Tag Archives: Penn State

The Pundit feels empty inside – Finding ways to replace the high of the Phillies

I used to love the summer breaks from college, especially before I moved into Philadelphia on a permanent basis. You get like 4 friggin’ months off, for God’s sake. And it always offers the possibility of one of the truly great scenarios in life: the Summer Fling.

You normally know your Summer Fling from high school, and the two of you always kind of had chemistry, but for whatever reason, nothing ever came to fruition. During this particular summer, however, the pieces fell into place, and you’re each on the same page. A couple of months, no long-term commitment, and a whole lot of fun.  Once you go back to school, all bets are off, because, honestly, who wants to start a serious relationship and then move hours apart from the person after a few months? It makes no sense.

The Summer Fling is right up there with Friends With Benefits, though that almost always becomes Friends With Relationship, which can dangerously stray into Ex-Friends With Hang-Ups.  The Summer Fling, if done correctly, offers all of the comforts and pleasures of a relationship, without any of that unwanted commitment.

Unless, of course, you get hooked.

Unless you realize that your Summer Fling is a friggin’ awesome person, and even though you weren’t ever planning on any form of committment with the person, and you were looking forward to going back and casting your line into the College pool of honeys, you are suddenly totally crazy for this person. Shoot, you even start to do the “God, I don’t want the summer to end because I won’t see so-and-so any longer.” Which makes you think that maybe you could deal with a long-term relationship, which makes you realize that you are going to be waaaaaaayyyyyyy off your game back at school. Not a good position to be in…not at all.

So, uh, Mr. Pundit, what in God’s name does this have to do with sports?

Right. See, this is how I am feeling right now, except my Summer Fling was with the Phillies, and all of the other sports teams suddenly aren’t cutting it anymore. I’m not really excited to see them, or get to know them, which is odd, because the Eagles, Sixers, and Flyers are all potential playoff teams, and Penn State has a very good chance of playing for the National Championship. I’ve known the Phillies for years, but something fell into place this year, and now, I just can’t imagine being committed to another team like I was with them. Normally, I would have my Summer Fling with the Phils, Eagles training camp would open, Penn State would get rolling, and I’d be playing the field once more. But this year, those damn, sexy Phillies sunk their teeth right into me and I can’t shake this fever. (Editor’s note: Ok, that just got weird and pretty disturbing on a number of levels).

They ruined me.

Alright, alright, so that’s a bit dramatic. (Editor’s note: A bit? That’s like saying Oprah was a bit excited after Barack Obama got elected, or that the white dude she was leaning on during his entire speech was a bit curious as to how he became a piece of human furniture for the Daytime Diva). But, for the past week, all I have wanted to do was to watch some baseball, and I have been far more interested this week in listening to trade talks for next season than getting hyped for an absolutely gigantic game against the Giants on Sunday.

The Phillies high was just so damn good, and I’ve crashed back to earth. Without that high, I’ve become disinterested, fairly unmotivated, and, if you haven’t picked up on it already, ridiculously bleak. Now, an Eagles win this Sunday night would go wonders to getting me back to my old self. Still, I’m not taking any chances. Below I’ve listed several ways I am going to attempt to rediscover my Phillies high, ways to get that loving feeling back.

1. Actively watch the games. Don’t just sit in front of your tube and watch – get out and do something while you are watching. Tailgate. Go to a bar with a bunch of your friends. Actually get tickets for Flyers and Sixers game. Start looking up hotel prices for Miami, like my buddy Jacobs has been doing, just in case Penn State gets a bid to the Big Game. Don’t be a passive viewer, people – make it an experience.

2. Play some damn sports your damn self. This weekend, I am organizing a big kickball game with some of my friends. Physical activity clears my head, and excercising always helps reduce hangovers and lessens the effects of withdrawl.

3. Change up your routine. If you normally listen to WIP, listen to ESPN Radio. If you normally read the Inquirer’s sports section, check out the Daily News. If you always went to Beerleaguer, go over to the 700 Level or any of the other quality Philly Blogs out there. (Editor’s note: And obviously, always come to The Pattison Pundit. Seriously. He needs the readership). Mindless routine is the fertilizer of depression – change it up, man!

4. Take chances. Make a big fantasy football trade. Buy a Sixers or Flyers ticket package without first referencing your bank account. That’ll keep you on your toes. Bet a tad too much money on the Eagles. Every week. That’ll keep you on the edge of your seat. See if you can watch an entire episode of Daily News Live without falling asleep. Actually, do anything but that. Anything at all.

5. Give yourself some time to be okay again. Hey, listen – you’ll have days when you just miss the Phillies. You’ll just wonder how they are doing, you know? You’ll just want to see a Chase Utley swing again, or another Brad Lidge slider, or Cole Hamel’s hair whipping in an October breeze. (Editor’s note: Dude, you’re freakin’ me out, Pundit.) And yeah, you’re going to miss those crazy nights at the bar with your friends, watching the Phils make history. You’ll miss the camraderie you had with total strangers, and the chants that encapsulated every fucking inch of the bar. Hey, I know how hard it is – I had to go outside and smoke a cigarette in the middle of this post, because the flashbacks were getting pretty intense.

But you’re going to be okay.

It’s going to get easier. You’ll get that life-or-death feel back every time the Eagles are in a close game. You’ll start watching all of the other top contenders in College Football, to see if Penn State can get to that National Championship game. You’ll get into the ebb and flow of the basketball and hockey seasons. March Madness will blow your mind, like it does every year. And before you know it, Spring Training will be here once again. Baseballs will whip around the diamond once more. Charlie Manuel will resume his waddle to the mound.

Ah, the Summer Fling. You know you shouldn’t, but you’ll always go back – there’s just never enough of a good thing, is there?

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To win, you gotta have chin

On Saturday night, I met up with Jacobs and Hoffman, two contributors to the site, at Fox and Hound to catch the Penn State game. I was fairly surprised by what I saw when I arrived – Penn State was trailing Michigan 17-7 at the 12 minute mark of the second quarter.

“What the hell is going on here?” I asked.

Jacobs didn’t hesitate to answer my question. “Fucking Michigan is running up and down on us. Let’s get the hell out of here, go to a different bar. I can’t stand all of these damn Michigan fans. Look at all of them over there! Where do they come from?”

Sure enough, an entire section of the bar was entirely decked in blue and maize. Disgusting. Apparently, they had been hooting and hollering for the entire game; in fact, one delightfully obnoxious bar patron had even brought his cowbell, and was whacking that thing unmercifully every time Michigan did anything positive. (Editor’s note: Yeah, I’m just gonna stay away from that one). It was too much for Jacobs, a diehard State fan and a rather passionate dude. But I wasn’t about to be phased by some stupid cowbell.

“Dude, trust me – when Penn State comes back and wins this game, it will be awesome to watch all of these Michigan fans leave the bar dejected and distraught,” I said. “You’ll see – when Appalachian State beat Michigan last year, I was at this bar. Watching all of the Michigan fans sadly stream out of here, dreams broken, while all the fans of other teams heckled them, was truly priceless. As annoying as it now, it will be sooooo worth it later.”

Now, I know how harsh, and unbelievably cruel, that sounds. But there was a deeper point I was trying to make – a real winner always has to take the best punch his/her opponent can throw, get back up, and punch back harder. To win, you gotta have chin.

Chin has been all over the MLB playoffs. In game one, the Dodgers jumped on Cole Hamels early, scoring two runs and quieting the uproarious Philadelphia crowd. But the Phillies calmed down, shook out the cobwebs from the Dodger haymaker, and Chase Utley and Pat Burrell each hit home runs to seal the Philly win. Game 4 was another example – for most of the game, no matter what the Phils did, the Dodgers had an answer. They led 5-3, and you could sense that series momentum was shifting in their favor. But the Phillies weren’t done fighting yet, and when Shane Victorino tied the game with his rope to right, the Dodgers started to sway. And then Matt Stairs hit them with a left that they never saw coming, and they dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes. No matter how much, or how hard the Dodgers swung, they couldn’t knock the Phils down, and they certainly couldn’t handle the counter punch. It was of little surprise that the Phillies sealed the deal in game 5 – the Dodgers were sporting a glass jaw.

To win, you gotta have chin.

The ALCS was a dissertation on chin. The Rays had the Red Sox down for the count, leading them 7-0 in the seventh inning in game 5, with a 3-1 series lead, after pasting them in the two games before. Honestly, the Red Sox looked unconcious before they hit the mat. And yet, somehow, someway, the came back to win that game. Uh-oh. And when they won game 6, you couldn’t help but wonder if the Red Sox had absorbed the very best punch that the Rays had (and, truthfully, it was one hell of a punch), and were going to win this series. And yet, the Rays had one last trick up their sleeve (Matt Garza), and were able to take a few crushing blows of their own, pulling out the game 7 win. That the Rays were able to regroup after seemingly losing all of the momentum in the series that they had signed, sealed and delivered, they showed me something. Resiliance. Fight. Chin.

To win, you gotta have chin.

It’s the reason that Rocky is Philly’s favorite sports hero: the man never gave up. He never stayed down. He not only took your best shot, he wanted it. He wanted you to give him all you had, and then he wanted to give you just a bit more. He wasn’t the most talented or hyped fighter, but he could take anything you had in your arsenal, and fight on. Rocky wasn’t real, but the spirit and essence of his character most certainly is, and its what the Phillies are going to have to rely on against a dangerous Rays team.

To win, you gotta have chin.

Oh, I almost forgot: Penn State ended up beating Michigan, 46-17. Since my arrival at the bar, Penn State scored 39 unanswered points. Apparently, your Pundit is good luck. (Editor’s note: Doesn’t change the fact that he never gets lucky – ZING!). After every touchdown, following the traditional “WE ARE – PENN STATE!” chant, a chorus of us would ask one other question.

“CAN WE PLEASE GET SOME MORE COWBELL?”

Nobody on the Michigan side ever answered our pleas. They knew they were defeated. They knew that to win, you gotta have chin.

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Filed under College Football, MLB, Penn State, Phillies

From the Nosebleeds: The Big 12 ain’t got jack on Penn State

Ryan Jacobs

I was very impressed with Penn State’s performance in Madison this past Saturday night; it was the kind of victory that is solidifying PSU as one of the best all-around teams in the country.  Daryll Clark has been the most impressive player during this team’s rise to 2008 football glory.  Against Wisconsin, Clark proved himself as a passer more than he has all season.  Quite simply, Clark is playing lights-out football.

However, Daryll Clark is being outshined by the holier-than-thou Big 12 quarterback club.  I watched the Red River Shootout and was extremely impressed with both Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford…honestly, who wouldn’t be?  Bradford has thrown for 23 TD’s already this season and McCoy has completed 79.4% of his throws.  These huge stats continue through the rest of the conference with quarterbacks like Chase Daniel, Graham Harrell, and Todd Reesing.  How did this conference give birth to so many aerial assaults?

There are many possible answers to that question, but I think maybe poor defense has something to do with it.  Don’t get me wrong – when you have a gifted offense like many Big 12 teams do, you’re going to score some points. But you would figure that inter-conference rivalries would slow high-scoring teams.  Oklahoma State did a good job of forcing turnovers on Saturday night, intercepting Chase Daniel three times, the first time he’s been picked since the season debut against Illinois (showcasing his, well, God-like abilities during that time). But Daniel still threw for 390 yards in a close game.

Oklahoma, who Kirk Herbstreit says is one of the “nastiest defenses in the country”, got gashed for 161 yards on the ground and 277 yards through the air in their close loss to Texas.  Vice versa, Sam Bradford lit up the “best defense he has seen by far this year” for 387 yards and 5 TDs (though he did throw two picks).  These teams have great playmakers, but defense does not seem to be this conference’s strength.

In fact, Kansas, ranked 27th in the nation in scoring defense, has statistically the best defense in the conference, followed next by Oklahoma at 37.  Penn State, on the other hand, is 6th in scoring defense and 8th in total offense allowed.  I realize that Penn State racked up those stats against some pretty poor offenses, but the same goes with Kansas, Oklahoma, and the majority of the other Big 12 teams, with their early season, cream-puff schedules.  The point is simple: if you’re playing poor teams and you have a good defense, you should be able to win these games without surrendering many points or yards.  These Big 12 teams obviously don’t have those kinds of defenses.

And another thing – I keep hearing that the Big 12 is the best offensive conference in DI-A.  While this appears to be valid, many supporters of this theory have (obviously) never checked out the eye-popping stats put up by players in the non-BCS, Conference USA.  Just check last year’s numbers for guys like Tulsa’s Paul Smith (QB, 5065 passing yards, 60 Total TDs) or Central Florida’s Kevin Smith (RB, 2567 rushing yards, 30 Total TDs), or Tulane’s Matt Forte (RB, 2127 rushing yards, 23 Total TDs), or Eastern Carolina’s Chris Johnson (RB, 1423 rushing yards, 23 Total TDs).  All three of those running backs are now in the NFL and are already, or will soon make a difference for their respective teams.  This is, overwhelmingly, the best offensive conference in D-IA college football and possibly the worst defensively.

I am still impressed with the big-play Big 12 offenses, but I think Penn State deserves some serious national respect. (Editor’s note: Um, gotta say, I feel as though a national ranking of three is respect).  Penn State’s offense is extremely efficient and very balanced, which in turn leads to smaller numbers for Daryll Clark.  This may lead to a conclusion that Clark isn’t good enough for consideration in the kissing-the-Big-12-quarterback’s-ass club. (Editor’s note: From what I’ve heard, people leave these club meetings with a bad taste in their mouth). On Saturday night, however, he proved to me that he has the ability to throw with the best of them.  He is smart, makes good decisions, and can make every throw across the entire field, regardless if he is standing upright or running for his life.  His ability to make plays in the passing game, especially after things have broken down, is amazing.  His comparison to Michael Robinson is unfair, because Clark is a true passer who just happens to be able to run (and with some strength).  Dare I say he reminds me of a young Donovan McNabb at Syracuse?

Clark is enjoying extreme success in a spread offense that has weapons everywhere (7th in Scoring Offense with 45.3 pts./game), and a team that really doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses (9th in Total Offense, 8th in Total Defense, excellent special teams).  Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated (probably SI’s best known college football writer) stated, quite frankly, that he hasn’t seen an offense as dynamic and dangerous as Penn State’s since that of the 2004 Utah Utes, led by coach Urban Meyer, who broke into the BCS that year with an undefeated season.  Anybody else think Urban Meyer knows how to run a really good spread?  Now what about Penn State?

Penn State’s offense is ranked statistically with the best in the nation, but I still don’t think that many analysts realize the stats they’ve compiled.  In the first quarter of this Saturday’s Red River Shootout, a stat flashed onto the screen: Oklahoma has outscored their opponents 103-3 in the first quarter this season.  Kirk Herbstreit promptly stated, “I don’t know if we’ve seen a stat like that in college football”.  Oklahoma improved upon that stat, making it 110-6 by the end of the first quarter in that game, a very impressive stat with a 104 point difference.

Now look at Penn State.  Coming into Madison, Penn State had outscored its opponents 110-20 in the second quarter, then improved that stat to 131-27 by halftime; a very impressive stat with the same 104 point difference as Oklahoma in the first quarter. So in a word, Kirk Herbstreit is wrong.  I won’t give him that much flack, as Herbstreit seems to be a Penn State supporter himself.  In the end though, he played quarterback at Ohio State, which forever leaves a part of him in the realms of douche-bagginess. (Editor’s note: Dot that eye, bitch!).

Coming into this Saturday, I thought Oklahoma had the best all around team in the country.  But after seeing them lose and seeing Penn State’s complete dominance, I think the Nittany Lions need to be considered as the nation’s most solid team from top to bottom.  I still have much respect for Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, USC, Florida and the likes (and I realize that Penn State has a ways to go), but PSU is a force to be reckoned with.

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Absolutely Infuriating – Quick Hits from the Eagles Game

– This was one of the more frustrating games I have watched in a long time. The Eagles offense, minus Brian Westbrook, could not capitalize on the opportunities they were given. The defense provided four turnovers. We had three chances from the 1 to take the lead, and we blew it. David Akers missed 2 field goals. Aaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh!

– Donovan McNabb’s body language was not pretty as the game went along. He looked frustrated and a bit hobbled.

– A lot of Donovan’s throws were less than stellar, but there were too many drops by Eagles receivers and tight ends.

– The ups-and-downs of DeSean Jackson are exhilarating and debilitating to watch. He is really fast around the corner on the reverses, and he darted behind the defense on the first quarter touchdown catch. But he had a few drops, and he did not look good fielding punts. Obviously, there was the fumble, but he also let one roll that cost the Eagles a substantial chunk of real estate. He keeps you on the edge of your seat, for better and for worse (Editor’s note: Nickname idea – DeSean “Wall Street” Jackson. Sure, he’s been money, but his actions have also caused confusion and despair for those trusting in him).

– I’m sure Chicago fans were pretty pissed off watching this game also, as every time it seemed as though the Bears had a golden opportunity to seize control of the game, they somehow blew it. Case in point: after taking an interception to the Eagles 11, already up by a touchdown, Kyle Orton throws a pick in the end zone. It seemed at times as if neither team wanted to win this game.

– Give Chicago’s defense credit. They pressured McNabb and stifled the run game. They stood tall at the goal line and assured the win. In a season where there does not appear to be many teams standing above the pack, this Bears’ defense should keep in the playoff discussion as the season progresses.

– Omar Gaither, you did everything you could to help the Eagles win this game. Every time the defense made a big play, you seemed to be in the middle of it. If you can continue to play with the energy and nose for the ball you exhibited tonight, the Eagles defense will be really tough.

– Nice job Trent Cole and Juqua Parker. Kept the pressure on Orton for most of the night, especially in the second half. This was the second straight week I have been impressed by the play of the front four and the pressure they generated on the QB – when they are capable of getting to the passer on their own, it enables the Eagles to be more selective with their blitz schemes. This keeps the offense on their toes, as it eliminates obvious blitzing situations and allows the defense to disguise both their blitzes and their drops into coverage.

– Correll Buckhalter, I said it last week and I’ll say it again: I love the heart, baby. Love the way you play the game. You aren’t Westbrook, but you give us everything you have, and that’s all we expect.

– I felt as though the Eagles should have gone for the early 4th and 1 instead of trying 50 yarder that Akers ended up missing in the first half. Even if you don’t get the first down, you still give up possession deeper in Bears territory than you do if you miss the field goal.

– How, in God’s name, with three chances from the one to score, do you not get in? And how, in three plays, is one of them not play-action? The Bears are a tough defense, and you knew they would stack the line; I don’t care which play it was, why not try the play-action? Didn’t understand that, and I think it may have cost us the game. That, and we squandered a slew of other golden opportunities.

– This was what I call an Infuriating Game. Your team blows all of its chances, yet continues to get more, and then blows them. Every time you think you’ve got the game in control, the team squanders a key opportunity. You know that your team should be winning, but can’t stop beating itself. You find yourself daydreaming a Brian Westbrook highlight reel, as Aerosmith blasts I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing in your imagination. (Editor’s note: Alright, that’s just frightening). But it was more than just this game – it blew my perfect weekend trifecta. The Phillies clinched while the Mets blew the wildcard (Editor’s note: Trying…so…hard….to…be…classy…BAHAHAHAHAHAHA, they blew it again!), Penn State looked extremely impressive against Illinois and moved to number six in the polls, and then the Eagles went out and beat the Bears. Except they didn’t. Ah, what can you do? Two out of three ain’t bad.

– Bring on the Redskins, they of the outdated, innapropriate, and totally racist moniker. At least they don’t play in our nation’s capital. Oh, shit. They do. Right. Good work, guys.

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From the Nosebleeds – Why we all should have known Oregon State would beat USC

From the Nosebleeds is a new feature to The Pattison Pundit. Essentially, anytime one of the Pundit’s buddies, or anyone else decides that they have something they need to get off of their chest about the sports world, this will be their forum. I’ll edit the post and add my own take, but the floor is yours. Feel free to email me anytime with your rants, raves, concerns, critiques and/or analysis. Today we have Jacobs, who saw the Oregon State win against USC coming, and thinks you should have, too. Jacobs, the floor is yours.

So I talked to you earlier this evening about watching the USC game, right?  Your answer, as I expected, was “Oh yeah, that’ll be a good game…or not. Are you kidding me, man?  They’re going to kill Oregon State!  Didn’t you see what Penn State did to them?”

A typical answer, and honestly, most college football enthusiasts wouldn’t have disagreed.  Not me. I just knew. (Editor’s note: Alright Miss Cleo, just relax). I knew that Oregon State had good players.  Not just playmakers that have been drafted in the past, like Chad Johnson and T.J. HoushmaMillyVanilly, but playmakers right now.  Playmakers like junior quarterback Lyle Moevao, who somehow, after getting wrecked by Penn State, has averaged almost 275 passing yards per game, throwing 8 touchdowns. Though, to be fair, he has thrown four picks.  And this is the same single caller who beat USC two years ago. (Editor’s note: Actually, that was Matt Moore. Moevao’s lifetime stats for 2007-08: 174 – 304, 57% completion percentage, 10 touchdowns, 10 interceptions. A playmaker? Haven’t really seen him enough to give an accurate assessment, but judge for yourself).

Wait, did I mention they have playmakers now? (Editor’s note: Yes, I believe you suggested it).  Like receiver Sammy Stroughter, who overcame severe depression and mental problems, quitting football for over a year (even though he was considered to be a possible All-American candidate) to come back and play his last eligible year at Oregon State to show people he can still rip it up. And you can’t forget about freshman Jacquizz Rodgers, who rushed 37 times for 186 yards and 2 TDs (all 5’5”, 176 lbs. of him). (Editor’s note: Raise your hand if you live outside of Corvallis and had ever heard of the guy). By the way folks, say what you want about the PAC-10, but they have (and know how to produce) kick-ass running backs. (Editor’s note: They have turned out some killer backs. But enough about O.J. Simpson…)

I most definitely won’t forget how Penn State blew Oregon State out of the water, but this is the mother of all rebounds! (Editor’s note: I think that broad Patty I was with last night might disagree).  Against #1 USC, who is supposed to be ready for everything and penciled into the BCS National Championship game after their crushing defeat of Ohio State. Whatever. Oregon State proved that they can still play with the big-timers. But wait! (Editor’s note: Oooh, is there a surprise?) They have beat USC three out of the last five times they’ve played them.

Hmmmmmm…..interesting.  As I said before, Oregon State is a pesky team for USC, kind of like Minnesota has been for Penn State for the past decade. (Editor’s note: Since 2000, Penn State is 2-3 against Minnesota).  They play hard against USC and still have good players and excellent athletes. Did I mention they have playmakers? (Editor’s note: YES!!!)  Regardless, Oregon State executed poorly against and planned poorly for PSU. (Editor’s note: And they traveled across the country and played them in Happy Valley, an environment I’m not sure they were quite used to). However, I think they learned a few things from that severe ass-whooping and moved on to bigger and better things. In other words, they put that loss in the rearview mirror and realized they had bigger fish to fry…but only if they could handle it. (Editor’s note: Two clichés are better than one, people – can you handle that?). In this case, it was #1 ranked Southern Cal.

I applaud the performance, even though the Oregon State coaches backed off and got extremely conservative in the 2nd half.  In fact, the only connection this game had with the Penn State game was that the Oregon State coaches must have taken pointers from Jay Paterno and Galen Hall about being huge pussies at the end of an important game. (Editor’s note: Somebody’s feeling a bit saucy, eh?)

Surely, the conservative and trusted coaching mentality would have been to run the clock out, but you could see that USC adjusted and started gaining momentum in the 2nd half.  Instead of continuing the balanced offensive attack that gouged the USC defense in the 1st half, Oregon State turned almost exclusively to the ground game in the 2nd half.  This was unacceptable to my semi-educated football mind – KEEP PRESSURING THEM! (Editor’s note: Hey, he said it).

I rooted for Oregon State not only because I am sick of USC dominance/&^@% kissing/*$@# sucking (Editor’s note: Wow, even I’m blushing), but because I want to see how many eraser shavings can be accumulated from weekly AP voters’ ballets. Plus, this defeat will only help Penn State to move into the AP top 10 – a place where they belong if they can execute against Illinois in the same way that they executed against an Oregon State team that beat the overwhelmingly favored and top-ranked USC Trojans.

-Jacobs

PS: The most important topic I chose NOT to discuss begs the following question: Honestly, can you be THAT surprised by the outcome of this game after what last year taught (and showed) you?

The Pundit responds: Ok, where to begin. First of all, I have never been a believer that the past performances of one college program against another should help to dictate future ones, unless one program is traditionally powerful while the other is, well, Temple. The Oregon State team that beat the USC team two years ago is not the same team, with the same players, as it is now, and neither is this USC team. That was then, and this is now. Secondly, after watching Oregon State get absolutely dismantled by Penn State, you can’t tell me that anyone with any sort of football brain at all would think that this team wasn’t completely overmatched, on paper, against USC. A USC team that, even if you weren’t penciling them into the BCS title game yet (which I wasn’t, because they seem to have one meltdown a year), seemed pretty dominant after last week. Ohio State may not have had Beanie Wells, but I’m not sure that he could have saved them. Third – Oregon State did not have nationally recognized playmakers, at least before this game. They may have had great players who played out of their minds, but you can’t tell me that Jacquizz Rodgers was on your radar. He may turn out to be the truth, but I sure as hell had never heard of him until last night. Four – if Penn State beats Illinois, that itself should be enough to push them into the top ten. Illinois is a quality opponent, and Penn State has absolutely embarrassed everyone they’ve played so far. And finally, shouldn’t I have expected this upset after the giddy mayhem that was last year’s college football season? Well, truthfully, no, because the entire idea behind an upset is that you aren’t expecting it. If enough people thought that Oregon State could beat USC last night, then it wouldn’t have really be an upset, right? I mean, who in their right mind would have thought that Stanford would have beaten USC last year? You may keep the possibility of an upset in your mind, but that doesn’t mean you actually think it will happen – which, of course, is what makes it so fun and exhilarating when it does.

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Waking with the Pundit

The following hits brought to you by Penn State football

Your daily Eagles fix here: Scouting report for Sunday and  watching points from Eagletarian.

Well, Bill Simmons is back, and he has a few NFL predictions (after a lengthy dissertation on blackjack in the day).

Jason Whitlock on Richard Collier, black athletes, violence and truckers vs. golfers (Editor’s note: Excuse me?)

The series of the season opens tonight for the Phillies, as they take on the Mets. Can they find some of that magic from a year ago? God, I hope so.

Ladies and gentlemen, what you have in front of you is an amazing weekend for entertainment. This evening, the Mets and Phils kick off their series. Tomorrow at 1 is the Red Bull Soapbox Race in Manyunk. Plus, you’ve got Penn State vs. Oregon State and game two of the Phillies-Mets. Sunday, the Eagles open their season against the Rams, the Phils wrap up their series, and Entourage returns (Editor’s note: Hopefully, this season will be better than last). Check back in this weekend for coverage from the Soapbox Race, The Week in Review, and whatever small asides I may put out there. God, I am pumped for this weekend.

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WE ARE! Pretty stoned, mannnnn…

Well, Penn State will be a few key players short on Saturday. Instead of hitting the sleds, Maurice Evans, Abe Koroma and Andrew Quarless were hitting the bong. JoePa decided that it would be best to sit them for the week, before he, um, gathered all of the information.

“They’re all three good football players, they’re not bad kids,” Paterno said. “But you pay for it when you do dumb things. It’s something that they’ll be living with. … I feel sorry for them and I wish I could do something besides saying, ‘You’re going to sit out this week, ’til I get all the information.’ Because I don’t have it all.”

Because at Penn State, you are innocent until proven to be a college student who was smoking a bit of weed at a party, which, you know, is what college students do, but since the University makes a ridiculous amount of money from your athletic prowess they simply can’t have their own program being linked with these marijuana cigarette-smoking miscreants. Obviously, the cops knew this, and in a wonderful display of loyalty and duty, took immediate action to cease such behavior.

Police were called to the apartment Tuesday night after reports of a loud party. They obtained a search warrant and found a small amount of marijuana.

Okay, let me think back for a moment to the times I was at a party and the cops showed. Step 1 – they kick people out (Editor’s note: I’m assuming you all have guns and crack!). Step 2 – they ask for ID’s as kids scramble toward the doors, windows, closets, etc. Step 3 – They pull out the search warrants, bring out the sniffing dogs, and destroy the house until they find drugs. They rip open pillows, they poke into your cupcakes, they pull up floor boards, they even make you bend over so they can ensure that you don’t have any blow hidden up your ass (Editor’s note: Ahhhh, the good ol’ days). Step 3 is when the real CSI shit goes down. Wait a hoot…I don’t remember step 3 happening at all. Well that’s odd, isn’t it?

Remember, kids – smoking is bad, m’kay? If you smoke mar-i-juan-a, you won’t get to play in the big game, m’kay? Smoking is baaad.

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