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BSD Mailbag 11.4.22

all the answers to your burning questions! and if it’s burning too much, you probably should see a physician.

Penn State v Purdue Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

How many BSD posters’ heads explode if Allar starts any of the remaining games?

1) < 5

2) 5 - 20

3) >20

4) None because even though many “Cliff all the way” posts were made we were secretly rooting for an Allar start.

5) It’s 0930 local time and anOSU and Michigan still suck.—PSU_Lions_84

I mean, it’s obvious that it’s #5.

Without that option, though, it would be either 2 or 3. There are more than 5 whose heads would explode, and there are definitely folks whose head won’t explode because not everyone (myself included) necessarily wanted Allar to start.

I’m firmly in the camp, and this year (and prior position controversies) has done nothing to dissuade me of my opinion, that the coaches see far more than we do, every day, and in practice, so they know better who is prepared to start and win each game. That coupled with the fact that if we think we’re competitive, we’re nothing compared to the coaching staff of a power 5 footbal team (especially the head coach) and the folks who openly and vitriolically and unironically say that the only reason that Sean Clifford has started is because he’s best friends with James Franklin aren’t using their best logic, or any logic. Of course, the buck always stops with the head coach - and it should. But the offensive coordinator and the other members of the coaching staff would undoubtedly have a lot to say about things (possibly even publicly!) if that was the reason for a position’s starter! Does anyone really think that Mike Yurcich wouldn’t tell Franklin to go pound sand if Allar was clearly the better option? Maybe we wouldn’t see those exact words in the press, but those on the PSU football beat have long shown little compunction for printing dirty laundry within the program, and he would absolutely have an outlet to get the word out there anonymously if that is what was happening.

Are we even sure that Franklin’s not just publicly saying that he loves Clifford, while privately pushing Allar towards the front in his OC’s mind? Truly, anything is possible since we’re not in those rooms; anyone who claims certainty has no idea what they are talking about.

If Allar starts, Allar starts, and I wish him to succeed. If Clifford starts, Clifford starts and I wish him to succeed. Either way, next year this is Drew Allar’s team and I’m excited about what the future holds.

After watching both the OSU and UM losses, I was trying to figure out who has the better team, OSU or UM. Both games PSU had leads in the 2nd half and both ended with lopsided scores. Granted, PSU hung in the game with OSU longer, but that could be because the game was at home and other factors. I do think UM seems to be the better team, but OSU has the better QB. PSU hung around in the UM game longer than they probably should have as UM seems to have a better OL and DL and for the most part dominated much of the game. OSU couldn’t get the run game going (credit to the boys in Blue) but the QB is a stud. What do you think?—LarzLIon

Year to date, Ohio State is better than Michigan and I’m not so sure it’s close; our team just matched up far more favorably with Ohio State’s style of play. And also, we had a game plan going into the OSU game (and it worked a lot of the time!) which seemed incredibly lacking when the team played in Ann Arbor.

I’m shocked that there were no questions about it, but the most concerning things to me about both losses isn’t the loss themselves, or the final margin of victory. It’s the fact that the team did not respond well to the embarrassment in either case, with throwing pg&js at the Michigan team in the tunnel a few weeks ago (though after what happened with MSU, that seems tame) and some players refusing to stay out on the field for the alma mater after OSU. I’ve not seen widespread reports of the latter, and I do understand frustration, but that’s a respect thing that I’m not seeing.

Yes or No: CV portals before spring practice?

Yes or No: Beau portals before spring practice?—Smee

Yes to the first, and no to the second. Christian Veilleux had a long list of programs courting him before he came to Penn State, including a number of good power five programs, so I have no doubt that he’ll land on his feet and do well, not dissimilar to Kentucky’s success with Will Levis (though if, in two years, there are PSUers who are lamenting that Drew Allar is our quarterback over Veilleux I’ll be shocked to say the least).

Beau Pribula will likely be here at least one more year - if Veilleux does transfer, that means Pribula will be the primary backup next season and primed to play a significant role. I doubt he leaves unless or until he’s passed on the depth chart by someone younger; if he establishes himself, he could be the starter in 2025 and 2026 (if Allar does go to the draft after his junior season).

How many punts to win? Have we ever had a QB punt other than Christian Hackenberg?—PhillyLion

Matt Senneca actually punted a few times during the dark years! And couldn’t this be considered a punt more recently than that?

Is it time for CJF’s goatee to go? On one hand, its hopelessly dated and a full beard would look better/more contemporary. On the other hand, he might just want to hang on to it until it comes back in style. I mean, the 80’s look is popular right now with mullets, etc - it won’t be too much longer until the 90’s make a comeback with the Stone Cold Steve Austin look.—vern05

I’m probably not the best person to ask because I’ll always say full beard over practically anything (as long as the man can grow a full, non-patchy beard). As long as Fumi likes it, I’m sure it’ll stay.

How much influence does an athletic director have on a college football team’s win loss record? How detrimental is a weak director? Or vice versa. Peace emoji.—PSU1979dude

There’s not a lot of DIRECT influence that an AD has (aside from hiring a new coach, or firing an underperforming one). But there’s a ton that an AD can do that affects wins and losses more indirectly!

Most ADs have a job that is pretty sales-oriented, but what they’re selling is the school to potential donors. And if the AD is good at that part of their job, there will be windfall - money for stadium or facility renovations or upgrades, money to hire the perfect coach, money to bring in entertainment or coordinators that make the game day special (and keep folks buying tickets to come back for more). Aside from raising money to pay a buyout of and underperforming coach or of the coach you want to hire, none of that directly impacts wins and losses; but it can impact recruiting, it can impact the calibre of assistant coaches that the program is able to bring on board, and it can impact the perception of national media entities that help shape the narratives surrounding college football on a week to week basis.

I don’t think a weak director is necessarily super detrimental, if you have a strong foundation and a strong football program; Penn State had a number of not great ADs under Paterno, and while the program only has two titles to its name, I don’t think AD was detrimental. But college football is very different in an NIL era now, and sales are incredibly important. I’m excited to see what Kraft can do here.

Those of us of a certain age grew up knowing there was a bias against northeastern football. To wit: unrecognized PSU unbeaten seasons in ‘68, ‘69, and ‘73. This was a known and accepted part of life. Are recruiting rankings just a self-fulfilling prophecy drawn from the same cloth? If a kid gets recruited by ‘Bama or whoever and their OMG Starz increase, isn’t that a rigged system? I went back through the 247 recruiting rankings (Here: to the years 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, 2020, and 2023. I looked for kids in the Top 200 who were listed as being from PA. Here are how many I found:

2000 - 3 (Note: they only ranked the Top 120 this year)

2005 - 4 (Note: this and all other years are Top 200)

2010 - 4

2015 - 4

2020 - 2

2023 - 2

Caveats: I would have gone back further but the rankings start in 2000. Also, they don’t allow you to sort by state, so this is a visually-scanned list and could be off by one here or there.

In other words, PA has never, at least since the advent of these rankings, had a huge quantity of kids getting top ranks. Which, again for those of us with memories, agrees with our recollection of how things used to be. Assuming just a reasonably even distribution based on current HS football participation, PA should have at least seven or eight kids ranked in the Top 200 every year. To hit home that point, in the 2023 recruiting class, the state of Alabama has 5 kids ranked in the Top 30 and 7 in the Top 50. I simply can’t believe that’s an accurate accounting of high school talent around the country - especially the northeast. I didn’t buy the northeast bias in the 70’s and I ain’t buying it now.—Smee

I do think a lot of it is a self-fulfilling thing. Look no further than Justin Fields; Penn State offered early, seeing something in him that they wanted on their team. He was a decent recruit when PSU offered him; after that offer but before he committed, his hometown Bulldogs offered, as did other SEC schools. But it wasn’t until Texas, Oregon, Alabama, Florida, and Florida State offered that he really started getting taken seriously, and his decommitment felt like a matter of time.

I don’t think that means that there aren’t a huge chunk of very, very talented players in the south; many southern high school districts work football year-round, which is tougher to do in the north. But there is definitely some cache when you’ve got Alabama under Nick Saban in your backyard, with his staff at your school and watching your games. It’s tougher to fly under the radar down south than it is in the northeast.

With the new NIL rules in place and almost a year in, should we rethink our stance at tweeting at recruits? DDS recently went into partnership with a Dodge dealer, and he needs to understand why Mopar is a poor choice.—mattinglywasking

I mean, I just think that tweeting at recruits is gauche, with or without NIL. We’re always out here representing our University, for good or for ill, and if we’re constantly putting down players or saying inane shit - that’s stuff that sticks with recruits, and their families. No matter what they might publicly say, there are always at least a few folks close to highly touted recruits who do social media searches for their names so they are seeing what you’re saying, not just about them, but about players that are less touted or that are well liked in the locker room but not on the field. And if a player is waffling, that can put him in the wrong direction.

That being said, I went to the p-man a short while ago solely because they have a deal with Gabriel Nwosu, so…

Walking out of Beaver this past weekend, our stadium crew was playing an Imagine Dragons song where the chorus repeated “I’m never changing who I am.” Where we had played them even or better for the whole game, it seemed overly harsh, no?—JayMPSU

I am positive they do not tailor their playlists with that amount of specificity. If they did, they would never play the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” before or during a night game after making a big show of playing it pregame in 2009 vs Iowa and then getting their asses handed to them. Why, yes, I’m still bitter and will likely never be over it - why do you ask?

PSU volleyball legend Nicole Fawcett is now an assistant coach at tOSU, who has beaten us twice this season and is currently ranked #6 in the country. I know Nicole if “from” Ohio, but what must be done to get her back home?—MJBPSU

I mean, Megan Courtney is also from Ohio, and she’s helping teach younger kids and not Ohio State! That being said, BSD alum Clay Sauertieg and I have been having a lot of chats this year about the state of the program, and where we go from here. The volleyball team hasn’t been horrible this year under new coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley - but the fact that we probably have the least amount of talent on the court that we’ve had in 20 years, coupled with the erratic play not just from game to game but sometimes from set to set, makes us agree that it’s likely she’s not a longterm solution here.

I don’t know if they did an extensive search and most more-serious names took themselves out of contention so as not to be the coach that followed an icon, or if there truly wasn’t a great search that took place, I do think that Schumacher-Cawley gets a second year, especially since Hugh McCutcheon is retiring at Minnesota and you don’t want to compete with a program that hired the US Women’s coach. If things don’t turn up in the transfer portal this offseason and on the court in 2023, I think Kraft makes a splashy volleyball hire his first big hire at Penn State.

How do all the companies that usually run ads on TV stay in business during election season?—bva-psu

Could it be that they don’t actually need to pay money for television ads that most of us fast forward through anyway??

So, a few years ago I tinkered with the notion of starting my own business. Part of that tinkering included contacting Home Advisor to see how that whole deal works with leads and what-not. I soured on their model fairly quickly, partly because it’s basically a “we get ours, whether you get yours or not” system, but also because they CONSTANTLY got my name wrong. Anyway, here we are a few years later and I STILL get POLITICAL texts referring to me by the same incorrect name that ONLY Home Advisor ever called me, meaning that Home Advisor VERY clearly freely sold my information to whoever came nocking.

My question is: Is that some bullshit, or what?!—LocalYocal

It happens far more often than you know; does anyone truly read 100% of the fine print when they’re signing up for stuff?

One of the things my brother (cyber guy) taught me is that if you have gmail, you can add a “+” or a .extension to your email address to track who is tracking you, and who sold your email address, so as to never do business with those folks again.

MT. DEW flavors. I just saw Fruit Craze which is supposed to be fruit cake. Voodoo, I think was supposed to be candy corn. Original flavor, solid. Code Red also good. Live Wire (orange) is my personal favorite. Baja Blast is also a nice change up, but it seems like they are coming up with flavors that are more of a dare than a flavor choice. Not limited to Mountain Dew, but favorite non standard flavor, if any? And worst, if any?

Next, curious if this is a Central Ohio thing or if other folks are seeing this at their grocery stores. Kroger, in particular puts items on the top shelf. I am 6’2” and if it is at the back of the shelf even I, with a wingspan wider than I am tall, have to stretch to get some items. I find at least twice a trip I ending up asking someone if they need help getting an item. My wife is 5’ even, so I am kind of attuned to this, but is Safeway, Shoppers, etc in your area doing this?

Football question. Is the Illinois defense a threat to Michigan in the regular season? Michigan does have that one at home.—Former_DC_Buck

I’m not a huge mountain dew fan but my aforementioned brother did bring hard mountain dew to the Ohio State tailgate last weekend, and those were a hit! The variety pack had the original and baja blast, if that tickles your fancy.

And you’re absolutely right that there’s always a ton of stuff on the top shelves, but it’s store-specific how much taller those “tall” shelves are. In State College, for example, the local Wegmans has aisles that feel shorter than the local Weis, so you don’t need to be 6’ tall in order to do all of your shopping (I can reach everything, and I’m 5’8”).

What is the maximum number of questions before a “brief survey” is no longer a “brief survey”? I usually don’t respond to them, but last week the wife and I had to go to the bank to do some things that couldn’t be done online, could only be done at a branch. The woman that helped us was absolutely fantastic, very professional, helpful, pleasant, etc. I even told my wife when we were in the car afterward that this would be one of those times I will respond to a survey asking about our experience. So, I got said “brief survey” in my email and it ended up being 15 questions/ratings. IMHO, anything over five is no longer brief.—LTFT

I’m with you - five seems like a good barometer. Fifteen isn’t brief, and it’s not really a survey at that point - it’s a questionnaire. And there’s nothing wrong with that! But be up front about the time and care it might take to fill out said “survey”.

Are you a spring forward or fall back type of person? I love to sleep. So I gotta go with fall back.—swift_retribution

If I had to pick one, it’s definitely fall back because I like the extra hour of sleep (side note: daylight savings is ending this upcoming weekend, so congrats on that extra hour!).

I’d much prefer either permanent daylight savings, or permanently off daylight savings, though. I never remember when it is (and in fact had to ask Alexa for the dates for this here answer) and while it made sense in the 19th century, it doesn’t make as much sense now.

To expand on the spring-forward, fall-back topic... ‘Murican’s are advanced enough we shouldn’t have to live in winter. Given that the number of democracies in the southern hemisphere are limited and mostly on the other side of the planet, should the United States subsume Uruguay and make it a state so we can spend December - March in summer?—Smee

Who are you ridiculous people who don’t like winter and how did you get that way?

I love having all four seasons, and though I’ve often toiled with the idea of moving somewhere in the southwest US due to the drier air (and therefore, fewer migraine triggers), ultimately those thoughts are very shortlived because I love having all FOUR seasons. Oh, and being able to go to PSU home games every year

When you get the “password will expire in 15 days message”, do you:

A) change it immediately

B) change it sometime between days 2-14

C) wait until the last day–LTFT

Oh, I always wait until the last day unless the last day happens to be a day that I will be off of work. And unfortunately, when dealing with a lot of PII and PHI in your day to day, pushing it off has a lot of negative consequences…

How do you eat leftover pizza the next day?

1. Microwave

2. Heat in oven

3. Heat in skillet

4. Eat cold

To me the only wrong answer is 1. 2 and 3 are best. 4 is doable if 2-3 is not available.—bva-psu

Honestly, as with so much, it depends on the pizza. I do try to avoid microwaving if at all possible, but I’ve definitely been stuck on a work trip with nothing but a microwave and leftover pizza in the minifridge so do give it a good zap.

My favorite method when I’m at home, though, is one that didn’t appear on your list - and that’s the air fryer. My air fryer reheats pizza so perfectly, with the crust crisp and perfect and the cheese gooey and bubbly. It’s my go-to appliance if I had to pick one.