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

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BSD Mailbag 11.25.22

All our answers to your questions this Thanksgiving and Senior Day weekend!

Any chance Manny Diaz leaves after this year? He is up for the Broyles award but I do not see him on the list of coaches up for the top jobs like Kiffin, Rhule and the like. I sure hope that he sticks around—you cannot argue with what he has done so far.—LarzLion

I know better at this point in my sports fandom to never say never (back in early 2014, I never thought we’d be able to land James Franklin as our head coach, for one thing), but I’d be very surprised if Diaz leaves after this season. His stock is exponentially higher right now than it was a year ago as the head coach of Miami (and not just because of the job he’s done as defensive coordinator for us - it’s also how Miami’s done this year); imagine how much higher it’ll get after the second season of his system with these young, talented players like Abdul Carter working in his system in the offseason?

The only thing I can argue with is the job the unit did at Michigan - where there was seemingly no game plan (or, if there was one, it was to this blogger’s eyes completely nonsensical); I’d like to see him get another crack at that one, next season in Happy Valley, hopefully at the white out.

Similar to how Brent Pry was in vague discussions year in and year out after being a very solid DC for us under Franklin, I expect Manny Diaz will be holding out for the best situation for him and his family. And I’m not sure that any of the openings so far this year (including the ones that aren’t yet open, but in discussions) are ones that fit that for him. But of course, as I said at the top, never say never - this time last year, no one really expected the chaos that would occur in LA and in Norman and in Baton Rouge, so who knows what the next month will bring?

Let’s say “James from State College” gets his walking papers (and enough money to live a long happy life), and Matt Rhule gets brought back to the town where he played high school and college ball to be James’ successor. How would you feel about that turn of events? And, as a former teammate, how do you think hbeach would feel about it? Askin’ for a friend…–Smee

First of all, James Frnaklin isn’t getting his walking papers. The very real possibility of another ten win season means he won’t be going anywhere, and Pat Kraft knows that if PSU isn’t invited to a New Year’s Six bowl, it’s not because of anything that PSU really could do (no other two-loss team has two better losses; there’s just no respect for Maryland, who’s going to be a 7 or 8 win team, or Ohio, who’s won 9 and going to the MAC championship game).

Even beyond that, though, I don’t know why there’s such a massive love affair with Matt Rhule. He’s a good coach, don’t get me wrong - but he’s never won a conference championship (he won divisions at Temple and Baylor but lost in the conference title games), let alone been a part of the playoff conversation. He’s been very good in his career at the college level of turning around struggling programs - but PSU isn’t exactly struggling right now, being bowl-eligible in all of James Franklin’s seasons and with double digit wins in three of the seven seasons where that was even possible (four of eight, if the rest of this season goes as expected).

I remember asking HBeach about similar things, and I don’t think he would be supremely excited - but that’s a response from my fuzzy, alcohol and woo-tinted memory so I could be very wrong about that.

This has probably been discussed ad nauseum, but I still struggle with it: James allegedly tells his commits they “cannot” (should not?) visit other schools once they’ve committed to Penn State but seems to have no qualms about accepting visits from players committed elsewhere (e.g., Rodney Gallagher, WVU commit, is said to be coming to Happy Valley this week). What thought process justifies this apparent dichotomy?—PSU_Lions_84

The thinking behind this is that if a commit is truly committed by the definition of the word, then they wouldn’t be visiting other schools - if they’re open to visits, they’re not really committed. You can’t control the actions or rules of other people or other programs - so if other programs don’t have the same guidelines that Penn State does, what pledge would the recruit have gone back on? If other schools don’t have the same literal definition of “committed”, then the player isn’t going back on their word if their word doesn’t include not looking around.

I have no problems with this practice and don’t see any dichotomy in this.

Who are your football grudges and what is your logic?

Some strong MSU hate got brought up in another thread based on stuff from the Dantonio regime. I used to hate MSU, but more specifically I hated Dantonio. Now that he’s gone I don’t have strong feelings about them. Same with Illinois without Beckman. It’s not that I don’t hold a grudge. Iowa can get fucked and lose forever after the unfathomably stupid faking-injuries-to-slow-down-a-Brian-Ferentz-offense accusations. But there I’m really targeting the fanbase, not so much the program. Anyhow, my list

  • Iowa - covered above
  • Michigan - obnoxious, condescending fanbase... although mgoblog is legitimately funny
  • Tennessee - sanctimoniously running Schiano out of town because he was associated w/ Penn State.
  • Northwestern - more of a Pat Fitzgerald thing. I’ll never tire of watching him lose. I don’t think I’ll care once he’s gone.
  • Notre Dame - only one I don’t have a reason for, especially without Brian Kelly.

Dishonorable mentions:

  • Pitt - fanbase blows, but they suck so why care?
  • Maryland - same as above, but I do enjoy watching Franklin continue to punish them–InflammableDumpster

I’m with you on the Pat Fitzgerald thing - mine colors my view of Northwestern, and is based on his and his team’s behavior in Beaver Stadium in 2012, where Pat was standing in around 2-3 yards onto the field on every play and the refs never flagged him. Additionally, his players on the bench and his assistant coaches actively taunted the fans sitting behind the bench when they were winning (with Fitz having an ongoing smirk) - actions that not only were condoned, but disappeared of course when Matt McGloin turned the game around. He also has legitimately weird beliefs about newer football concepts, such as calling the RPO communism. It’s not communism to outsmart the opposing team, Pat!

I also can’t stand Michigan under Jim Harbaugh; Michigan has a longstanding rep of their players and, to a lesser degree, fans being condescending and with an outsized sense of their own importance, and nothing has brought that to the surface more than this past year. Before last year’s Big Ten title, it had been almost 15 years since they’d won on - and hadn’t won their division of the conference since the addition of Nebraska and the advent of divisions in 2011! Yet there was still this perception that they were better than any other team, even though a number of Big Ten teams had better divisional and overall records than they did.

At least with Ohio State, they’ve consistently been a great football program (not just a great football team) - so their arrogance is at least founded in not just one year’s recency bias.

As for Iowa? I used to root for them as my second favorite Big Ten team. After last year, that has decidedly shifted and they’re now in my negative column. Maybe not as much as Maryland (handshakegate and the folks at Testudo Times literally calling me a liar will not leave my memory any time soon), but definitely up there.

And honestly, I just don’t care about Pitt or Rutgers. Let them both chant “Fuck Penn State” at any or all sporting events - that says more about them than it does about us or any perceived attempt at a rivalry.

No 1 QB and should be Heisman leader is Caleb Williams, correct?—BMAN13

I’ve long said that the Heisman is the prom king award of college football; it never really goes to the most deserving and impressive overall PLAYER, but rather the most well-known good player on a title-contending team.

Which makes me think that if USC loses to Notre Dame this week, Williams’ Heisman stock will plummet. Same with any stock that’s in on CJ Stroud or Blake Corum (one has to lose of those two), or even Max Duggan.

I actually think Stetson Bennett might be the player to beat, even though his odds are lower than most others right now. But UGA is the surest bet in college football this year, and Bennett is their best, well-known player.

Is there an actual stat correlation to players being less likely to opt out of the bowl game if the team is in a highly regarded bowl? Specifically NY6 bowls - do the opt-outs dramatically decrease if a team makes a NY6 bowl?—PSU1979dude

I don’t think it’s having to do with a New Year’s six bowl game - I think it’s more specifically a playoff game. There’ve definitely been non-playoff NY6 games that have had a ton of players sit out of (I think we’ll see that with Bama this year). I think the opt-outs increase if the team had pre-season playoff aspirations but ended up missing the playoffs pretty significantly.

Worse OC...Matt Canada or Brian Ferentz?—swift_retribution

It has to be Brian Ferentz, and I’m not sure it’s even close. Canada has had some success in college; at all of his stops, he had a 1000-yard rusher; with one week left in the regular season, Iowa’s most prolific running back has less than 700.

Canada’s consistently gotten promotions, which while maybe not always deserved at least consistently had backup; Ferentz, as a nepo baby, hasn’t even had sniffs of other programs calling.

Obviously recency bias is a thing (and of course, most PSUers follow the Steelers much closer than Iowa) - but Hawkeye fans have been unhappy with Brian Ferentz for many years now. It’s just the glaring weakness of Iowa’s offense this year have made the possibility for change much more real, at least before they might win the wild and wacky west Big Ten division.

What is your take on Heinicke as starter for the Commanders? I was calling for this after the 1-4 start, Wentz cannot function well behind a beat up offensive line, holds the ball too long. Another big time bust for Dan Snyder and his fantasy football team IMO.—wvlion

When he was announced as the starter, I was really disappointed and thinking that the season was going down the pot. But the proof is in the pudding - and you can’t argue with results. Taylor Heinicke has been winning for Washington, so keep him in there and see if the division can set records by all four teams making the post season.

Who are your Top Five best female voices of all time? My picks will be showing my age a bit (actually, I’m 51 and most of my picks will make people think I’m 61 or 71, but here goes):

1) Gladys Knight

2) Karen Carpenter

3) Whitney Houston

4) Carly Simon (I bet you think this post is about you, don’t you, don’t youuuu?)

5) Natalie Cole–LTFT

I can’t disagree with any of your picks, but I do think you’ve got to put Christina Aguilera or Kelly Clarkson up there as well - they’ve got powerhouse vocals that are virtually unmatched in my generation. Ariana Grande of the younger generation is up there as well.

But where’s Celine Dion on your list? Or Mariah Carey? The latter’s vocal range and the former’s vocal control, at both of their respective peaks, were the envy of basically everyone.

I’d also add Aretha Franklin to that list, and Dusty Springfield. As you can see, I’d have trouble narrowing it down to ten, let alone five.

What is it with today’s residential bathrooms, showers in particular? Every where you look on TV and magazines, they have these beautiful showers with clear glass all around. Am I the only one who wants frosted glass up to about shoulder height? Give me a little privacy to wash and rinse the crevices. I love my wife, but I don’t think she routinely wants to see me in all my glory that often.—LukePSU89

You’re not the only one! I’d like frosted glass all the way up, not just to shoulder height; if you’re going to co clear, I think have tile halfway up or an obvious differentiator (not just frosted vs clear glass) with some sort of differing color on the bottom portion.

What are your thoughts on a Maine lake or seaside vacation instead of going to the beach for a week in July? Mrsb23 and I are mulling over this instead of OBX, or something like that. We’ve done several beach stays, and enjoyed our last one on gulf shores of Alabama, but thinking of mixing it up. Maine Cabin Masters makes it look so nice and relaxing.—mrb23

In 2021, my sister and I took a road trip up to Maine for a week in August, and it was lovely! We stopped in Boston on the way back to watch Kyle Schwarber’s first game as a Red Sock in 2021. I definitely recommend it (though of course, we were up there during near-record heat, which I do not recommend).

Do people that like scrapple have less taste buds and can therefore not taste how terrible it is? I mean the word crap is in the name of the thing you’re eating. It’s almost like it’s warning you.

I know what this question is going to do, but to quote Michael Caine, some men just want to watch the world burn.—swift_retribution

What is the one vegetable you would eliminate if possible? Mine has to be celery. Why do people decide to use in food? Love potato salad until you crunch into celery. Why? Mother in law puts in salad. I try to pick out without anyone noticing but not doable. Is there anything celery is good for except stirring a Bloody Mary?—bva-psu

It would have to be beets for me. I find even the smell of them nauseating, and I don’t even know anyone who LOVES beets!

I also can’t stand brussel sprouts but in an effort to support my many sprout-loving friends, I’ll let them not be eliminated.

Cranberry Jelly or Cranberry relish? I’m a recently converted relish fan. Love it on turkey sandwiches and love it as a topping on turkey, gravy and waffles, which is our go to leftover meal (stuffing waffles are good but we usually don’t have enough left over to make them)—BMAN13

I’ll take either one, really, but definitely prefer relish. I like a little chewiness with my turkey, not just the tarty added flavor.

We are headed to a lodge to celebrate Thanksgiving with my wife’s family this year. The Thanksgiving dinner is buffet style and we are eating at 1 p.m. as that was as late as we could get a reserved table for our large party. Given these facts is it acceptable for me to take enough turkey for a sandwich later that evening? I know in general buffets are eat as much as you’d like while at the table only, but with this being Thanksgiving I feel like there should be some leftover sandwich leeway.—MJBPSU

I think this seems fine to me! Especially if you bring a bag or tupperware with you - you’re being obvious about it, after all, and if it’s already on your plate, they aren’t going to reuse it.

My wife and I made an agreement that since we’re getting our bedroom redone, instead of Christmas gifts we’ll just buy a new bedroom set. I’m skeptical that she will adhere to this agreement though, as I’m sure there will potentially be gifts to me from our daughter, or from one of the pets, or potentially even on behalf of her mom (she always buys all the gifts for others from her mom every year anyway). So my question is how should I approach this? Do I buy her gifts in anticipation she bought me some? Do I adhere to our agreement and potentially disappoint her? On the flip side if I get her a bunch of gifts and she didn’t get me anything she’ll feel bad.

Note: I plan to actually discuss this with her, so I’m not going to just wing it and hope I’m right, but wanted to solicit thoughts.—Succss With Honor Always

I’d definitely get her something - even if it’s a small, inexpensive (but sentimental) gift, get her something. For some folks, the giving of gifts is their love language but taking the time and care to pick something out for those same folks means the world. It’s not about the fact that you’re giving a gift - it’s about the thought behind it. So I’m sure the fact that you’re being cognizant of her feelings and asking these questions goes a long way, in my opinion.

What are your favorite holiday jingles? These can be Christmas carols, Hanukkah hymns, Kwanzaa songs, Festivus follies. Jingle bells sung by dogs? Adam Sandler’s 8 Crazy nights? Mele Kalikimaka?—LarxLion

My favorite Chirstmas song is “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams (and his first Christmas album is hands-down my favorite Christmas album, though modern versions of it that don’t have the skip that I grew up listening to on our record player during Silent Night just feel wrong somehow).

I also love Julie Andrews’ Christmas album, and, more recently, Kelly Clarkson’s. As for one-off songs, I love “Where Are You Christmas?” by Faith Hill and basically any version of Carol of the Bells, and Silver Bells.

Also this one:

Bucknell 76, Penn State 67: PATHETIC.

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