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2018 NCAA Div I Wrestling Championships Session Six
this time couldn’t have been called a fluke.

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BSD Mailbag 10.13.23

Our answers to your questions are a little shorter this homecoming week!

Is the September 7, 1991 thrashing of Cincinnati to the tune of 81-0 at peril this week as a modern-era margin of victory and shutout?—Smee

It could very well be, but I lean towards no. UMass is better than their lack of logos suggest (though Penn State is legitimately one of the best teams in the nation). On offense, in particular, the Minutemen are actually pretty average - the issue for them is, though, that this week they’re up against a defense that is simply ELITE, and the best they’ll face by far all season.

Debbie Downer alert.

Imagine it is October 25th, 2023 and Penn State has recently vanquished the Buckeyes in Columbus. What are the chances that rumors start to circulate that CJF is going to Texas A&M, ND or the NFL in a ploy to renegotiate his contract?—LarzLion

I wouldn’t bet against it, and not just because I don’t bet.

Any time there’s been relative success since Franklin has arrived at Penn State, his name’s been associated with big openings. But while I’ve never been one to think Franklin was seriously considering leaving, I think it’s even less likely after this season; no longer will Penn State have to play Michigan and Ohio State every year, and with the playoffs expanding, if the last few years are any indicator, PSU will be in the discussion more often than not. Couple those two things with a seemingly-more fundraising adept AD, a staff that has turned down opportunities to lead other programs in order to stay position coaches under him, and an NIL collective that looks like it’s getting better (even incrementally), I’d be hard pressed to see a situation that is more favorable for Franklin to fulfill his dream of being the first Black head coach to win a national title.

Hi Cari,

Let’s say you were a fan of a different B1G team, and your non-conference schedule the last two years looked something like say this:

vs Colorado State

vs Hawaii

vs UConn

vs East Carolina

vs UNLV

vs Bowling Green

Would you go on other team’s message boards and tell them “ACKSHULLY my team has a tough schedule coming up, in fact it’s tougher than your teams”? Or is your skin ever so slightly thicker than tissue paper?—vern05

I think I have pretty thick skin when it comes to things like this, and tend to be a realist and not solely a homer. I also don’t comment on other teams’ message boards; I just like to lurk, especially after we win and destroy their confidence.

But listen - Michigan’s a GREAT football team! It’s astounding to me that so many folks in a fan base (and it’s definitely not all of them, I know a lot of great Michigan fans) are so equally overly arrogant and prone to self-victimization. It’s a bit astounding to me.

But also it’s not because look at their head coach.

Jacksonville State University, in their first year of FBS status, will host Liberty the evening of Tuesday, October 10, and has called for a “White Out”:

As PSU fans, are we pro, anti, or indifferent, to other teams attempting a white-out?—Precious Roy

I think it’s adorable whenever other teams try this! They should continue to do so, especially when we come to town to play, because it always works and their fans never abandon the stadium well before our visiting fans do.

Who is your favorite underrated current or former Penn State Nittany Lion wrestler?

Who is your favorite underrated current or former Penn State Nittany Lion football player?

Who is your favorite underrated current or former Penn State non-athlete?—Gerry Dincher

Underrated is the key to these, right? Because undoubtedly Zain Retherford, whose 2nd period rideout of Logan Stieber has been on every phone’s lock screen for me in the almost decade since it’s occurred, and Bo “he’s got the chin!” Nickal are two all-time favorites for me in terms of wrestlers. But underrated? Definitely not, especially since Zain’s now a world champ and Bo is succeeding in the octagon.

It’s hard for me to justify a two-time national champ as “underrated”, but I’m going to do it in this context and pick Vincenzo Joseph. Because, yeah, he was a very heralded recruit, and yeah he was a two-time champ. But in both of those title-winning years (and I do believe he’dve been a three-peater if not for COVID), he was the underdog and beat the self-anointed greatest Isaiah Martinez, the first time by pin when he was already up. Having pinned IMar one year and then still being an underdog to him when we know never to count out PSUers on Saturdays in March? That’s pretty much the definition of underrated.

As for a Nittany Lion football player who was underrated, there’s a plethora to choose from and I could name so many - Jordan Norwood, the least heralded of the triplets but the one with the surest hands; Gerald Hodges, who was so solid and got far less press than his corps-mate Mike Mauti; Bill Belton, who shushed the crowd in Iowa and whose wildcat ways led to one of PSU’s few wins in Columbus.

But I’m gonna go farther back (though still this century) and even more unexpected and say Zack Mills. He was undoubtedly a great player and showed out early on at PSU, but ultimately the lack of playmakers around him and the need to put his body on the line time and again did him in, and he’s not remembered as fondly as he really should be. Without him, those dark years become even darker.

My favorite underrated non-athlete Penn Stater is my mom.

Do you think our Women’s Volleyball team will ever be dominate again? Is the conference too deep and strong for that now?—JayMPSU

I don’t think any women’s volleyball team, Penn State or not, will dominate again. There’s just so much more parity in the sport - and so many more young athletes are going into volleyball, that fielding a rotation of 6 or 8 elite athletes in women’s volleyball isn’t enough anymore. And it’s not just the top ten that are completely stocked with talent; it’s the top twenty five, maybe even more, and rhythm and vibes and an opponent’s off-night can mean anyone can win on a given day.

It’s exciting if you’re a fan of the sport, but it’s not as exciting if you only tune in to watch Penn State go undefeated. What we did in 2007 - 2010 will never be replicated - and I’d be surprised if anyone ever comes close.

What do you think about Utah NIL giving all of their football scholarship players a paid lease and paid insurance on a brand new Dodge Ram Pickup truck. It’s their’s as long as they are on the team. Looks like a good way to keep players out of the Portal. If you go into the portal then immediately lose your wheels.—ageing lion

I think it’s fine; do whatever you can to try to keep your players. If the player is good enough and intent enough upon leaving, this isn’t going to stop them - as any team that they’d likely want to transfer to would offer them something pretty similar (or the cash equivalent).

I did hear that around 30% of players who enter the transfer portal end up without a scholarship, and that makes me sad - too many players getting bad advice, sounds like.

What is your favorite stop, watering hole, stretch opportunity on your journey to State College?

For me, it was the Red Rabbit drive in on 322 north of Harrisburg. Was a good spot for a hot dog, dusty rhodes sundae and a tinkle whether you are coming from the Philadelphia are or up 15 from the DC area.—LarzLion

When I was growing up, before we would take the highway and bypass all the way up from Maryland to Happy Valley, my favorite stop was always at the Tastee Freez we passed on the way up. It’s long-since closed (I don’t remember if it was in Mechanicsburg or McConnellsburg, as my little kid brain always mixed up those towns we drove through) but I always loved it - and since we didn’t stop every time, it was a treat when we did.

The last decade or so, it’s always Sheetz for me. Likely the one in Bedford, just before you get on 99 north - because you’re only about an hour out from Happy Valley at that point.

What’s the most you will spend on art for your home? I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I must have expensive taste because I’m looking at the price for paintings from local artists and it’s well outside my budget. I’m also fine with settling for a nicely framed print but my partner thinks that is cheap.—MightyMax409

I’m not cheap but I don’t have super expensive tastes. I have some art pieces worth a few hundred dollars on my walls, and I’m definitely open to spending more if the piece speaks to me in some way. I highly doubt I’d spend more than low four figures, though.

I have a client that is buying an 18,000 sq ft house near Scottsdale, AZ for $25mil. I was telling my wife about it and made the comment that even if money was no object, I wouldn’t want a house anywhere near that big. Her response was that she probably wouldn’t either, but that it’s easy to say that when it’s not an option. So my question is, if money wasn’t an option, how big would your dream house be?—LTFT

With all of the powerball talk, like so many I’ve thought about this. My ideal house would have a master suite on the first floor, plus a guest bedroom with en suite and laundry room on that floor (along side a huge kitchen, family room with fire place). The upper floor would have an office, a library, and three more guest bedrooms with a laundry shoot. I’d also like a massive tv room with surround sound, but I don’t know where I’d put that - wherever it makes sense - and I’d like a shaded patio and plunge pool, with a fenced-in yard (and a garage).

I didn’t fully answer how big, but in laying all that out, I’d guess around 6,000 - 7,000 square feet would suit my needs pretty well. I need to set aside some money for pool maintenance, naturally.

I farm over 4000 acres. I would like to know the panel’s attitude to the viability of cereal production in the EEC.—Alf PIke’s OT Winner

I know that what you typed are technically words, and in an order that suggests english. But seriously - I googled this and it sounds like it’s pretty viable right now? Feed use of cereals looks like it’s anticipated to remain stable in the short term, increasing (albeit not exponentially) in the export market. That’s about all I’ve got.

Loki Season 2 is off and running. Any thoughts after one episode?—Smee

I’m so spoiled in this day and age, in that I can’t just watch one episode on its own. I need to binge - so I haven’t watched episode one yet, and won’t until the season is over.

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