB, even Levis (who we’ve seen) and the freshman (who we haven’t) are better options right now than Clifford, I’m sure there will be folks who look at the two comments I combined into the above question and now have a true love for this quarterback they’d never heard of before - or, at least before Koerbler’s piece this morning.

Favorite player from a bygone era that couldn’t play the same way today? How about Alan Zemaitis or Shawn Mayer…those dudes could hit someone into next week but they would be ejected for targeting in today’s game—kingkub

I’d say all the DBs from the 1986 championship team, like Ray Isom and Duffy Cobbs. It’s well known that the Miami receivers were surprised at how hard those defensive backs hit, and shied away from contact after a few rough tackles. Especially with how refs seem to favor teams that a) are supposed to be great and/or elite, and b) are not Penn State, I am sure that nowadays those hits would be flagged. Again and again.

Thank you Trace McSorley!!! That 70yard TD pass to Brown won fantasy for me this week. That man is still giving me joy. I think he may have taken the #2 QB spot also.—EagleLionSly

As not a Steelers or Ravens fan, this was glorious to watch:

Also, obligatory.

What is your preferred new nickname for the Washington Football Team? My vote goes for Red Wolves, but I really don’t care. I am interested in knowing what a fan of the Football Team thinks. I think most us agree that it was time to retire the Redskins name. Let’s not allow this question to became a thread about politics.—Gerry Dincher

I just like the Washington Football Team, or Washington Football Club. I have a gold t-shirt that’s about ten years old that just says “Washington Football”, so I was clearly ahead of the game here.

Of course, Dan Snyder’s still running things, so look for them to change the team’s name every few years or so, just to get fans to by new merch.

What are acceptable numbers in your email inbox of a)messages and b)unread messages?—Dbridi

  1. Unlimited
  2. Zero (I actually get small panic attacks in meetings when folks accidentally share their inboxes and I see thousands of unread messages...I mean, C’MON!!)

It seems like a lot of people this year skipped the turkey on Thanksgiving for something easier and something they liked better. If you had the chance to replace turkey with a protein/dish of your choosing, what would it be?—Succss With Honor Always

I like turkey not so much for the turkey itself, but the gravy and cranberry sauce and stuffing that I eat the turkey with. So I’m not sure I would skip it myself, but turkey on its own is always pretty low on my list of preferred protein sources. If we’re talking straight meat (sounds like my friend’s last date!), then I’d take my favorites of brisket, pulled pork, flank steak, roast duck, or a good sirloin over it. Even a good roast.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving leftover or variation from a leftover. I have two, one being potato cakes and the other being turkey & waffles smothered in gravy. I think I’m going to try a new idea, i though of for Christmas leftovers. Take the leftover sweet potatoes, add egg and cinnamon and make sweet potato cakes. Then sprinkle them with powdered sugar & make them for breakfast. (sound good?)—EagleLionSly

My favorite is typically the stuffing, just because I so rarely have it outside of thanksgiving - but that clearly pales in comparison to that suggestion you had that you’re going to make. Sounds pretty amazing, and I hope you report back to us how they tasted!

What’s your favorite line from the Grinch stole Christmas song? “Stink, Stank, Stunk” for me. I seem to say it out loud or to myself every time.—Dbridi

My favorite has got to be “You nauseate me, Mr. Grinch, with a nauseous, super naus!” Because not only do I have a fear of vomiting, but it’s simply astounding (though unsurprising) that Dr. Seuss was able to use both “nauseate” and “nauseous” in the same song - and it actually fits perfectly. What a gem.

What’s the deal with steel-cut oatmeal? I see this on packaging and on menus all the time. Isn’t all oatmeal cut with steel? If not, what else would one use to cut oatmeal? Why call out the fact that it is cut with steel? Does the oatmeal taste better than if it was cut with something else?—Scoop Dawg

The difference between steel cut oatmeal and “regular” oatmeal, aside from the way it’s made/cut (and I’m not doing homework tonight in looking up what that difference is), is that the grains of oats in steel cut oatmeal are significantly bigger. They stay a little firm, not exactly crunchy, and you do have to fully chew them before you swallow - while a good “traditional” oatmeal, if you’re eating anything but an instant version, it better when it’s pretty darn smooth. I like both versions (astounding when you consider that a decade ago I hated oatmeal), it just depends what they’re being served with.

What’s the strangest thing in your Refrigerator?—Dbridi

The only odd, non-food things I have in my fridge right now is an eye mask and a wine chiller/decanter. Seemingly not unrelated things.

Just wondering if there is a pattern, or reason, or superstition, guiding these posting dates and times?

Mailbag Posting Dates/Times:

  • 10/19/20, Monday – 9:41 AM (Indiana)
  • 10/27/20, Tuesday – 1:00 AM (tO$U)
  • 11/02/20, Monday – 8:59 AM (Marygers)
  • 11/09/20, Monday – 4:27 PM (Nebby)
  • 11/17/20, Tuesday – 9:32 AM (Iowa)
  • 11/23/20, Monday – 3:23 PM (Michigan)
  • 11/30/20, Monday – 3:00 PM (Rutger)—Smee

I appreciate all of the extra credit you’re giving me, and I wish it was coordinated! It just happens to be when I remember that, welp, I really need to get the mailbag questions fanpost up sometime...

Will Black Shoe Diaries be getting the terrible new commenting system that SB Nation is running on the NFL fan blogs? It really is terrible. Has the staff at BSD been given any guidance or choice in this matter? Is the system ever going to get better? Have I said how terrible it is? It’s the worst. Why are they messing with something that works? The commenting system is what make SB Nation what it is.—Gerry Dincher

I’m not privy to those types of discussions within SBN before, but let’s put it this way: I’d be super surprised if we don’t eventually switch to a different commenting system. And as with all changes to the BSD platform and commenting systems of yore, I’m sure it will be met with open hostility amongst the community, a lot of complaining (not all unfounded), and then eventual begrudging acceptance. Then years down the road it’ll become beloved.

In honor of Rutgers week, do you have a walk of shame story?

I borrowed my father-in-laws brand new Kubota side by side about 15 years ago to cut wood. Parked it on what I thought was a flat area and did not set the parking brake. Cut wood for about a half hour and was getting ready to load up the wood when I turned around and the Kubota was gone. My first thought was my father-in-law needed it for an emergency and would bring it back. I then looked down the hill and my heart felt like it was in my balls. The $12,000 vehicle was wrapped around a loan tree about 200 yards down the hill. I began my walk of shame down the hill to the barn to plead my stupidity. Sweat was pouring down my face and my mouth was desert dry when I told him what happened. Thank goodness insurance covers stupidity. Now it is just a story that gets told over and over by the family.—bva-psu

I...don’t think I do? Maybe it’s because I do too many stupid acts of unintentional self-harm that nothing sticks out, and since it’s an acception facet of my personality, maybe I just don’t feel shame on these things anymore?. And no one around me is surprised when it happens, which probably says a lot too. But I did love reading all of the stories on the fanpost, so I’d like nothing more than the community posting more of these tales in the comment section on this post!