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

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BSD Mailbag 11.11.22

Happy Veteran’s Day and thank you for your service to all who have served and do and will serve!

According to ESPN analytics, Penn State doesn’t have worse than a 77% chance of losing any of their remaining three games. CJF has never passed on an opportunity to run up the score so my question is this: What do you predict will be the average win margin for the remaining three games? And secondly, which ones will still be competitive in the fourth quarter?—MightMax409

I very much disagree with the notion that “CJF has never passed on an opportunity to run up the score”. This isn’t simply recency bias on your part talking - you can look no further than *last week* to have empirical evidence that this isn’t true. With a minute to go, Penn State got to around the IU ten yard line; a first and goal a few seconds later, and PSU took a knee. It would have been very,

VERY easy to score in that position (in point of fact, Ryan Day most likely would have) but PSU under James Franklin took a knee, and left with the 31 point win. If that’s not not running up the score unnecessarily, I don’t know what is.

In terms of the rest of the season, a lot will have to do with weather and injuries. If we continue to figure out what the offensive line looks like without some starters (and likely early draft pick Olu Fashanu) and look decent doing it, I think an average margin of victory of 20+ isn’t out of the question.

Once Clifford breaks Trace’s passing record, will we see number 15 the rest of the way?—Dinsdale Piranha

We will see the QB that the coaching staff believes will give the team the best chance of winning at any point in time. That’s not going to change whether Cliff has broken the record or not.

Who is going to the Maryland game? Austrian restaurant is closed but I will be at Corner Room at some point pre-game–PSU1979dude

As of now, I’m going! Not going to tailgate due to the winds and the temps, but will be at the game (as I am practically every home game).

Also, RIP Herwig’s, the place I ordered chicken schnitzel and the guy behind the counter looked down at my green chuck taylors, said “yeah, that checks out”, and rung me up.

I was at the Auburn game, and yes the Chipmunks war’d, but it was a fantastic atmosphere all the same. Can you speak to some other great road game atmospheres that Penn State has been involved in?—Big Maple

The Auburn atmosphere was great - I think the best away games that I’ve been to have been the ones where the home team was expected to win or at least make it a close, good game, and PSU just showed up and balled out. It’s tougher for home team fans to be consistently dickish if the game isn’t close so they don’t have much on the field to point to.

That being said, Iowa 2012 was also another great away game experience; I wrote all about it on here. The best was that no one, PSU fans included, expected such a game; we thought maybe we had a chance to win, but that if there was a blowout, it would’ve been on the other side. But I met a lot of my internet friends for the first time that day, rented an SUV that I fell in love with and later bought, and sat on the aisle in the PSU section and high-fived every single fan that went up and down the walkway after the first quarter.

I also really like wrestling events where the home/favored squad is brought back down to earth by a Cael Sanderson squad; the NCAA tournament in Cleveland in particular was great in that regard, with Ohio State so sure that they would win in essentially their home arena. Bo Nickal had other ideas.

I was looking at Testudo Times (which has good sports coverage) and they have almost no football coverage on the front page. “Above the fold” they have an article about Terps in the NFL and a generic draft kings article about Big Ten spreads. (for comparison every “above the fold” article on BSD is football)

Given that the Terps are having a good (for them) season, this is surprising to me.

In terms of least engaged fan bases (for football), where does UMD rank? I think they are only above Northwestern, Rutgers and maybe Indiana. And this isn’t just an internet thing: I live in the DMV and the UMD grads I know generally do not care about football.—PSU2UNC

Many UMD grads (and students) definitely don’t care about football, and are far more casual fans of that sport to the effect that many likely don’t see their season as being very good - despite the fact that they’ll be headed to a bowl game for the second year in a row, for the first time since 2013 & 2014 (& they haven’t been to three in a row since 2008, which is incredibly likely under Locksley). IIRC, student tickets to the Maryland football games are free if not close to free (a far cry from student tickets for basketball), so I think being a football fan is just a foreign concept to many of them. Which is super weird, because Maryland high school football is actually pretty good! I should know, I went to a powerhouse MD high school that won state titles at Byrd Stadium!

I think Indiana is above them - they have far better tailgating - but you’re right, they’re above NW and Rutgers. I’d also put Illinois as more fair-weathery than Maryland.

The press in the DMV is also very fascinating to me - it’s like they do their best to pretend that the only college sports that folks there are interested in are those from the states of Maryland and Virginia. State College is actually closer to DC than Blacksburg, and the DMV has the largest concentration of Penn State alums outside the commonwealth of PA, yet there was zero coverage of PSU prior to Maryland joining the Big Ten, and even now it’s scant and limited to national news (Rose retiring, Sanderson’s wrestling teams doing well again) or negative news (a lawsuit filed, but no subsequent article when the suit is dismissed). Little brother syndrome is real, y’all, and permeates much more than we’d think.

The PSU to the Rose bowl movement requires both michigan and osu to make the playoffs, right? I can’t imagine any likely scenario that the committee takes 2 teams from the B1G given our history in the playoffs. Am I missing something?—JayMPSU

I can, and it’s not that hard - especially since there’s recent precedent for two SEC schools. If both teams win out big before meeting Thanksgiving weekend, then it’s a close game (either way) and the next game in Indy is a blowout for the East squad, I don’t see a way they both don’t get in. A one-loss Clemson isn’t getting in ahead of a one-loss Ohio State or Michigan team, and Tennessee lost to UGA very poorly - they weren’t close enough to warrant a second SEC squad in the playoff. Who would leapfrog MIchigan or Ohio State? There’s not going to be more than one one-loss PAC12 squad (and USC and UCLA play each other) because of the championship game, so here’s hoping for a USC loss to Notre Dame but win over UCLA, and USC beating Oregon in the title game. Though that would mean another matchup against USC in the Rose Bowl, but there’s been worse stuff we’ve seen…

Is there any chance the name of one Manny Diaz will pop up as a candidate for the now vacant USF head coaching job? I base that question on nothing other than the fact that 1) USF is a school in Florida...2) Manny is from Florida....3) Previously fired power 5 head coaches sometimes end up getting head coaching jobs at Group of 5 schools. I hope not, Michigan game notwithstanding, I like the job he’s done here, and hope he stays awhile.—LTFT

I highly doubt there’ll be chatter like this this year. Diaz’s defenses have been good, great against many of the teams - but not good enough against the elite teams on the schedule. I think he’ll need another year as the PSU DC before he’ll get some more good looks, in places where he’ll be more set up for success (which I don’t necessarily think would be the case at USF).

So it’s November and there are many HC openings. Does CJF’s agent sniff around any of them. I am thinking Auburn and A&M.—LarzLion

LOL no

Auburn at this point is a decided step down for Franklin, and not sure anyone outside of their media footprint would disagree. He’s already done the SEC thing, and being in a division with LSU and Alabama at a school where the consistent expectations and feedback could potentially be worse than at Penn State makes no logical sense.

And while A&M might be lucrative considering the seemingly-myriad resources and boosters willing to fund whatever is needed to be successful no questions asked, if national-title winning Jimbo Fisher can’t meet expectations there, what would make Franklin more successful? And, again, a division with LSU and Alabama in it (as opposed to the Big Ten, going divisionless soon) isn’t attractive right now.

Franklin’s not going anywhere, sorry.

Next year’s gonna be fun. Who’s going to be there to hold me when I’m sobbing in the fetal position after the inevitable stupid loss (See Sparty 2017)?—Tmbgiants_3

It feels like it’s rare for me to be an optimist, but I tend to be very much of the wait and see vibe. I’m excited about next year as well, but there’s always narratives going into every season and it’s up to the team and coaching staff to dispel them. This year, they were successfully able to dispel the narrative that one heartbreaking loss would turn into another one right after (not an unrealistic narrative given past PSU teams under Franklin). What is the narrative we’ll tackle in 2023? I can’t wait to find out - no joke!

You and your “old Penn State gang” — a few of whom you haven’t seen in-person in years — have decided to get together in Happy Valley for a long weekend sometime in 2023. Which weekend do you choose and why?—Smee

It’s gotta be the weekend of January 20, which has two wrestling duals (including Michigan at the BJC), a pair of hockey games vs Notre Dame, and a mens basketball game against Nebraska.

Why is it , no matter which side of a closed door my kids (and cats) are on, they think they need to be on the OTHER side?—LionfanAllan

It’s human (and pet) nature to always want that which you cannot have; so if it’s getting into the room you’re not in, that’s what you need to have. Cats inevitably hate closed doors, even if they have no interest in actually being in the room on the other side of that closed door.

Best method for quieting barking dogs that neighbors leave outside for hours?—Smee

I’m loathe to call the authorities for any pretty minor reason like this one. Most pet owners are actually cognizant of their pets’ abilities and desires and wouldn’t want them to be uncomfortable and unhappy outside for that long - but there are a non-small number of assholes in this world whose personal comfort outweighs the needs of any other sentient being. If your neighbors are the former, I’d just talk to them. If they’re the latter, they shouldn’t be pet owners and I feel for the animals who rely on them for food and shelter.

I love Coral and its blocking feature, but have only one problem...

The “z” functionality seems to have lost its utility, but I’m hoping that I’m just not using it properly. For example, when I login into Cari’s Mailbag and read all the comments at the time, say 20, then return the next day and there’s another 20 comments, Coral doesn’t recognize that I’ve already read the original 20. “Z” does nothing for me.

Is there a setting or way to correct my behavior so Coral picks up on the earlier visit?—48-14

This is really fascinating to me because I’ve noticed a marked difference in functionality between using a desktop browser with Coral, and using safari on my ipad or iphone. The latter always remembers my previously read comments (and you use the “next unread comment” button rather than the Z key) while I have some of the same issues with the former, just as you do. It seems like it’s just another thing where in optimizing for a mobile audience, since that’s where most of hte page views come from, they’re taking away from the user experience of those who use desktops (and for folks like me, who use both especially a desktop when I’m writing).

If you had the choice to appear on a TV game show, which would it be? It can be a current show or one from the past.

Bonus question: If you won the $1.9B Powerball this week, would you publish your answers to our questions on Friday?—LarzLion

Probably Who Wants to Be A Millionaire; I’m a veritable trove of useless trivia and knowledge, both pop culture and more academic, and did really well at the version of this game show at MGM years and years ago. I do hate speaking in front of large audiences, though, and get tremors so I’mnot sure I’d be good at any of them.

And of course! I don’t do these mailbags for the beaucoup buckets being a BSD blogger makes me. I do it for the fun of it, and the community.

What item are you waiting/hoping goes on sale for Black Friday, and what price does it need to hit for you to buy immediately?—Smee

There’s not really anything I truly want or need, though may be eying a new ipad because mine feels like it’s on its last legs after seeing me through the last almost-six years. I’m looking forward to a bunch of new Christmas decorations over the coming weeks, but I have everything I really need already!

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