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University of Illinois vs Penn State University Set Number: X83035 TK1

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BSD Mailbag 9.15.23

This week, we talk Illinois, streaming Penn State games, and have a brief foray into other sports!

Considering how horrible Illinois defense is, do you think we score 50 or more?—Jiminsantafe

The possibility is there, absolutely - but I can’t discount Illinois just yet. I do appreciate that Illinois had to get a new defensive coordinator after Ryan Walters was hired to be the head coach at Purdue, and they’ve lost some key players, but I remember being near-equally confident in 2021 and look what happened?

Of course, quarterback depth and a starter that wasn’t just injured are two big, BIG differences between this year and two years ago - and the 2018 football game (a Friday night snoozer where PSU scored 63, including 35 unanswered in the fourth quarter, to Illinois’ 24) may end up being a more appropriate comparison. But I’ve got visions of 8 man offensive lines with no defensive adjustments being made flashing bright red in my head, and I’ll probably always be apprehensive.

Tim Beckman ain’t knocking on our team members’ doors anymore, folks.

Will the last game with Illinois, the 9 overtime affair be remembered as fondly as the 6-4 Iowa game in terms of futility?—LarzLion

God, I certainly hope not. Though every time we trudged back and forth across the field from the student end zone to the visitor endzone, it felt like a little more of me died two years ago. Where was the dang bullpen cart, guys??

Can’t believe this has escaped me to this point, especially considering that it’s probably been chatted about right here, but is this year’s the most awesome schedule we’ve had in a long time? I mean, even setting aside the thought that we have a particularly strong team, has there ever been a sweeter set up?




Iowa (not because they’re a threat, but because the whoopin’ they got coming is gonna expend a lot of energy...)




aOSU (and lookin’ kinda vulnerable this year?)






No crushing back-to-backs or back-to-back-to-backs? B1G REALLY screwed up!—LocalYocal

Penn State can’t have nice things, so I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. Does Northwestern really have their shit together more than we all anticipate? Is Rutgers actually (*gasp*) decent this year? Something’s going to mess up what, on paper, looks to be very favorable.

Hope for the best and prepare for the worst, as I always say.

“Fan” is, of course, shorthand for “fanatic” which pretty much implies insanity with no boundaries. However, in practical terms, is there a limit that should not be crossed? Am reading some other Penn State websites and some folks are REALLY down on Tyler Elsdon. WAY past, “He is not athletic and shouldn’t be on the field.” I mean, it’s almost guaranteed that many of these harsh critiques are coming from people whose a) playing days, if any, are long in the past and b) BMI is probably in triple digits.

I think most people criticize an athlete’s play and that is understandable. But to attack the player him/herself seems a bit beyond the Pale. Reactions/thoughts?—PSU_Lions_84

It’s obvious that Elsdon isn’t one of the top three linebackers on the PSU squad - as evidenced by the fact that he is not starting. Just a few years ago, he’d have had to have started all season due to lack of depth at the position! There’s just no logic in some corners of the Penn State fanbase (and this isn’t unique to our folks, far from it).

Elsdon is a fine second string linebacker, who would start on many of the other teams in our conference. He is not Abdul Carter, but no one is. The two touchdowns given up this year were while he was on the field - but it’s not as though a) he was the only player on the field for Penn State at the time, or b) those were the only times he was on the field. As Colin points out, he has only been on the field for 27 snaps this year - and significantly fewer vs Delaware than WVU - and depth and in-game experience can only be a good thing.

Additionally, in the touchdown that Delaware scored this past week, though Elsdon was the most glaring defender out of position - he wasn’t the only one. He didn’t seal his gap, no question - but the entire secondary was up close to the line of scrimmage as well, and the Blue Hen player got behind 100% of defenders within a mere few seconds after the ball was snapped. That’s simply not something that’s going to happen much this season, and not just because Manny Diaz will no doubt drill the team to death against it.

Anyway, it’s fine, we’re fine, everything’s fine. Not sarcastically, for once in my life.

The Peacock experience was absolutely terrible. From the awful UI, to the inability to jump to other games without exiting the app, I was maddened. Plus, the lack of thumbnails when fast forwarding through commercials meant you just had to kind of guess when to stop. If this had been a real game, I would have lost my mind.

Did anybody actually find the experience slightly better than godawful?

YouTube TV now comes with default 4-way split screen options. On modern 85 inch TVs, this is awesome. No more bouncing around channels. The only thing you had to remember was which quadrant to highlight to get sound for that particular game. Then when it went to commercial, switch over to sound from another game.

Anyone else give the experience a go?—psuphysicist

I was at the game on Saturday, so didn’t have to deal with Peacock (and it sounds like I’m lucky in that regard). I did rewatch the game on Sunday, as I normally do, but this time because I was unable to dvr it live, I just watched the highlights once, and then the game in 60 minutes off of BTN after.

Luckily, we have Steve Jones and Jack Ham so if worst comes to worst, there’s the internet radio if the stream gets glitchy. But here’s hoping we don’t have to deal with that again for a bit...

Another peacock question. Was at the game myself. It feels like for that kind of blowout the late game commercial breaks are fewer and/or shorter. It felt like they did neither. Every possible break they went full TV timeout for a full commercial break.

Did I imagine that or was the sun stroke getting to me?—JayMPSU

I definitely felt like the game was way longer than I expected, with longer commercial breaks. It was longer than the night game on NBC the week before! Versus WVU, I stayed to sing the alma mater and was still back to my car a few minutes after 11 - just under 3.5 hours after kickoff.

I did the same on Saturday, and we didn’t get back to our tailgate in those same spots until almost 4 pm. There was a definite, quantifiable problem this week. Whether it was streaming or something else, I don’t know - but it was marked.

I was at the game & had the worst “in stadium” experience I’ve ever had. I was not in my normal seat because wife & I had two granddaughters with us. This caused me to get two extra seats that ended up on an isle. I missed over 50% of the plays and 2 TDs because someone was standing in the isle right in front of me. They would walk down about half way, stop to look for their seats and just stand there for a couple plays. Also, beer runs were a major contributing factor to this. I thought it would subside by the end of the first qtr, but noooooooo. I left the game with 4 minutes left in the second qtr, that’s how PO’d I was.

I guess stadium etiquette no longer exist.—EagleLionSly

I’m not sure stadium etiquette ever existed in the way you’re referencing - I remember coming to games in the 80s as a kid and having folks stand up in front of us. Though this past week probably saw the season’s highest number of unfamiliar fans - folks who saw this as a (cheaper) way to bring their families, like you did, but unlike you they don’t know the typical way to FAN within the stadium. I try to give a little grace to some folks who are unfamiliar, as long as they seem amenable to learning to be better.

Have we seen the end of the Saban era at Bama? While he still has a talented roster, it feels like they are a 2-3 loss team this year. I’m not suggesting he will be fired or anything, but he’s getting up there in age and Kirby seems to have surpassed him on the crootin trail. Do you think he will win another NC at Bama?—swift_retribution

I’d be very surprised if he wins another title, with such a resurgent UGA, but I don’t think his era is done quite yet.

What people forget is how unique Saban is - how elite he’s been at Bama since he got there, and how long they’ve been so elite. That’s not normal, and it shouldn’t be expected of basically anyone else (and, in my view, is a big reason why Clemson is down this year - and it’s not a huge surprise!). Saban has, in a way as sports fans, spoiled us and made us think that being at the very top of the league, with some not illogical predictions that you’d play for a national title, after being at said top for a decade and a half - is somehow not spectacular. It is. And we’re lucky to be fans of a sport and able to watch this brilliant man coach - if not so lucky to be fans of a team that, for so long, hasn’t been able to match up on the field.

Has Mel Tucker now supplanted Urban Meyer as skeeziest head coach in the B1G in the past decade?—Paebr332

Those are two important qualifiers to me - in the Big Ten, and in the past decade. I’ll allow it.

Do you have a quick pick for the WVU vs. sPitt game this weekend?

Rumor: Nardoozie is a candidate for the MSU job if when it becomes available.—LarzLion

My heart wants WVU to win (I think they’ll be much better, especially on offense, than many folks are expecting, especially behind a very good offensive line) - but my head says Pitt. Sorry to that man.

So I’m cracking up that Wisconsin lost to Wazzu because I work in Washington with a bunch of Cougs and Huskies, but have a really annoying Badger co-worker. Are there any similar teams that aren’t traditional PSU rivals that give you mild schadenfreude when they drop a game like that?—NittanyPUMA

Considering PSU is hashtag unrivaled, wouldn’t I be able to answer this in a way that means I get schadenfreude from virtually any team losing?

Taking that question in that way, I’d say Maryland right now - and I never felt that way (and in point of fact, rooted for the Terps, as I grew up in Maryland!) before they joined the Big Ten. But woo boy, since then...the continued obvious inferiority complex in so many of their fans (and some of their athletes!) has been hard to stomach.

For those outside of Penn State’s traditional recruiting footprint, I’ve enjoyed the so-far minor downfall of Clemson this year, as I can’t stand Dabo Swinney. And of course I enjoyed schadenfreude while watching Northwestern under Pat Fitzgerald lose, but now that small joy has been taken from me (for the betterment of many of his former players).

We hear about how great the tailgating is at the SEC schools.

Where do the Alabama folks set up their tailgates? The largest land mass near the stadium is a cemetery across the street.—kingkub

I wasn’t at the Alabama game when we went down there so can’t speak to the tailgating in Tuscaloosa, but I was in Auburn last year and it was pretty great! They did have a lot of lots open, and parking was inexplicably free (the university leaving free money on the table). It wasn’t as impressive as the tailgating in happy valley, though of course I’m not unbiased - I do think that the SEC has dominated the discussion so much and they’re able to tailgate in such crazy numbers so deep into the season, whereas we actually have to deal with cold weather and snow, that there’s clearly a southern centricity surrounding the concept of NCAA football tailgating.

On a scale of 1-10 (1 being “remain calm”, 10 being “the sky is falling!”), how concerned should I be about the women’s volleyball team at 4-3 to start the season? On one hand, all three losses are to teams currently ranked in the top 11 (and two in the top three), on the other hand, they weren’t very competitive in any of those matches, and they looked downright bad vs. Louisville yesterday. Like, didn’t belong in the same gym with Louisville bad. I know this team brought in a lot from the transfer portal and it is understandable that it will take some time for all these parts to mesh together. But again, they looked BAD yesterday.—MJBPSU

I’m a little concerned but not too concerned - probably around a five?

Last year, Penn State’s noncon schedule was pretty darn soft. We went something like 8-0 in non-con - because we didn’t play anyone. To the point brought up in your question, this year we played one of toughest if not THE toughest non-con schedules, with a young Florida team that started the season outside of the top ten and now is proving to be one of the best if not the best teams in the country the leadoff. The first set of that match, PSU looked like killers - but got punched in the mouth in the second set, and I think that shook us up so much that we let it carry over to multiple matches.

I actually think the WKU win will look better as the season goes on, but this early go will tell us a lot about this team down the stretch. My biggest concern has been the lack of consistent communication on the court - something that reared its head in Tampa, and again in Louisville - and if they want to get a favorable tournament draw and get out of the first weekend, they’ll have to get that figured out and practiced pretty quickly.

Jury’s still out for me as to whether Coach Katie is up to the task, but I’m still willing to give her the benefit of the doubt...for now.

Not too early for a wrestling question. Will PSU threaten Iowa’s point record at the national tournament? This could be our best lineup ever with potentially 10 All-Americans, and 4 or 5 national finalists if all stay healthy.—wvlion

There’s a REALLY good shot at it. With the transfers of Nagao and Truax, it’s not just that all of the Penn State lineup is preseason ranked right now - it’s that eight of the team’s ten starters are preseason ranked in the top THREE. That’s batshit, and I love it (though I wasn’t a fan of Nagao last year when he wrestled RBY, so we’ll see if Cael can calm down some of his seeming-antics).

Are the Giants (NFL) this bad? 40-0 and counting in an NFL game.—LarzLion

A pretty decent coach once said (and I’m paraphrasing), you’re never as good as you think you are when you win and you’re never as bad as you think you are when you lose. The Giants aren’t great (and Saquon being graded as the best pass blocker is concerning to say the least) but they’re in a competitive division, and it’s bound to get better. Right?

Would you rather be Mario Mendoza, inspiration for the Mendoza Line, who is famous for being the threshold of terrible, or whoever the person is directly 1 spot above him in all time hitting who is likely some obscure name you’ve never heard but can at least claim they was above the Mendoza Line?—Succss With Honor Always

All press is good press...right?

/the Streisand effect enters the chat

Does anybody still do console gaming here? We just got a tv and I’m considering getting back into it. The last console I owned was Sega Genesis in 1993. Sonic 2 still slaps. Played a little Call of Duty back in the 2000s at a computer gaming cafe. I dunno what I’d even play today.—Liongame

I still have my old PS3, for some reason, but never turn it on. I’d be interested in more comments as to what folks play, besides the Switch (which seems universally popular).

Which donut is your favorite? Where do you get it?—Gerry Dincher

Maple donuts are always my favorite, and I’ll eat them from anywhere but the ones that are available regularly are the ones at Dunkin. Probably the best ones I’ve ever had are maple bacon logs at Voodoo in Portland, OR, the weekend we destroyed Maryland in 2016. That was fun.

Can you name an underrated movie? Not one that is like a cult classic, I mean one that flies far under the radar but is quite good. Perhaps a guilty pleasure. Batman 1989 is really good imo. Certainly a blockbuster of its time but has since faded. So good. Captures the comic book panel feel in every single scene. Tim Burton really nailed it–PSU1979dude

I’ve got such a wide, eclectic taste in media that I’m sure some of the movies that I’ve loved for decades that to me are incredibly underrated would be no one else’s favorites.

Some of mine that I adore and always will watch when they’re on, though I may be one of few, include 10 Things I Hate About You (is it a cult classic? not sure I care either way), JJ Abrams’ Star Trek reboot (it did so well but people forget how good it really was), and, heck, let’s throw in Becoming Jane (period dramatization of Jane Austen’s life)

What is your favorite Pennsylvania power plant? List here. –Liongame

This is possibly one of the most random questions I remember receiving here, because who knows PA power plants let alone has a favorite?

I’m tempted to say Three Mile Island just for the shock value (too soon??). But let’s go with Peach Bottom, just because that name is funny and borderline redundant.

Oh, Hello: 2024 CA Combo Guard Dominick Stewart Commits to Penn State

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BSD Mailbag 9.22.23