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BSD Mailbag 12.31.21

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday Night Live - Season 47
I’m feeling 2022 but not so fast.
Photo By: Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

On a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, how badly do you want to see a (finally) healthy Sean Clifford take the field on January 1st and remove all doubt he’s the starter for next season?—Penn State Navy

That’s definitely a ten for me. I was excited that he was coming back anyway (because who better for our young high-star enrollees to learn from?) but this would be absolutely amazing. I’m not so sure it’s going to happen, but I think there’s a good shot that defense is just an afterthought in this matchup.

What’s the first Penn State bowl game you remember?—Gerry Dincher

I’m sure I watched many a bowl game before it, but the 1995 Rose Bowl win over Oregon was the first one I remember paying close attention to.

My first bowl game in person was the 2006 Orange Bowl. Also incredibly memorable, but ultimately in a different way…

One of the metrics we loony tune fans often rate coaches by is ‘crootin’. PSU’s annual NCAA financial report (HERE) lists all sorts of revenue and expenses for every PSU sport (but the publicly available version doesn’t have individual coach’s salaries – dang!). One of the expense categories is Recruiting Expenses. Below are the total FY 2020 recruiting expenses for every PSU team. Just wondering what you think… which coaches are providing the best value (doing the most with the least)? Least value? Anything that makes you go, “huh?” or stands out?

Women’s Sports

Basketball $197,817

Fencing $6,774

Field Hockey $10,566

Golf $8,576

Gymnastics $17,771

Ice Hockey $30,865

Lacrosse $31,009

Soccer $30,268

Softball $44,745

Swimming and Diving $60,396

Tennis $41,893

Track and Field, X-Country $55,462

Volleyball $41,084

Men’s Sports

Baseball $62,489

Basketball $319,726

Fencing $6,057

Football $1,143,048

Golf $3,161

Gymnastics $34,684

Ice Hockey $54,705

Lacrosse $21,738

Soccer $25,074

Swimming and Diving $66,788

Tennis $23,161

Track and Field, X-Country $34,141

Volleyball $33,579

Wrestling $38,584—Smee

This actually makes it seem like all of our sports are a bargain! Even though the budget for football recruiting is so high, since football essentially pays for the rest of these sports (save the other few money makers), that still seems really low to me. Wrestling is probably the most bang for its buck in terms of national titles, but it feels like our next AD might be able to up these budgets just a smidge to compete with titles across the board.

With the advent of NIL, are players allowed to get agents now and, if no, why not?—Tmbgiants_3

It’s my understanding (and that’s not in small part because of the Quinn Ewers drama) that, under the new NIL rules, student athletes absolutely can hire agents to represent them in NIL matters. I think that’s the right way to go about it, as well.

PSU’s two chartered 737’s take off from State College to Tampa at 4:10 and 4:40 PM on Christmas Day. Should they have flown down a few days earlier to give everyone and their families a nice Christmas break in Florida, wait until the 26th so folks could have Christmas at home, or is it no biggie, you just go when you go?—Smee

I think letting them spend Christmas morning with their families was great – and acclimating the team to the climate and practicing in Florida definitely helps. I don’t think that the program would pay for the families to come down with the team (especially their extra hotel rooms), so them being able to spend some of Christmas with their families is a great boon.

Should BTPR be changed to GBPR (Gator Bowl Participant Rutger)?—mattinglywasking

Definitely not. That’s more than a 5-7 team deserves (but the game, which is happening as I’m writing this, makes me wish we were playing 10-3 Wake Forest instead of Arkansas).

With Russ Rose retiring...which is the next non-wresting PSU team to win a national championship? A case could be made for men’s volleyball this year as they are ranked in the top 5. Men’s lacrosse seems to have peaked a few years back but hell if I know. Women’s soccer didn’t have the best of years in 2021 but they are always a threat. Women’s hockey? Football? Something out of left field (but obviously not baseball or softball)?—MJBPSU

I think the last non-wrestling national title was women’s soccer anyway, but I think either soccer team would probably be a good call. They both had legit shots this year before the flu wiped out their shots in the tournament (though the men’s double-conference title this year could be an even bigger harbinger). The men’s volleyball field is smaller than most of the other sports in which PSU competes, and Mark Pavlik has won titles at Penn State in this century, so he does know what it takes to win national titles.

Who would win a foot race between Tom Brady and Taylor Swift? This question is submitted by my 8 year old, who would like to point out that Taylor’s name is Swift so she must be kinda fast—vern05

As much as I love TayTay, even at like 70 Brady would probably win in a footrace. He definitely seems like the kind of dude to work out 2x a day even in the nursing home. He’s not the most mobile qb, but he’s definitely a competitor.

On Tuesday, arguably the greatest NFL coach in history, and certainly the greatest NFL broadcaster in history, passed away. Any thoughts about John Madden?—Smee

I don’t know that I would call him the greatest NFL coach, but he’s definitely the best person who has done all of those things for football. His explanations for lay people are undeniably great, and he inarguably changed the video game landscape (though I’m not sure what involvement he had beyond the licensing of his name, which was enough).

Worst or funniest Xmas present you ever received? I was about 14 and my older sister gave me Doris Day’s Greatest Hits album for Xmas. Thought it was pretty dang funny and paid her back a few years later with the Ronco Egg Scrambler which scrambled the egg in the shell. Dumbest invention ever but awesome gift.—RWReese

I don’t have any memories of straight up bad Christmas gifts! I feel pretty lucky with that. I’m excited to read about some of the other “bad” gifts that others got in the comments, though (I’m sure, though that one person’s bad gift is another’s amazing one).

does the lack of snow damper your Holiday spirit? it does mine, I don’t want 10 feet like they may get out West but a little white on the ground would be nice, not 50 and rainy in HV—kingkub

Nothing can damper my holiday spirit! I’m a big Christmas person, and love decorations and the Christmas holiday season. The only thing that dampers it is that it is not socially acceptable to celebrate Christmas and the holiday season for like 3-4 months instead of Thanksgiving until New Year’s.

What is the best holiday-themed drink? Eggnog? Mulled something? Christmas-themed beer (Mad Elf, Christmas Ale, Gingerbread Stout, etc)?—Liongame

Non-alcoholic wise (which is where I’m trending these days), I love Egg Nog. In terms of alcohol, I always could go for a nice winter warmer; I’m not a huge gingerbread fan for beer (I like my stouts sweeter, not spicier) but vanilla porters always remind me of the winter as well. Mad Elf is great but you (read: me) can only ever have one before it gets embarrassing.

What percentage of people nap on Christmas Day?—Dbridi

I’d think it’s a fairly large percentage, though I didn’t partake this year (for once!)

How do you feel about people who mail Christmas cards adorned with sparkles? Which, upon opening, proceed to drop everywhere, infest every inch of living space and clothing, and are impossible to completely remove. (Dateline June 25, 2022: “Oh look, more sparkles from that Christmas card from effing Aunt June.”)—Smee

Dude, don’t knock sparkles. Sparkles and glitter give me life. I am one of those folks who send glitter cards, and I don’t regret it one bit. If you find the glitter months later, you’re thinking of me (even if the thoughts are filled with ire).

How was the Hallmark movie lineup this year? I noticed a couple movies on other outlets like Netflix that parrot the storylines. One had a knight from the distant past magically appear in today’s storyline—it was a nice twist and one that I could follow along with for more than 15 minutes.—48-14

They’ve been great! The lineup, as per usual, has expanded, and there’s more channels airing similar types of Christmas movies, though Hallmark is still the gold standard and sets the tone. I have been surprised, though, that the couples in the Hallmark movies seem more willing to lock lips sooner than the last fifteen minutes of the movie – which is a positive development (as is the more diverse cast and plotting, which is why some of the Hallmark executives branched out to other channels).

just got my auto insurance notice in the mail...does anybody read all of the 17 pages of endorsements that come with the card?—kingkub

No one does, and that’s what they count on. They slide some stuff into those 17 pages and that counts as notifying us of account limitations and requirements. Most of the time, it doesn’t matter…but that one time it does, woo boy.

You get to pick three characters from any HBO show in the history of HBO shows to go out for a night and get hammered with. Who are your three? (I stole this question from Kyle Brandt’s podcast, btw)— LTFT

I haven’t watched as many HBO shows as a ton of folks on this board (Deadwood, Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, and the Wire are still on my “want to watch” list) but tops of my list has got to be Tyrion Lannister. I wouldn’t attempt to keep up with him, of course, but his wittiness would make any drinking escapade incredibly entertaining.

The other two are way less easy. There’s so many options – Lafayette Reynolds, Samantha Jones, Selina Meyer for the ridiculousness of it, and Azriel from His Dark Materials just so that I can stare at James Macavoy all night. I’m not sure I could pick two more, and I’m sure there are options beyond what I’ve considered. I’m interested in the community’s thoughts, so let us know your picks in the comments!