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BSD Mailbag 10.1.21

September’s over, onto October!

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I have no reason for this photo choice other than it makes me happy.
Heather Weikel | Black Shoe Diaries

I’m equally surprised it’s already October, and also wondering what took so long. We’ve got the end of the early home football stretch upon us, so let’s get into your Qs!

Do you think our players are looking for revenge this week? I mean, I don’t really remember the Indiani game last year. All I know is that we lost.— Dinsdale Piranha

Not revenge, per se. More like a form of retribution; for most of the game, PSU outplayed Indiana and ultimately it didn’t matter, as the game goes down as a loss. I think the team learned a lot from that start to the season, though, and likely isn’t where they are today if that had gone more favorably.

So far, it seems that the Penn State squad of 2021 is one of the closest actual *teams* that we’ve seen in a bit, and I have no doubt that the adversity they faced to start last year’s wonky season is a big part of that. I’m not so sure they are 4-0 and a currently-ranked top five squad if last year had gone differently.

I am expecting the team to come out on Saturday night and show why last year was more fluky than the ones that preceded it, or this season.

Is the correct pronunciation In-din´-i-a or in-din-i´-a?—PSUGuru

I don’t believe we ever got a firm answer on the phonetics involved in this misspelling, but I’m leaning towards the former. It just sounds more correct to me.

Will IUP change their name to Indinia University of PA?—LarzLion

I certainly hope not, because this might mean they become the ONLY true Indiana University and thus can drop the “of Pennsylvania” portion of their name!

what is the best thing to ever come from Indiana? What is the most Indinia thing ever?—afields16

While the musical lover in me is close to putting Cole Porter at the top of the list, I’m going to have to go with Larry Bird as the best thing to come from Indiana (because while he was raised there, Abraham Lincoln was technically born in Kentucky).

The most Indinia thing ever? Probably the fact that the state didn’t fully get on Daylight Savings Time until 2006. I’m not a huge fan of Daylight Savings Time (or, to be more accurate, I’m a convert to permanent DST rather than a switch in November and March) but the fact that the state didn’t adopt it until this century, becoming the 48th state to do so, seems very Indinia to me.

What exactly is the national perception of James Franklin? A couple weeks ago, during the Franklin to USC craze, I was watching Dan Patrick and a panel of “experts” and Patrick says “Franklin has been,… pause, shrug,….prrreeetttyyy successful at Penn. St. I’m screaming at him…”WHAT DO YOU MEAN…PRETTY SUCCESSFUL”—LionfanAllan

I don’t know, and I’m not so sure I care. As with so much nowadays, I think folks probably liked or hated CJF prior to his getting the head coaching job at Penn State, and whatever they thought was confirmed in the past eight years. So, if they liked him before? They probably still do. If they thought he was a snake oily recruiting-only coach? They probably still feel the same. The cognitive bias that still gets me, though, is the group of folks who still like to dismiss what he did at Vanderbilt as not very impressive.

In case you didn’t know, since he left, Vandy has regressed HARD to their mean, and it’s not very pretty. It just goes to show what a remarkable job he did while there, like him or hate him.

What do you believe CJF thinks of Dave Jones? Exhibit A What do other beat writers think of him?—Parepidemos

It probably doesn’t matter, because Dave Jones likes Dave Jones enough for all of us! I’m not a beat writer, nor would I ever strive to be (I like wearing my fandom on my sleeve, thank you very much) but I have to say, Jones’ ability to make every story about himself is quite remarkable.

How many more times will Clifford throw for 400 yards in just 3 quarters of play this season?—BMAN13

It depends on how opposing defenses decide to line up against an offense just now coming into its own. So far this season, it appears that defensive coordinators have more or less lined up to stop the run, daring Cliff to beat them through the air – not a horrible decision based on his stats in 2020 – but this has burned them, to the tune of a record-setting year so far for the PSU signal-caller. If opposing coordinators decide to rethink that strategy, it could open up the run game (and thus the RPO) but limit the yardage Cliff is responsible for through the air.

I’m gonna say, this won’t be his last 400 yard game, and there will likely be more than one – but only the Illinois game will see Clifford get those stats in three quarters.

Was going to ask your take on the issues of the running game. But there was a whole article on that already. (I’ll still take your opinion should you decide to share it).

Instead I’ll ask this. Last game a Nova player was carted off the field unmoving, far as anyone in the stands could see. Why start clapping as soon as he is lifted from the field to be moved to the cart? Why start clapping again when the cart starts moving towards the tunnel? At that point, no one there had any idea he was OK. It’s not like he gave a thumbs up or anything. Didn’t feel right.

PS was very relieved it was “just” a concussion and he was moving before he left the stadium. Hope he’s doing better.—JayMPSU

My take is that the run game is obviously a concern – but it’s probably not as big a concern as many make it out to be, just by the nature of offenses in the game of college football these days. And we’re scoring points and getting yardage, which is what you want offenses to do – while I’d like to be able to get five yards a pop on the ground to ice a game, that’s not what Yurcich is about and I’m along for the ride.

With regards to your main question, I was there, and I clapped. I interpret it more that the fans (myself included) in the stadium simply wanted to show Tyler Will (the Villanova player who went down) that we were hoping for the best for him, and all of us wanted to see him get better, whatever the ultimate injury was. There’s not really a way for us to do that except for clapping – to show our support, and that his health is more important than the game that was being played.

And as of now, Will’s doing well at home.

Which QB stats do you prefer:

QB 1: 86 of 120 for 1158 yds, 71.7% comp 8 TDs 2 Int playing 4 games, 2 ranked opponents

QB 2: 66 of 101 for 902 yds, 65.3% comp 7 TDs 5 int playing no ranked opponents in 4 games—BMAN13

I wish Levis nothing but the best, but as CJF said, Sean Clifford’s my quarterback. QB1 all day, baby!

Has the stadium announcer had his moments every game thus far, or was he caught up in the general whiteout let-down malaise that seemed to have affected everyone?

Just off the top…

· No “Please stand for the national anthem”, then the obvious “testing” a bit later.

· Penn State interception/fumble recovery (I don’t recall myself at this point) for a touchdown!! Yadda, yadda yadda!!!” Dude, are you not watching what’s going on down on the field?!

· To be honest...” Really?!? Dude, yes, that just came out of your mouth. —Smee

I honestly (badumtiss) started seeing some, ahem, inconsistencies with him back in 2018/2019. He was calling things the wrong downs, or naming the wrong player. It hasn’t seemingly gotten better this season – I know it’s a super tough job and I don’t envy the pressure he’s probably under, but I feel like he was on point for so many years that the decline recently is glaring.

Though I don’t think the national anthem piece from this past week was his fault, as it seemed as though the mic system completely went out – which is why there was a testing call after the anthem was done. I know they had issues with the head ref’s mics the first week as well.

If cost were not an issue, how would you plan a White-Out visit? I’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing the White-Out and consider it a bucket list item, thereby allowing it to qualify for a higher expense. How can one get highest-quality seats and accommodations for a pretty much one-time visit?—48-14

This is a difficult one for me, because in so many ways I’m quite spoiled – I’ve been to all the white outs (with crowds) for the last 10+ years, and some sporadically before then. So it’s hard for me to divorce myself from the actual great experiences, and think about what would happen if money wasn’t an issue.

It’s easy to say that, if money truly wasn’t an issue, you should sit in a box at the Beav, but honestly if you haven’t been to a white out, you shouldn’t be so out of the glory of the crowd for your first experience. So I’d get tickets actually out in the crowd, close to the student section if you can so that you can feel the full brunt of their enthusiasm.

I would get rooms at the Nittany Lion Inn, if it’s allowing rooms, or the Penn Stater so that you can be close to getting back to your hotel if it’s a night game, and hit up stub hub or another service to get a parking pass (or two) close to the stadium – this year, our normal spots fell thru due to the aftermath of the pandemic so we picked up two spots in the formerly-red lot for the white out, and let me tell you, the location and ease of getting in was worth the money. If you don’t want to run your own tailgate (and I don’t blame you, they take a lot of planning and know-how to do them right), if you get a numbered spot you can roll in at any time and wander near the stadium. I’m sure you’ll find any number of hosts willing to feed and water you (we always take in strays), and it’s a way to make friends and really soak in the atmosphere.

Is punting, in fact, winning? Is winning in this sense abstract? Or tangible?—afields16

I’m going to punt on this question and say that the winning is both abstract AND tangible, especially when you have a punter like Jordan Stout on your squad.

So, I’m traveling up from Alabama for the Rutgers game in November.

Its going to be my teenage son’s first big time college FB game. I’ve got game tickets, and a room reserved. The only thing left is parking. Why does PSU have to make parking so difficult? So, let me see if I got things right — single game parking passes are only available for lots 11 & 25. And to get those in advance, I have to get them through ticketmaster? But there’s also parking decks on campus we can park in (we’re not bringing tailgate gear) — those don’t need to be purchased in advance? Do those parking decks tend to fill up fast on game day? I guess my question is, what’s our best parking option, coming up from our hotel in Chambersburg? Pre-pay lot 11 or 25, or pay as we go on one of the campus parking decks?—Precious Roy

I don’t think you have to get the parking through ticketmaster – you should be able to call up Penn State (at 1800Nittany) to get parking mailed to you. I’d do it now, though, just in case.

You can also park day-of in any of the parking decks on campus, as you mentioned, and while those aren’t bad, the atmosphere is really different, just getting in and getting out without tailgating. And depending on the weather, and the status of those opponents closer to the games, if you plan on parking in the decks you might have to get there earlier than you’d otherwise want to, just to get a space.

I’d prepay in one of the lots, and use the deck as a backup if for some reason the lots don’t work out. But I’m always on #teamtailgate now.

Was looking ahead to the 2023 schedule, Meatchicken isn’t until Nov. 4th. Would the first game WVU Sept. 2nd be too soon for a Whiteout?—EagleLionSly

Not at all! And who’s to say that there needs to be only one white out in a season? Why can’t we do both, like we are this season?

When you watch non-PSU college games between teams you don’t care about, do you actively pick a side and then root for that team, abstain from picking a side and just enjoy the game, or are you a normal person and go in telling yourself you “don’t care” but then use some abstract reason like a bad penalty or the announcers talking about one side too much and almost subconsciously pick a team based off it?—skarocksoi

Most of the time, I do have some sort of preconceived idea of who I’m going to root for – like this past weekend, when I actively rooted for NC State. There are those off-games, though, when I’m rooting for the meteor; in those games, I’ll basically figure out which team I ultimately want to win based on which team I vocally cheer for, inadvertently. In those situations, though, it can be fluid and the team I’m rooting for at the beginning may be different than at the end, when a lot of the time, I just want chaos to reign.

I’ve come up with a theory this morning...The transfer portal will actually create more parity in CFB…

Yes the big boys will get guys to fill areas of need. At the same time, a lot of talented second string guys who don’t want to wait their turn will leave the big boys to get playing time elsewhere. We’ve seen this with QBs where nobody has an experienced backup anymore. It will happen with other positions, too. Thoughts?—Pasadena’95

I think this makes a lot of sense. There will still be schools like Alabama, stockpiling talent where a player might start for one year before being drafted high, but for the vast majority of other schools, if a player gets beat out as a starter they will likely think their draft stock would be higher if they transfer to a different school. And many of these players aren’t necessarily wrong – look at Justin Fields, the now (unfortunate) starter for the Chicago Bears who transferred to OSU after being beat out at UGA by now-Buffalo Bill Jake Fromm. Or even the aforementioned Levis, who is doing well in Kentucky after his transfer from PSU.

In honor of the O$U LB who quit mid Akron, in spectacular form I might add, have you, or have you ever seen anyone you work with quit a job in that manner while torching the place on their way out the door?*

I watched a guy get up in the middle of a meeting, didn’t say a word until someone asked where he was going. “Home. You can fuck right off with this place!” was his response. I didn’t know very well, he’d been around a while and it was a fairly mundane meeting about a very minor procedural change eliminating doing something twice. AFAIK, nobody ever got a reason why or what triggered him.

*- Restaurants/ Hospitality industry doesn’t count. My time working in bars/managing etc I could tell you 100’s of stories like this.—mbailey71

I worked in retail and the food industry for many years, and also could tell those stories – so yea, I think that I can’t bring those up because it just seems unfair (honestly, not necessarily blaming a lot of those employees, as retail/food industry work sucks a huge chunk of the time, as do most jobs where you work with the general public). Since I transitioned out of that work, though, I don’t really have any stories like that.

I would love to hear more stories like the one you told above, though – I find them incredibly fascinating. There are times where I’d like to have done the same thing but for whatever reason, just haven’t, so I like to live vicariously through the folks who have zero fucks left to give.

Urban Meyer: What is the over/under on number of weeks until his heart condition flairs up?—Paebr332

Frankly, with the 0-3 Jags start and the rumors of strife within the locker room, I’m a little bit shocked it hasn’t happened already.

Wrestling invoices are out. Besides the BJC showdown vs O$U, what match are you most excited about this year?—kingkub

I’m excited to go to College Park and seeing the dual with Maryland, though I know that’s a boring answer. On paper, of course, the Iowa dual will be the most interesting – but I’d like to see how the dual at UPenn shapes up, since Mark Hall is now part of their coaching staff.

What are your thoughts on the abominable unis the Boston Red Sox have worn a few times? They looked like something a 14U travel baseball team would put together if you left the kids in charge. Some teams have such an iconic look they should never be monkied with: Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Cardinals, among others. The Brewers and Astros change their logos and color schemes every three years it seems, but whatever.—Scoop Dawg

I love a good alternate uni for teams that play more than 15 games a year, but the Red Sox alternates this season were definitely NOT it (and hard agree on your characterization). I actually visited Fenway for the first time this summer, to see my dude Kyle Schwarber make his Sox debut and help destroy the Os, and was very glad they went with their more normal uniforms in that game.

I do not like the Astros uniforms so IDGAF what they do with theirs (probably because I simply can’t stand that franchise anyway), but are the Dodgers uniforms really as iconic as the ones you mentioned? I feel like they’re definitely not on the level of the Yankees, or the Sox, or even the Cards (as much as my 2015-fan self is loathe to admit). But maybe that’s because I didn’t really care about the Dodgers much one way or the other until Scherzer and Trea Turner got traded there this season.

Obligatory opportunity to slip this video in here:

The Ohio State red uniforms remind me of Swedish Fish. Which Swedish Fish flavor is best?

I am partial to the classic red.

Which Gummy Bear is best?

Red again.

Which popsicle color is best?

I am going with purple.

How about bubble gum? Hopefully you’re old enough to remember when you could get sugar loaded bubble gum at the supermarket checkout or gas station. They’re harder and harder to find.

My favorite was blueberry.—Gerry Dincher

This comparison is also apt. And I’m not surprised it led you down a little bit of a spiral, so here it goes: Agreed on classic red Swedish fish, and I prefer the clear/white gummy bears (provided the green ones are apple instead of lime, which in terms of candy changes is one of society’s greatest ills). For popsicles, I think I like orange the best – which is weird, because I find orange to be one of the most boring flavors in everything else. Unless we’re talking the popsicles with the ice cream in the middle of the popsicle, in which case I’m with you on the purple.

I actually don’t chew bubble gum because I have lockjaw, but my favorite gum always was teaberry, even though it loses its flavor so quickly. The first few chews of it couldn’t be beat, though.

Speaking of uniforms, I see many players with hyphenated names on their jerseys. What happens when Mary Smith-Jones marries John Brown-White? Do their kids become Bobby Smith-Jones-Brown-White? Given the length of some current hyphenated names, I can see the name filling the place where the number would normally go . . .—PSU_Lions_84

I had a friend at Penn State whose parents each had hyphenated last names, and her name was also hyphenated – but with one of each of her parents’. I think that’s an easy answer to this question, though not as interesting an answer as you’d probably like.

PA Amish vs. Indiana Amish... Who wins in a fight to the death?—LBU_409er

PA all the way. They’ve got Harrison Ford, after all.

if it’s a now monthly magazine, can it still be called Entertainment Weekly?—kingkub

I’ve been a subscriber for almost 20 years now, and when I got my most recent issue in the mail, this was the exact same thought I had. And honestly, if your website is anyway, why not just call your magazine the acronym? Because EW is funnier too.

Which movie are you more excited for? Dune or The Many Saints of Newark?—Succss With Honor Always

Of those two, it’s definitely Dune. Though I’m a diehard Bond fan, so No Time To Die is definitely the movie that I’m most looking forward to over the coming months (along with the Eternals, because I’m interested to see what Chloe Zhao does with a Marvel movie).

You ever get unsolicited emails/Amazon/Facebook web ads for something you verbalized? sitting in the stadium on Saturday, friends say their daughter is thinking of becoming a dentist and is looking at Pitt (they are from the Pitts area). I mentioned that it is a great dental school……as God is my witness, I get an email from Pitt on my phone a minute later….I have never gone to their website, had any interest in Pitt, signed up anywhere….but there it is!

Wife has talked to kids about sneakers, clothes, books, etc and those web ads have shown up on Amazon and Facebook (hers, not mine). We don’t have an Echo in the house….I also don’t have Siri set to listen anytime….coincidence?—kingkub

I think we all should know by now that this is far from a coincidence, right? Just because you have Siri set to not listen doesn’t mean the phone isn’t listening. It’s well documented that all of our electronic devices, even when set to off or to not track, are doing some modicum of monitoring our behavior and speech.

Which is why it’s so silly to me for folks who own smart phones that they take with them everywhere, and use to check in via Facebook, get up in arms about supposed government tracking. You’re doing all the tracking yourself, by the convenient device in your pocket, that it’s far easier for anyone to surveil you nowadays than it ever was in the past, government agency or more innocent retailer who just wants to sell you some glittery penn state themed merchandise (yes, that’s the brunt of my targeted ads).

My car is toward the end of its lifespan, and now I’m trying to convince my wife that a Hellcat Charger would be a good buy. It’s 0 percent APR! I’d be dumb NOT to, right? Plus it’s 4 door so I can fit the kids’ car seats in no issue. Help me out.—GSAPS

Sure, why not? This seems completely logical to me. With the four doors, I don’t see any excuse why this wouldn’t be the perfect next model car for you. Just tell your wife that the good folks at BSD said it was a good idea.

Do you think Matthew McConaughey really drinks Turkey 101 neat?—Smee

I mean, he probably has at least once in his life, right? But I’d be legit shocked if it was his go-to. He’s too Hollywood for that right now.

Is dry aging meat worth it? Thinking of picking it up as a hobby. I have a mini fridge I could convert to a dry ager. But even without having to buy any equipment, the cost of a subprimal cut to age is expensive and that’s a lot of meat to have to make in a short order. On the plus side, it could also be used for making charcuterie meats.—Succss With Honor Always

I have never dry-aged meat myself (I’m not even great at grilling, though I’m good at eating), but it seems super cool and like a fascinating (and yummy) hobby. As long as you have the extra income in case it goes horribly wrong, why not try it? I volunteer as taste tester, as long as your wife has medically cleared the meat as most likely free from bacteria and/or contaminants J

NyQuil: What varietal is your favorite go-to? Classic Mint, Bold Cherry or Honey?—LarzLion

I can’t do regular NyQuil, so I take the caplets. That gives me all of the benefits of being knocked out so I can sleep, and none of the gag reflex when I can’t stand the taste of all of the flavors!