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BSD Mailbag 10.29.21

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And we’re back, trying to get over our sadness by answering some questions!

NCAA Football: Indiana at Penn State Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

What is the over/under of how many more wins PSU football secures for the rest of the year? I was thinking 2.5 but it may only be 2.—LarzLion

I think two sounds about right. I would have put it at three or four before Illinois, so it’s a good thing that I don’t bet at all, huh?

(the only time I’ve ever put money on Penn State sports was in Vegas in February 2020, I put money on PSU football for the 2020 season, so basically I am the reason why the pandemic happened. Sorry)

Which is worse? PSU losing to one of the worst B1G teams or the BSD commenter hot taeks that follow?—CaptBombs

Definitely the latter. I can get over a game pretty quickly, especially game-dependent (burying myself in actual work, and tv/books and personal relationships helps). But I can’t be on BSD after a loss, even a not-terrible one like we’ve had in recent years. One like Illinois makes me go buried and honestly, if I didn’t promise Jared and Clay I would do these two posts every week, I’m not sure that I’d have logged in at all.

Where did all the BSD members come from? After the Illinois loss? It was like turning the lights out in a cockroach infested house. They came out of the woodwork and were scurrying around with all their bad taeks. It was bedlam with PSU pessimism, doom and gloom.—EagleLionSly

Oh, you sweet summer child…it’s like you’re new here!

This is the same as it ever was, dating back to the BSD Mike days. There are a lot of unhappy people out there, and unhappy people like to go online and make others as unhappy as they are. There’s also some people who use communities like this as outlets instead of going to therapy, which is another discussion for another day (seriously, everyone should go to therapy, myself included).

what is James Franklin’s record after bye weeks? and then what is James Franklin’s record the 2nd game after a bye week?—venset10

His record directly after the BYE is, no surprise, not great! In fact, it’s pretty bad:

2011 (Vandy): L to Alabama, L to Georgia

2012: W over Missouri, L to Florida

2013: W over Florida, W over Kentucky

2014 (PSU): L to Michigan, L to Ohio State

2015: L to Michigan, L to Michigan State

2016: W over Ohio State, W over Purdue

2017: W over Michigan, L to Ohio State

2018: L to Michigan State, W over Indiana

2019: L to Minnesota, W over Indiana

2020: n/a

2021: L to Ill after bye, ??

Out of the 10 games directly after a BYE, Franklin-coached teams are 4-6, winning 2/3 at Vandy and only two in State College. Of the 9 games two weeks after the BYE, his teams also have only 4 wins (but are 4-5) – with three of the four coming at PSU.

Not sure the latter matters, though, because OSU is the best team we’ll face this year, and it comes at possibly the least opportune time.

Do you feel like the Fifth Chipmunk was to blame in any way for the team’s performance last week? Related: should we exclude stats with Healthy Clifford from this week’s article and start counting with Q3 @ Iowa?—j-s-b

I am a superstitious person by nature when it comes to my sports teams, so yes, it absolutely was the fifth chipmunk that did it!

Though, quite honestly, our red zone defense showed out last week – if they hadn’t, it wouldn’t have gone to a 9th overtime only having allowed one score. It’s just that as good as our red zone defense was, our red zone offense was worse! I love reliving this, thank you.

So reports are that CJF has fired Trace Armstrong as his agent and hired Jimmy Sexton, who represents all but 3 SEC coaches. Material evidence for the 2021 coaching carousel, or just more media-driven noise?—NittanyPUMA

Probably a combination of both? The change actually occurred over the summer, but the media-driven noise is that it came out now, after a horrid loss to Illinois, and not when it actually occurred. Who leaked it now, and why? Why this week, not immediately when USC and LSU both fired their coaches? I’m not sure if there’s an easy answer as to who this news benefits; I’ve seen takes blaming either side, but honestly, neither Franklin nor PSU seems to be one to gain from the news coming out.

I still don’t think Franklin is leaving, but I’m less bullish on that take than I was a week ago – and I’m also, as much as I do really like Franklin and am glad he’s our coach, oddly ok with whatever the outcome is.

What will it take for PSU to pull an upset this weekend? By the time you respond on Friday, the prediction thread will have been published. What is your prediction?—48-14

It will take Sean Clifford really, truly being at 100% (physically AND mentally), and either Ohio ignoring game film of the Illinois game or Brent Pry somehow figuring out how to counter a 9-man offensive line front with the lack of depth we have up front. The Clifford piece is unlikely but not completely fathomable, but the other? You guessed it! Neither are very probable.

My prediction is something like 34-10, Ohio State. With our TD coming late in the fourth quarter, and us still being within 2 scores at halftime so everyone gets their hopes up like the silly folks we are.

Is this going to be a Tim Burton style massacre?—PhillyLion

I don’t think it’s going to be particularly close, but I also don’t think it will be a massacre – mostly because of the defense. I know a lot of folks are shitting on the defense for giving up over 300 yards rushing to Illinois, but the #1 job of a defense is to prevent the opponent from scoring points, and they did that time and again last week. Allowing only ten points in regulation should get you to win games nowadays.

Plus, the strength of the PSU defense matches up with the strength of the Illinois offense. Do I think that Ohio State will score points? Absolutely. Do I think they cover? Also, yes. But not in a 2015-style massacre.

What are the chances O$U runs a few plays with 9 OL? Seriously—PeteZockyU

If they aren’t getting any running lanes with just 6-7 OL earlier in the game, I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t try some variation of this after halftime.

Honestly, one of the most baffling coaching decisions last week (and there were so many, as I’m sure you all know) was made on the Illinois sideline. In what universe, where you have run roughshod over PSU’s run D all game, do you call a pass play not just in the third OT (the first one that’s a two-point conversion), not just the fourth or fifth OT, but also the 6th OT – the first play after your quarterback has to leave the game with a gross broken bone? Seriously?? That was a gift to us, and we still didn’t want it enough to win the dang game.

Let’s say for the sake of argument that we’re not going to win this weekend. Would you rather

(a) Play well and lose a competitive game;

(b) Bet big on OSU to cover and watch us get boat-raced.

(If (b), how much would you have to win to feel genuinely happy about it.)—j-s-b

I’d always prefer to play well and lose a competitive game, because it bodes better for the future. Not just future seasons, but future weeks of the current season; so much of a season of football is mental, as we saw last year, and it’s easy to build on negative momentum and derail an entire season.

My cousin lives in Ohio and is a huge anO$U fan, Every year, as this game approaches, we both talk a bunch of smack. This year, for reasons that don’t need to be mentioned, I have been quiet. Last night he sent me a message asking if I was willing to make a friendly wager on the game for charity (he’s very involved in charitable organizations). He’s never done this before, but, I think, with him feeling like this is a guaranteed win for his side, he’s feeling his oats. Do I take the bet?…..It’s for charity…—Tmbgiants_3

Absolutely, as long as it’s not just a straight-up bet. Gotta add in something that’s less one-sided, like covering the spread or you win if PSU scores more than 10 points.

Probably asked before but when is it time to start a new superstition? Asking for a friend cause the old one ain’t working anymore—kingkub

It was time in the 4th quarter of the Iowa game when they finally scored to go ahead. If you didn’t change anything before Illinois, well, I have another scapegoat for last week’s performance!

Over/under on the number of catches our favorite PA receiver who decided that O$U was the place to be a star WR gets this Saturday? does his smugness, Ryan Day, feature him to rub it in our noses a bit?—kingkub

He literally has only two receptions all season for them. Fleming’s not a factor in the Ohio State offense, and while I’m sure Day’s a little petty (though why he would need to rub our noses in it when he’s undefeated against PSU as a head coach is beyond me), but he would not alter his offensive game plan to feature a player that isn’t a part of their normal rotation solely to stick it to PSU and/or Franklin. He doesn’t dislike us that much, we aren’t Michigan (though we are the visiting team that has played under the lights most in the Shoe, which I found interesting).

New OT rule: Great change for college football or the greatest change for college football?

[Takes off Colbert Report Era Stephen Colbert costume.]

Happy Halloween. If anyone is headed this way for the game, have a safe trip. Speaking of Halloween, top 3 candies to get when you were a kid, assuming you are limited to standard “fun size” Halloween candies? I had a neighbor that always gave out full size Musketeers, so those wouldn’t count. But I would still go Musketeer, KitKat, and 100,000 Grand bars.

Serious question. Did Franklin play Clifford last week because his injury is something rest will not help? I’m just surprised with two weeks, your offensive staff could not put together a slimmed down version of the offense that plays to Roberson’s strengths. OSU had CJ Steoud on emergency reserve against Akron because of a shoulder issue. Turns out they didn’t need him and it seems to have helped his mechanics. Yes, Illinois > Akron, but it just seems odd not to at least try that unless you are worried you will mess Roberson up mentally or whatever ails Clifford will not get fixed with an extra week of rest.—Former_DC_Buck

Reese’s pumpkins are the best Halloween candy, and I will not be deterred. I also like skittles and twizzlers.

For your serious question…I think he played him because the drop off was just so great between Cliff and the other QBs, they were worried about losing. Which seems laughable now, since they lost anyway! I think the gameplan was to come in and be very, very conservative in their play calls because, as we all knew, Illinois is the worst team in the Big Ten so PSU should be able to easily out-talent them – which of course was dumb and no coaching staff should ever do.

We still don’t know what ailment Cliff had, other than it was a “common quarterback” thing, but he was clearly not 100% last week. Running wasn’t an option for him, and at one point he started a slide before the line of scrimmage. Woof.

I don’t think it’s about mentally messing Roberson up, because honestly I don’t think he’s going to play again at PSU unless Cliff gets hurt again, or in garbage time. I will be surprised if he doesn’t transfer in the offseason.

can Cliff get some training room treatment like in Varsity Blues? just kidding….—PhillyLion

Are you kidding, though? Are you, really?

What I’m wondering is, when recruits are in Lasch and Holuba, how are the coaches selling them on PSU if most of the coaches don’t know squat about PSU and won’t be employed by PSU during the recruit’s entire college career, or is that even important? And is the drop in percentage of Pennsylvania kids on the roster concerning, or are PA high schools just not turning out high-quality recruits the way they used to? And do either of these things tie in to wins and losses?—Smee

(Note: I removed out Smee’s long and involved rest of his comment, which you can find here – it delves deep into the tenures of current and former coaches at PSU)

I think you’re overthinking this, and it truly isn’t even that important. Similar to how a true Penn Stater isn’t necessarily one who went to Penn State, for certain schools and coaching positions you can just get a feel for the place and its culture and history, buying in on everything, even if you’re brand new to it.

PA schools haven’t been churning out top recruits at anywhere near the consistent level they used to (a lot due to demographic shifts, and population relocation), which is why it’s just as important to focus on the broader region and some key kids from out of state. It’s not *that* difficult to recruit some high performing kids from pretty far away – we have some key contributors on our roster right now that aren’t from the midatlantic or Big Ten states.

Will there be a wrestling preview soon? November 13 is fast approaching.—wvlion

Short answer? I don’t know! I’m still planning on writing the individual game previews, but am unsure about an overall season preview. In the meantime, check out community member bubba0077’s great wrestling primer here, and kavija66’s more humorous new take here.

Just a simple one: Is Fordon really JayPa? Discuss, provide examples of your proofs.—3Yardout

While as glorious as this idea is (and it would explain a lot, really), this one is too conspiratorial for me.

For fans of Lucifer...So, let’s say you’ve passed on. And unfortunately you end up in hell. Where you have to re-live a nightmare time-loop for all eternity. But the catch is you get to choose one of two days to re-live. Do you choose October 23, 2004, or October 23, 2021?—Smee

I say 2004, because it’s been 17 years and also that defense was REALLLLLLY good (with multiple great NFL players) and if 17 years later you can’t laugh at a coach thinking your team’s defense is more of a threat to score than your offense (and him being absolutely 100% correct), well, then, you might take football a tad too seriously.

Would you rather be so rich and famous that you can own multiple houses but can’t buy bread without being approached for an autograph/selfie like Dave Grohl or rich enough to go grocery shopping without being bothered like say Alan Parsons? no slight on AP but could you pick him out of a line-up without Google image searching him first?—kingkub

Before the pandemic, I would definitely have said the former because of all of the grocery services you can get that deliver practically anything to your house. But during the pandemic, especially at the beginning when no one really knew if the virus could be transmitted on surfaces, when all I did was grocery pickups or delivery, I realized just how much I like roaming the aisles of a grocery store to grab things that appeal to me. First world problems, I know, but I’d probably go AP here (and I agree with your assessment, as I could not pick him out).

Which insect is most annoying?—Gerry Dincher

I think stink bugs are the most annoying, because they make their presence felt even if you kill them. Or even if you just scare them, or try to shoo them outside. I can’t sleep when I know there are stink bugs near me. Yes, that’s a me-thing, not a them-thing.

Why do people buy a riding mower or hire a lawn service then join a gym? I’m talking about folks with a regular size yard in a community, around 1/4 to 1/2 acre. This was a thought I had, last night, while mindlessly pushing my mower around the yard.—EagleLionSly

Gym memberships are year-round and most folks go multiple times a week, unlike lawn mowing which is not a winter activity and also you don’t do three times a week. Plus, you aren’t stuck just doing cardio if you’re at the gym! And also I hate mowing, it’s boring.

You have two hours to kill, there’s no sports on, and the family is away so no one to judge your decisions. You have Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and HBO. What are you watching?—RWReese

The Great British Baking Show on Netflix, but only because you didn’t mention that in this scenario whether I would hav eHallmark Channel Everywhere, which is undoubtedly what I would turn on were I to have it.