Alan Zazza and the Color Pink

November 7, 2008 - Leave a Response

The Iowa trip is always a fun one.  I can say it is the only trip were the hotel owner was the first person to meet us at the door and welcome us to his establishment. Alan Zazza was his name and he had an entire hall dedicated to college football.  He loved football and treated everyone like they were royalty.  Alan recently passed away, but he will surely be remember for all of his kindness and his ability to put a smile on everyone’s face.

The main thing that everyone talks about when they think of Iowa is the visiting locker room.  Why? Probably because it is pink.  All the older guys told us it was pink but you never really imagine just how pink it is.  Everything from wall to wall is pink and makes you feel like you are in your little sister’s room, only without the Jonas Brothers posters.  The idea behind it is to try to sooth and calm the visiting team and give Iowa and advantage. I don’t know if it calmed me or not because I was to busy thinking to myself: “Damn, this is one pink room.”

pinklockerSlumber parties are held here during the offseason.

About the Game

Kinnick Stadium is always a difficult place to play and I am sure that Saturday will be no different.  Penn State holds the series leas at 11-9, winning 7 of the 10 games at Iowa.  The Lions last win in Kinnick Stadium was 1999. Iowa comes into the game with a 5-4 record and is looking forward to be the first team to put a blemish on PSU’s flawless season.  Led by a strong defense (ranked in the Top 25 nationally) and the power running of junior back Shonn Greene, the Hawkeyes are sure to challenge PSU all game.

How I See it

While the Hawkeyes have a great defense and one of the nation’s best running backs, they are still a very one dimensional team offensively.  Penn State has had great success against similar teams.  I see the Lions slowing down Greene in a similar fashion to the way they halted Chris Wells and will ride a strong performance by Evan Royster to a pretty sizable win.  Penn State plays a strong all around game and rolls over Iowa 31-14.

Bye Week BCS Madness

November 5, 2008 - Leave a Response

Before you start to freak out about the ridiculous #7 to #2 jump that Texas Tech made, take a deep breath and remember there is still a lot of football to be played.  Both Texas Tech and Alabama have extremely hard paths to travel if they want to make it to Miami unscathed.  Tech has to beat Oklahoma State, Oklahoma before what will surely be a very tough conference championship game.  Alabama faces a big test in LSU this week, followed by Mississippi State, and Auburn before they face most likely Florida in the conference championship.  There is no way that both of those teams will win out and no one loss team will jump passed us for winning there conference championship.  All Penn State needs to worry about is the next three games against teams who would love nothing more than to ruin the Lions season. I don’t believe that any of the three upcoming teams will be able to compete with PSU, but stranger things have occurred.  So barring a major mental breakdown Penn State should finish the season undefeated, with at least one of the two competing teams losing, and we’re in.  For further comfort, I personally would put money on PSU being the only undefeated BCS conference school left when all the dust settles.

Now How Did This Happen?

As we all know the BCS is a baffling creature, heartless and unforgiving, yet somehow better than what preceded it.  In the past the BCS has managed to screw multiple undefeated teams out of a title shot and has had everyone craving a college playoff.  I know for a fact if we would have gone undefeated in ’05 we would have been left out.  The leap Tech took was set up earlier in the season when Texas beat then #1 Oklahoma vaulting them from #5 to #1 in the polls.  When #7 Texas Tech beat Texas this past weekend a similar thing occurred, based on the beat #1 you are #1 idea, they ended up at #2.  So in all fairness the BCS isn’t really at fault, instead the Associated Press pollster are to blame.  However, if Penn State would have played and won a game this week it would have been difficult for the BCS standings to allow Tech to jump a PSU team that just notched win number ten in its belt.  Sidebar: Penn State should have been #2 in the BCS last week and then this wouldn’t have happened.

GameDay

October 30, 2008 - Leave a Response

Thanks to former Penn State player and current ESPN employee Reggie Walker: Chris, Derek Fox and I got a backstage look at College GameDay.  We watched the broadcast from the production truck.  You really get to appreciate all that goes into what you see on TV when you find out how it is made.  We then went on the GameDay bus and saw Corso playing DDR, no wait that was the commercial. The bus was filled with TVs and looked like it would be really difficult to travel on.  We ended the GameDay experience by taking our places on the GameDay stage.  Only downside was Erin Andrews was nowhere to be found.

A look inside the GameDay production truck.

I think we could pull it off.

View from the luxury box.

Ohio State Wrap Up

October 28, 2008 - Leave a Response

I have to say that my first away trip as a fan is going to be a hard one to top.  The entire weekend was filled with memorable moments, good times and one hell of a game.  The Lions played a well planned, mistake free game that put them past the Big Ten’s most dominate program.  The defense played an amazing, holding Chris Wells and his toe to a weak 22 rushes for 55 yards performance.  PSU got a win against a top ten opponent and closed the gap on Alabama in the BCS polls.  A record 105, 711 came out to the Shoe to see their Buckeyes fall for a second time this season.

Now that’s a Rubin
Mark Rubin was selected as the Walter Camp and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for his performance is Saturday’s history win.  Rubin racked up 11 tackles and forced the fumble that changed the game.  The forced fumble is also up for the Pontiac Game Changing Performance.  Rubin is a previous recipient of the Create-A-Player Award, which I know means just as much to him as the POTW awards.  Congrats Rub.
Vote for Mark’s play at www.pontiac.com/college
Vote for Mark as the USA Today Player of the Week http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/2008-10-26-player-of-the-week_N.htm

Why Not Run?
The sideline was filled with the mumbles of former players who wondered, “why aren’t we running the ball” in the first half.   I will admit that I was one of them.  Royster came into the game averaging 7.7 yards per carry and never gave them the opportunity to get established in the first half.  I’m not saying that it would have made the game completely different, but it would have worked better than what they were trying.  If you are going to try to beat Tressel at his own game, do it from the start and not just at the end to kill the clock.

Sacks
Aaron Maybin’s sack on Saturday put his season total up to eleven good for second in the nation.  Maybin getting a sack in the game was basically inevitable and we were basically just waiting for it to happen.  He probably would have had at least two more sacks if he weren’t getting held all game.

More Voting
Daryl Clark is a semi-finalist for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award, which will be announced Dec. 11th on ESPN.  Be sure to vote at www.voteobrien.org you can vote once a day.

O-H-I Know How to Spell

October 24, 2008 - One Response

So for this weekend I hit the road to my home state of Ohio and travel down to Columbus.  Riding shotgun on the trip with me is Chris Ganter.  We arrived in the ‘O and quickly saw that our PSU blues were not to welcome.  A few people asked us nicely to go home.  Ganter is currently at a golf outing that features former PSU players against former OSU players.  In his foursome, former OSU head coach John Cooper (insert any comment here, it will work).  I will keep you updated on who comes out on top. 

The real competion will begin later tonight when the PSU vs OSU Beer Pong Tournement takes place.  All alcohol will be consumed responsibly.  Now I have to say I like our chances. While I haven’t played in some time, I feel its like riding a bike, you never lose it. 

Plans for tomorrow include a stop by the College GameDay set to meet the GameDay crew and take a look at the bus.  The rest of the day will be filled with tailgate hopping and catching up with old high school friends who live in the area.  I will be on the sidelines for the game, but Ganter will probably whore his way onto TV, so you probably won’t be able to find me. 

 

About the Game

The game Saturday is being billed as the best match up between the the two schools.  Penn State, the suprise team of the season, up against the team that was hailed as the best in the Big Ten preseason.  In a game that has serious BCS implications there will surely be some fireworks.  The OSU offensive line will be up for a huge challenge against one of the best defensive line units in the nation.  The PSU D-line has played outstanding all season, getting to the QB with only a four man rush.  This allows the LB’s to drop into coverage and take pressure off of the secondary.

How I See It

For the Lions to win they need to be at there best.  They can’t just go through the motions and start out slow.  I think the Lions D will terrorize Pryor, forcing him to make mistakes and throw interceptions.  I think that OSU will be able to stay in the game because of Malcolm Jenkins and their outstanding defense.  I see the Buckeyes sticking around with the Lions for the entire game before PSU scores late to seal the deal.  Penn State over Ohio State 28-17.

Media Whore

October 21, 2008 - One Response
In obvious need of attention

In obvious need of more attention after being mentioned on College Game Day last week, former PSU QB Chris Ganter managed to once again sneak his way onto television.

Michigan Wrap Up

October 21, 2008 - Leave a Response

Well not exactly how I saw the game playing out, but I’m happy. Despite a very slow start the Lions fought back and proved they have character. The bad thing about this game is the Michigan exposed a number of weaknesses that PSU had and took advantage. I was never really worried about the Lions losing on Saturday, but worried for the future games where teams now have the formula beat Penn State.

Safety Dance
The Jared Odrick safety was the play that turned the game around in Penn State’s favor and led to the massive domination that ensued. Odrick the game with a career high 6 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss. Vote for the Odrick’s play as the Pontiac Game Changing Performance, voting ends at 11:59 PM on Wednesday.    www.pontiac.com/ncaa

Royster Rolls
Who do you turn to when you are struggling on both sides of the ball? Evan Royster raised his hand with a 174 yard rushing performance. He might be one of the most underrated backs in the country averaging an eye popping 7.7 yards a carry, tops among all running backs in the nation with at least 100 carries.

Yes, We Have a Butler

Deon Butler put together his signature performance of the season hauling in 8 catches for 105 yards. Butler stepped up when the team needed most and delivered in multiple clutch situations.

Congrats To Kevin Kelly
Kevin Kelly was awarded the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week for his efforts against Michigan. Kelly’s three field goals and five extra points made him the Big Ten’s all time leader in kicking points. Kelly should also pass OSU alum Mike Nugent for the field goals made record within the next few games.

Pic of the Game

Maybin flips following another big play.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Scaife Photography

A Happy Valley

October 17, 2008 - Leave a Response

Yes, my entire football career was marked with losses to Michigan.  Sure, they screwed us out of two wins at their place because of horrible calls, no instant replay and time being added back on the clock.  Who could forget the only blemish on an otherwise perfect season.  My hatred of Michigan began as a boy in Ohio, where you are taught one thing very early: “There is no greater foe than the team up north.”  As I grew up this ideal became more ingrained in my mind as I watched them play and couldn’t help but to see them as cocky and arrogant.  I look at it like this: if you are a good person go to PSU, and if you are an ass go to Michigan.  That being said I can’t wait for the complete destruction of a storied opponent that is sure to take place on Saturday.

About the Game…

The Lions have a far superior team in every aspect of the game.  I do not see Michigan putting up any sort of a fight in what will end up being one of the worst losses in the school’s history.  Look for QB Steven Threet to be on his back more than Paris Hilton, as the Lions will easily win the battle up front.  Penn State’s offense should have no problem moving the ball with ease and score at will.  Look for Jordan Norwood to have a nice game with his leg being closer to full strength.

How I see it

Maybe I am taking Michigan kind of lightly, but they are a horrible team.  They turn the ball over like crazy and don’t have the talent to take down Penn State.  I see it being a game very similar to Wisconsin, except with the Lions putting it to Michigan earlier and harder.  PSU wins in a landslide 56-10. Penn State ends the 9 game losing streak and I get a little bit of sanity back.

Side Lines

October 15, 2008 - Leave a Response

~Penn State hasn’t beat Michigan in their last nine meetings.

~Michigan holds the series lead 10-3.

~Players who led the Lions last time they beat Michigan in 1996:  Wally Richardson, Curtis Enis, Joe Jurevicius

~Penn State won the 1996 away meeting at Sh#t House 29-17.

~Joe was a sprightly 69 years old.

~ The Lions went on to defeat Texas 38-15 in the Fiesta Bowl that season.

~The last four meetings between the PSU and MU have been decided by a total of 17 points.

~The team leading receivers by catches are Butler, Williams and Norwood with 23, 22 and 21 receptions respectively.

~Derrick Williams is currently leading the nation in kick return average with 33.4 yards a return.

~Rushing attempts update: Javon Ringer has rushed 247 for 1112 yards. Royster, Green, Clark, Carter and Beachum have combined to rush 242 times for 1,558 yards.

~Cleveland Browns WR and Michigan Alum Braylon Edwards wore a Penn State shirt during his interview on Monday Night Football.  He knows whats gunna happen on Saturday.

~There will be a pep rally held on the Old Main Lawn at 9 pm ET on Friday.

~The game will air to a national audience on ESPN with kickoff at 4:30 pm ET

~Erin Andrews is once again not the sideline reporter for the game.  Really, how am I supposed to meet her when she is never on or sideline.

~ The 2002 Penn State vs.  Michigan game was one of the games that lead to the Big Ten implementation of Instant Replay.

~  We got screwed every time we played at Michigan during my time as a player.

~  I HATE MICHIGAN

ALWAYS WILL BE.

ALWAYS WILL BE.

Paul vs…..

October 13, 2008 - Leave a Response

From time to time I will accept challenges that have been presented to me from some of the readers.  These challenges will be taped and then put up on the site.  The first challenge will take place tomorrow at 1pm at Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield where I will attempt to eat their 2lb Challenge Burger.  Thanks to Dave for the inagural challenge.

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