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BSD Mailbag July 7, 2023

You asked, we answered!

Scrapple cooks on Monday, November 5, 2018. Photo by Jeremy Drey Photo By Jeremy Drey/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Hi Chris, can I interest you in purchasing an F150? It’s a southern truck, no rust issues. Engine is strong, tires have about 80% tread left. - vern05

You cannot! For starters, I’m not a truck guy. I certainly see the appeal from a utilitarian perspective, and gosh darned if there haven’t been times my mighty CR-V has been unable to haul stuff from Lowe’s, but as a regular day-to-day vehicle they’re just not for me. Add on top of that, I have a deep-seated, generational dislike for Fords (my dad was a Dodge/Chrysler guy, and his incessant “Fix or repair daily” jokes apparently wormed their way into my subconscious), and there aren’t very many situations where I would purchase an F150.

A gift, for free? Perhaps, but are you gonna pay my insurance premium too? If yes, then sure, why not. My hardware store trips just became more dangerous because I can now haul things home unhindered. Otherwise, nah.

Why will Penn State win the NC in at least one of the next two years? - LocalYocal

A combination of defense and quarterback play, with general roster improvement as a backstop.

James Franklin has recruited quite well, and the team has quality depth at virtually every position - even the two biggest question marks heading into 2023 (defensive tackle and wide receiver) have a plethora of bodies and experience, they simply need a couple people to take the next step. The defense is electric, especially with Manny Diaz calling up exotic pressures, I just don’t see them falling off that much from 2022, and I could make a strong argument that they’ll be better in 2023-2024.

The biggest thing that has been missing for the Nittany Lions has been stellar quarterback play. That’s not to say that Sean Clifford played poorly - I am a big fan of his, and thought he did well in getting the team two New Year’s Six bowl wins in his starting tenure. But the Lions haven’t had a Trevor Lawrence or a Justin Fields (sighhhhhhhhh). I think Drew Allar can be that guy. He’s big, he has a laser rocket arm, he’s had a season to marinate before taking over the reins, and he has the luxury of a dynamite pair of running backs to lean on while he fully gets his feet under him as the starter.

The combination of defense and great quarterback play should firmly put the Lions in every single game, regardless of opponent or location, and the overall roster talent will pull the Lions through sometime in the next 2 years.

Chris, or any other highly qualified contributors-

Best ways to save and have guaranteed retirement income that doesn’t dry up? I’m a school teacher is Ohio and get a pension when I retire. I also have some money set aside in low risk stuff. Wife has 401k (she and her company contribute max amounts) but markets can fluctuate and she’s seen almost 1/3 of that value go down recently. We’re also putting money into 529 college plan for daughter. We have 6-8 months of bills in savings. How would you advise us? - mrb23

The best answer is to speak with a financial expert, at an institution you trust with such things. They’re going to give you the best advice based on what your specific goals are, and find the best vehicles for your risk tolerance.

Beyond that, I’d say it sounds like you’re checking off most of the boxes. If you have any debt (mortgage notwithstanding), especially debt that’s carrying interest over 5%, you should pay that off ASAP. Being debt-free is the #1 thing you can do to free up your finances.

Maxing out tax-advantaged accounts such as IRAs and 401Ks are always the next choice, because you avoid some of the penalties associated with traditional investment vehicles.

And bear in mind that recent market fluctuations are a historical anomaly. Over a long enough time period, the market always goes up. So if you have all of your other boxes checked off, I’d check out a low-fee investment account, and look into an index fund. They’re essentially “set it and forget it” type funds, that will have good returns on average.

Other options to invest could include real estate, though the landlord situation appears to be losing favorability, and outright purchasing/selling properties are fairly contingent on the market, which could be looking at a bubble burst in the not too distant future.

Hi Chris! I like to eat my Scrapple with King syrup along side of scrambled eggs. How do you eat your Scrapple? - PascalsDog

Reading some other Penn State blogs and MAN! are commenters there a bunch of drama queens when it comes to recruiting! What is a middle-of-the-road stance to take on recruiting? Personally, I am interested but try not to agonize if players A/B/C lose interest in us and choose other schools (esp. if those “other schools” are not in the B1G). - PSU_Lions_84

I’m typically of the mindset that the staff are the best evaluators of talent for their specific needs/system/etc. I think the blue chip ratio (BCR) is a real thing, and generally you’d prefer a 4-star over a 3-star, but if the staff accepts the commitment of a lower-rated recruit over a higher-rated one, it’s for a good reason. That reason could again be scheme/fit, could be interest from the recruit, could be NIL; there are a lot of factors. But I agree, on a single recruit-by-recruit basis, getting upset seems wrong.

In general, I do look at the BCR however. If it’s a small class, but the average rating is in the four-star range, then all good. If it’s a huge class, but it’s nothing but lower-rated recruits, I tend to get a bit more concerned - especially if that’s the only recruiting “success” a team has for multiple years on end. But yes, getting worked up over any single recruit is not a great idea.

If you could pick three TV characters from any show, past or present, to go out for a night of drinking and shenanigans, who would be your three? - LTFT

Jimmy McGill (Better Call Saul), Coach Beard (Ted Lasso), and Gaby (Shrinking).

All three are down for a good time, with Beard being the one who likely gets us way off into the deep end. From there, Gaby can chill with the best of them, but when things get heavy, she can help us all talk it out and work through some things. And when we inevitably run into the fuzz, Jimmy can get us out of trouble (never mind that he’s likely the reason we’re in trouble to begin with).


I was recently at my daughter’s softball game and introduced myself to the umpire. He then jokingly says my name repeatedly, which I didn’t understand. I asked him to clue me in on the joke, and he said, “oh, you’re never seen the movie Friday?” I said no, I’ve heard of it, but have never seen in. The head coach of the team also chimed in, saying “that may not be your kind of movie”. This got me thinking:

What older movie(s) have you never seen before, but others have and would mock you for not watching? - mrb23

For a movie to be “older” it would likely need to be from the 70s or earlier, maybe even the 60s. I watched a bunch of movies growing up, so I’m not sure that this would really be a flex for someone. If I haven’t seen a reasonably popular movie, I’ve typically heard or seen the popular scenes therein. So short answer is I don’t really have an answer for you.

Tangentially, I did recently go on a binge of “classic” movies I hadn’t seen from that era, to see what the hubbub was - 2001: A Space Odyssey, Taxi Driver, and A Clockwork Orange, to name a few. While I can see how the films may have been revolutionary (or at least very popular) at the time they came out, I have to say they just pale in comparison to modern movies. I’m not talking about visuals, because the technology of the time was obviously limited, but general plot, pacing, etc. are just way off compared to today’s movies. In a nutshell, the storytelling simply was “slow” in all three movies, and I found myself checking my phone just to pass the time while watching them. Many modern movies are 2+ hours and can feel rather rushed with how much story they’re trying to tell; those movies all felt like they could have been half the run time (or less) and the story would have been unchanged.

Oftentimes, when several sports teams win championships in the same year the city that they hail from is often referred to as “The City of Champions” until the next city that accomplishes this takes the moniker. Would you say that Philly deserves the “City of Runners-up” for last years coming in second place in the Super Bowl and World Series?

asking for a friend. - LarzLion

Some of you may know this, but I don’t particularly care for Philadelphia. My parents were both New Yorkers, so I’m a NY fan for the two sports you mentioned (Giants and Mets), and I’m also a Devils fan. I grew up in Harrisburg, where at least two thirds of all people I talked to were Philly fans, simply from a proximity thing. Then, I had the opportunity to visit Philly on a regular basis for about a year after college, and not a single thing happened to dissuade me from my dislike of the teams, and then by extension the city itself.

So with that backdrop in mind, I think “The City of Losers” is the most apt name. Luckily for you, that moniker can shift around fairly quickly (Miami, for instance, just lost both the NBA and NHL finals). But yes, I think “The City of Losers” has a nice ring to it.

The big noon is absolute dogshit and I hate it. If you are a top team, you get 2, maybe 3 high quality home games per year. And now all the sudden those aren’t going to be night games? All for a couple of extra bucks that mostly line the pockets of like 10 TV executives. What an absolute crock of shit.

Discuss. - psuphysicist

I do love the spectacle of the night games, but I also value my fall Saturdays beyond just college football (I know, blasphemy). Particularly once the weather turns cold, having an earlier kick means you can get your game over with and either move on to celebrating or, I dunno, raking leaves or what have you. For what it’s worth, The Game has been played at noon for forever, and I don’t hear much complaining from those two fanbases over it.

The really good teams will still have night games, and Penn State is in that tier, so overall I wouldn’t fret it too much.

This question is more for the devotees of PSU MBB, but Chris can answer also if he would like.

How do you feel about the new coach and the direction of the program? The student athletes signed from the portal?

From 30000 feet, it seems positive, but admittedly I did not read all of the comments or message boards from the signings. I would be curious to hear what the devoted fanbase’s feelings are. - LarzLion

I thought Micah Shrewsberry did a great job with the team, getting to the second round of the NCAA tournament and being competitive, and it wasn’t until he left that I realized how poor of a situation he left the team in. While not under sanctions, I can’t help but feel at least a similar parallel to Bill O’Brien - two good-to-great years (given what the team was expecting) followed by a swift exit, and then the fanbase realizing things actually were not left in a great place.

So far I’m liking what Mike Rhoades has done, though it does seem like Penn State is now “VCU North” with a smattering of transfer players. Would the Lions have gotten some of those transfers with Shrews? Maybe. I think NIL was a big problem that’s still being worked on, so perhaps Rhoades has a leg up there. But for a bball team that hadn’t made the tourney in 12 years, really anything can be viewed as progress. It seems like the last 2-3 years things have generally improved, and I think Rhoades is still heading in the right direction.