Back In The Saddle Again

January 23, 2008

In case any of you were beginning to think I’d given up on this whole blogging business, fear not.  I’ve simply had some personal issues to deal with the past week, and just wasn’t in any mood to post.  Now that everything’s been addressed though, I’m ready to fire this sucker back up again.

A lot has happened in the past week: The search for Bobby Fischer was called off…permanently, Heath Ledger got the ball rolling with the first shocking celebrity death of the year, Anthony Morelli assured himself of a career selling life insurance, Graham Spanier and JoePa’s Highlander-like struggle will commence within the next few months, and Hillary Clinton continues her campaign of assuring that the GOP will hang onto the White House for another four more years…

Bobby Fischer, where is he? I don’t know! I don’t know – Wait a minute, he’s dead?  Must be another Jewish/American conspiracy.

The Fighting DeChellises also hung right with Indiana in Bloomington for the first 30 minutes of the game until Eric Gordon and company pulled away in the final 10 minutes. The line on that game was IU (-18.5) which was a very intriguing line considering the fact we had just gotten our asses whipped by 25 points at home to Wisconsin the game before, we were winless at Indiana in 14 tries, and we were starting the post-Geary Claxton era earlier than expected. This would have been a very tough game for me to pick taking all those factors into consideration and I would have ended up taking IU to cover the spread.

As for tonight’s game against Purdue: PSU is a 2-point underdog which says to me that the people in Vegas must have actually watched the PSU-IU game and feel that the embarassing loss to Wisconsin at the BJC last week was an anomaly, thus they still have faith in us to perhaps pull out the “W.” Purdue however, has been playing pretty well this year and they look like they might get back to the Big Dance. Thus far, the Boilers are off to a 4-1 start in Big Ten play, including a win at home against Ohio State so they’re no afterthought in the Big Ten by any means.

According to UncleLar at Happy Valley Hoops, Purdue does a pretty good job of forcing turnovers but we’ve done a good job statistically in protecting the ball so something’s gotta give tonight…let’s hope it’s the former. Talor Battle also needs to continue to step up scoring-wise, he’s put up double figures in two of his last three games including a career-high 20 points against IU. And what is up with Mike Walker and Andrew Jones getting fewer minutes? Have they simply become THAT ineffective at this point? It would sure be nice to see Walker return to his old shooting ways, we need firepower now that Claxton’s done.

Anyway, I’m going to take a double shot of blue-and-white kool aid and pick PSU to win this game and thus, beat the spread. I didn’t watch the IU game, but from what I read, it sounded like we were a very resilient bunch that was determined to do the improbable which is a very good sign, these kids are not even close to giving up on the season, something they could have easily started to do after the Wisconsin debacle. We’re also riding a 3-game losing streak now since our 2-0 start in Big Ten play and while Purdue is tough, they’re far more beatable than our previous two opponents so this is a critical game in terms of “stealing” a win from somebody we normally may not be expected to beat.

So, now that my pick’s in, I’m simply waiting on Rants From The District to either put up his pick or phone his in to me. Also, here are the current standings in our season-long contest:

HHV 6-1

RFTD 5-2

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You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out, Jay!

December 24, 2007

Well, it’s that time of the year again: TBS will commence with its “24 Hours Of A Christmas Story” marathon tonight. Perhaps this year, I’ll try out the unofficial drinking game that goes along with it.

Also, to get you in the mood: Here’s a hilarious parody created a few years back from the creative minds at X-Entertainment, Ralphie Goes To Hell

jaypa-christmas-story.jpg

I want an official Anthony Morelli, carbine action, 200-INT range model quarterback!


JoePa L. Smith?

November 18, 2007

Are you kidding me? Does this coaching staff know how to make adjustments? Do they like to abandon playcalling that actually works? Does anybody understand the words that are coming out of JoePa’s mouth? Has Morelli been practicing for his gig in insurance sales? Does anyone feel Justin King would be better off pursuing a career in figure skating with all those spins he does when trying to cover an opposing receiver?

I could go on and on with the questions but my point is, Penn State football hit a new low today. For the first time in well… EVER, we blew a 17 point lead…to Michigan State. It was straight out of the Bizarro World, a “Reverse Sparty” if you will, the only thing missing was JoePa slapping himself in the face at the post-game press conference.

To re-hash some of the embarrassing details for you: We went up 24-7 early in the 3rd quarter after Kevin Kelly ran a fake field goal into the end zone for what seemed like a back-breaking touchdown. Boy, did we not know what we were in for: From there on, things went downhill fast as we allowed MSU to put up 28 points in the second half. The culprits? Our non-existent secondary of course, and Tom Bradley having his defensive unit play crap-tastic zone defenses that continually left MSU’s stud wideout Devin Thomas and tight end Kellen Davis wide open enough to go over 100 yards receiving each, combining for 11 catches for 245 yards receiving and 3 TDs. Visions of 1997 were coming back to me again, when we allowed two MSU tailbacks to run for over 200 yards on us in a blowout loss, never a good a sign when that starts happening.

Once Sparty went ahead and it came down to Morelli having to lead us from behind late in the 4th quarter, I knew the game was over then and there…Until Ki-Jana Carter magically re-appeared in uniform to spell for an injured Rodney Kinlaw and ran roughshod over everybody…Okay, not quite, but Brent Carter, a fourth-string tailback who ironically enough wears #32, helped get us inside MSU’s 25-yard line all by himself until the coaches decided that they were too successful with that plan and decided to have Morelli throw the ball FOUR STRAIGHT TIMES! Each pass ended in an incompletion of course, and the choke job was complete. Did JoePa really want his inept son and his rented mule of a QB to be the heroes of the game that badly? How else do you explain the sudden curtailing of Carter’s carries? It’s not as if MSU’s defense was suddenly going to figure out how to stop him.

Great minds think alike…

Hands down, this was the worst loss I’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing and having followed PSU football since 1991, I’ve seen my share of tough and downright embarrassing losses. We were a team that had long prided itself on defense and we pulled off the greatest choke job in JoePa’s career. If Joe has any sense of dignity he will decline the bowl bid and stay at home for the holidays. It also wouldn’t hurt for him to retire before Graham Spanier has to force his hand. I can’t take another minute of this garbage let alone another 3.5 hours…Good riddance!

Thank goodness the basketball team is at least showing some promise, kicking the living crap out of Canisius, 93-40. It’s very refreshing to watch a PSU team that plays up-tempo, scores points, and displays man-to-man defense, not to mention they also have a lot more depth compared to previous years… and this is with an injured Jamelle Cornley on the sidelines.

Anyway, the hoops squad has a big Thanksgiving holiday tournament coming up: The Old Spice Classic down in Disney’s Wide World Of Sports complex. Their first game is at Noon on ESPN2 Thanksgiving day against South Carolina. Hmm, I think I see some “live-blogging” potential for that one. Stay tuned…

Last but not least, it appears that my Big Ten Power Rankings are kind of a big deal for Iowa sports fans. Scroll down to the “Friday, November 16th” links to see what I’m talking about.


Penn State 26, Purdue 19: Post Game Thoughts

November 3, 2007

Well, the seniors ended their final Beaver Stadium game on a high note for the 8th straight year but like most of our games this year, we didn’t pick up the victory without a few headaches.  Where to begin?  How about the disastrous start to the game with Dorien Bryant taking the opening kickoff the distance to put us in an immediate 7-0 hole.  We followed that up nicely by driving all the way from our own 10 yard line to inside Purdue’s 10…only to have Andrew Quarless false start in a 3rd and 2 situation, forcing us to throw which ended up in an incompletion and merely a field goal for us.

The defense was getting absolutely shredded by Purdue’s offense in the beginning and was on the brink of going down 17-3 when Sean Lee saved the day by forcing a fumble at the goalline which we recovered.  To me, that was the most clutch play of the game, if Purdue scores that TD we spend the rest of the game trying to desperately rally back, which could’ve led to further disaster.  Instead, we eventually parlayed Purdue’s self-inflicted shotgun blast to the foot by taking a 13-10 halftime lead.

Purdue did not go away though in the 2nd half as we couldn’t immediately tack on to our halftime lead and Purdue ended up kicking back-to-back field goals to re-take the lead at 16-13.  The defense was again looking a little shaky, giving up too many 3rd down conversions, although it seemed we got more aggressive regarding blitzes with the linebackers, not to mention the fact that Maurice Evans carried the D-line in terms of sacking Curtis Painter or forcing Painter to make bad throws on the run.

Once we were trailing again, the team woke up on both sides of the football as Kinlaw and Royster ran all over Purdue’s increasingly tired defense, thanks to our own defense forcing back-to-back three-and-outs on Purdue’s offense.  D-Will would eventually score the go-ahead TD on a brilliant reverse play.  Unfortunately, we weren’t quite finished with the miscues as we picked an absolute worst time to botch an extra point snap, keeping the lead at 19-16.

The defense continued to hold its own ground, and eventually our offense put us up 26-16 with a TD run by Evan Royster, who replaced Rodney Kinlaw after Kinlaw gave up a critical fumble inside Purdue’s 10-yard line on a previous drive.

Purdue managed to put together a decent drive but ultimately was held to a field goal to cut the lead to 26-19 with less than 2 minutes to play.  Despite not recovering the onside kick, they managed to get a decent Hail Mary shot at the end zone which we fortunately batted down as time expired.

Overall, when you look at the final stats it was a good performance and the team certainly did an excellent job to overcome what could have been an utter disaster of a game, the last thing we needed was another message board meltdown like we’ve had a few times this season.

  • Morelli ended his Beaver Stadium career with a 12-2 record and put together solid numbers: 22/35 for 210 yards, 1 TD
  • “Rodan Kinster” (Kinlaw and Royster) combined for 210 yards on 33 carries and 1 TD
  •  For all the flack that D-Will has gotten over his career, he put together arguably his best performance on the year as a receiver: 10 catches for 95 yards and a TD
  • Why did Purdue only hand the ball off to Kory Sheets 8 times?  He picked up 43 yards on those 8 carries and he was doing his share of damage early to our defense.  Unless I missed something and Sheets got injured (I was watching the game at a restaurant so there was no audio for me) this was not a good coaching decision by Purdue
  • Congrats to Dan Connor who is now PSU’s all-time leading tackler, talk about ending your final home game on a high note…
  • Both teams “racked-a-disaprin”:  PSU had 13 penalties for 88 yards while Purdue suffered 9 penalties for 82 yards.

Blue-White Roundtable: Die-Hard Fandom Lives Here.

October 25, 2007

 

You didn’t think I was going to forget about this, did you? The Nittany Line has this week’s questions along with everybody else:

 

Black Shoe Diaries
There Is No Name On My Jersey
The Nittany Notebook

Run Up The Score
William Yurasko

1) Will the loss of Hahn and/or Odrick have a big impact on either the offense in Hahn’s case, or the defense in Odrick’s case?

Hahn was having a career game rushing the football against Indiana last week before suffering his career-ending ACL tear. His running and blocking skills surely will be missed, and it’s now up to Dan Lawlor to pick up the slack. I can’t emphasize just how critical it is that Lawlor has a solid game against a stingy Buckeye defensive crew.

Odrick’s loss will hurt as well, as he was having a fine season himself. Thank goodness we have quite possibly the deepest D-line unit in the country as it seems that Abe Koroma is 100% after his pre-season foot injury and Tom McEowen should be getting back into the mix.

2) Has Anthony Morelli redeemed himself in your eyes?

Hmm, I’ll have to think hard about this one…

3) Is the offensive play calling where you want it to be now or do we still need help?

It’s sad that it took us a couple of losses to get it right, but the play calling for the most part has been solid. We’re throwing on first downs, we seem to be playing the best guys at their respective positions, and we overall seem to be playing a tad more loose. I expect us to be more conservative though against OSU, being that their defense is way better than the ones we’ve faced during our 3-game win streak. Expect lots of swing passes or 5-10 yard out patterns along with trying to run it down their throats with Rodney Kinlaw and Evan Royster (Or as Run Up The Score likes to call: “Rodan Kinster”).

Lightning Round

-Are you lucky enough to have scored tickets this week?

If I were going back for the game this weekend, my dad would’ve had a ticket waiting for me. Since I’m going to be watching it with some friends at a local establishment here in DE/PA, a friend of the family’s (who lives in Columbus and is a hardcore OSU fan) son is going to be taking my ticket…I just hope my dad’s instructing him to take off that Troy Smith jersey.
-Which Ohio State offensive player scares you the most?

Brian Robiskie: He has height (6’3″), which could pose a problem for our corners, he’s got twice as many receiving yards as the next-best receiver on the team, and I have permanent memories of Troy Smith’s Heisman-like sack escape and TD throw to him during last year’s disaster in Columbus.

-For the game Saturday are you : giddy, apprehensive, or on suicide watch?

I’m giddier than a teenage slumber party. How can you NOT get excited over the #1 team in the country visiting Happy Valley for the first time ever in my long career of PSU fandom, an 8 PM kickoff with 108,000+ screaming fans and one whited-out, crazy-ass student section, not to mention the fact that Brent Musberger’s BAC level will be higher than the average GPA of the entire OSU football team.


Emerging From The Rubble…

September 30, 2007

Talk about ruining a weekend…how many teams would have gotten AT LEAST one touchdown after starting with the football four times in a row in Illinois territory? I’ll give you the answer: any team that doesn’t have a QB who still makes the same dumb decisions as a 2nd-year starter as he did last year and is coached by an equally incompetent coaching staff. But that’s exactly what happened, we came away with a whopping 3 points. Pathetic.

While the play-calling was admittedly better than last week (we finally let Morelli air it out), we still set ourselves back with some absolute WTF calls, namely the 3rd&Goal pitch to Rodney Kinlaw when we had the ball at the ONE FUCKING YARD LINE!!! Are you kidding me?!! Just punch the damn ball in the end zone! It was no secret what we were about to run in that instance. As the “Angry Video Game Nerd” would say: Our offense is a shitload of fuck! It’s time to start anew at home next week against a depleted Iowa team by giving Pat Devlin his first career start, time to start preparing for the future. Oh, and somebody lock Jay Paterno in a dark room with a PS3 before every game so he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of screwing Devlin up either.

The Angry Video Game Nerd would rather watch PSU football than play another one of his shitty games.

PSU’s loss was merely one of many Top 25 casualties in what has marked yet another wild college football weekend which I feel I need to recap so as the late Bill Hicks would say: “Bear with me while I plaster on a fake smile and plow through this shit one more time.”

– #5 West Virgina went down Friday night to #18 South Florida who is my favorite to win the Big East. “All aboard” the Matt Grothe Express! (Don’t worry: Jake Locker is still my homeboy)

– #3 Florida lost on a last-second field goal to Auburn…twice. Urban Meyer called a timeout and was awarded it, right as the Auburn kicker put the 43-yarder through the uprights. No problem though, as the kicker’s apparently got frozen Gatorade running through his veins.

-How about #7 Texas getting annihilated at home by Kansas State? I wonder if Anthony Morelli has any relatives down in Austin because Colt McCoy sure was putting up similar TD to INT stats (1 TD, 4 INTs).

– Most shocking of all though, was #5 Oklahoma losing on a last-second FG to Colorado…after seemingly having the game in hand with a 24-7 second-half lead. This is the same OU team whose average margin of victory was higher than a certain PSU player’s IQ. It’s crazy, it’s insane, it’s unbelievable, “IT’S DIVISON ONE FOOTBALL!”

A Few Final Notes:

  • As bad as things have been: At least we’re not Pitt (44-14 shellacking against Virginia), or Notre Dame (0-5, with UCLA, Boston College, and USC all coming up next). If their Scout.com message board posts are any indication, it appears Pitt fans have just now gotten the memo on Dave Wannstedt’s inability to coach.

  • Did Minnesota take notes from Oregon on how to dress for a football game with an entire piss-yellow wardrobe? How about Washington sporting Golden-Domer helmets with seemingly dark-blue unis and gold pants? Is Ty Willingham trying to send a message to Notre Dame?
  • Props go out to “Real Ultimate Badass” J. Leman’s judo-chop that denied Andrew Quarless a go-ahead and momentum-shifting TD reception. Similar props also go out to Arrelious Benn for making our special teams/defense look as skilled as the CPU in Nintendo’s 10-Yard Fight.

Week 2 Recap – “Celebrity Jeopardy” Style

September 10, 2007

Another wild weekend in college football has come and gone and this year is already shaping up to be one of the most exciting in recent college football history. The storyline of this past weekend were the numerous upsets courtesy of South Florida, Oregon, South Carolina, and Washington plus the near-upsets of Wisconsin and Hawaii.

I am not bothering with a detailed post-game analysis on our victory over ND, the rest of the PSU bloggers have done that. However, I should say that the Big Ten in general looks weeeeeak. We definitely did not look like a team that during normal years would have a shot at winning the conference, but this isn’t any ordinary year: Michigan is setting futility records, Ohio State suffers from a lack of offensive firepower (we have the firepower, we just can’t seem to utilize it as much as we should), and Wisconsin needed a last-minute TD to avoid losing to a “2 wins in 2006” UNLV squad.

Instead, I’m going to have some fun here and attempt to recap the weekend by using quotes from the greatest series of SNL sketches ever. I’m talking of course, about “Celebrity Jeopardy.”

The day is mine! I’ll take “Famous Titties” for 400. – The day certainly did belong to Washington QB Jake Locker, whose talents I praised this past weekend in correctly predicting that Boise State would get upset by the Huskies. Locker’s passing numbers weren’t the most eye-popping (13/25 193 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) but he ran like hell over the Boise defense, 16 carries for 84 yards and a score. I really think Ohio State is in for a rude awakening this upcoming Saturday as the whole nation will finally get to see Locker in action (it’s a 3:30 kickoff on ABC).

We meet again, you loggerheaded tickle brain poppycock! I cut an album of filthy limericks just so I’d be eligible! – Miami and Oklahoma met again for the first time since the 1980’s when Barry Switzer’s Sooners were swept three straight times by Jimmy Johnson’s ‘Canes. Unfortunately for the ‘Canes, it wasn’t the same old song and dance as they ended up on the wrong end of a 51-13 ass beating. Perhaps Miami head coach Randy Shannon should re-consider the “no guns” policy he enacted…

“Yeah, I speak a little French: You’re an ass-bite, pardon my French!” – If East Carolina didn’t already expose Virginia Tech as a faux-Top 10 team last week then LSU’s beatdown in Baton Rouge left no doubt in people’s minds that the Hokies don’t belong in the Top 25, let alone the Top 10. Watching the Virginia Tech offense operate is like watching Muhammad Ali try to partake in a game of “Jenga.”

I’ve spent five years of my life trying to invent an “anal bum cover”, failing to do so is my greatest regret! – South Florida has spent the previous ten years of its collegiate football existence trying to garner that “program-changing” win. Last year they beat West Virginia on the road, which certainly was a big deal. However, that is child’s play compared to beating a storied SEC program like Auburn on their home turf. Auburn was practically trying to hand USF the game with their 5 turnovers and should have gotten whooped. Fortunately for Auburn, USF kicker Delbert Alvarado has no concept of kicking accuracy (2-for-6 on field goals), if you saw the way he shanked most of his kicks you know where I’m coming from.

Somebody needs to remind Delbert what sport he’s playing, you can’t bend it like Beckham and expect to kick it through those narrow uprights most of the time…Speaking of kicking, does anyone want to bet that Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville isn’t kicking himself for sitting on the ball with 49 seconds left in regulation and playing for OT instead of trying to drive down the field for a potential game-winning field goal?

None of you knows? No one can figure out if the hot tea is hot or cold? Thank God! Keanu Reeves. Is it “Iced tea”? No! It’s hot tea! Well then, I have no idea! – Anthony Morelli had some nice throws that very few QBs could connect on, but he also made his share of foolish mistakes. This was particularly true when it came to the concept of checking down on his receivers. There was one play where Deon Butler was streaking down the left sideline, at least five yards ahead of his defender and my entire section noticed this and was just waiting for Morelli to release a potential TD strike but alas, AM was too busy staring down the right side of the field where he would ultimately throw an incomplete pass.

I’m willing to chalk this up as a bad day for AM but I can’t help but wonder if perhaps FIU and Tennessee’s defenses were just THAT incompetent?

Morelli may know kung-fu, but can he utilize it when needed?

I’m gonna play it safe: I’ll wager $0. – Charlie Weis had the right game plan for Jimmy Clausen, throw a bunch of swing passes and 5-10 yard out patterns along with the occassional shot down the field. However, I can’t help but wonder if Weis was throwing in the towel when he was still going with this same “play it safe” strategy with ND trailing by 2 TD’s in the 4th quarter. Eventually, Clausen was forced to start taking some risks but not before the outcome of the game was no longer in doubt.

I should say this about Clausen though: The kid showed a ton of poise for this being his first ever start and in one of the most hostile of environments against one of the most feared defenses in the country. Clausen was running for his life many times and was sacked 6 times but not once did he get roped into making a foolish play (which is was 99 out of 100 freshmen QB’s making their debut on the road would do). The interception in the end zone late in the game was not really Clausen’s fault as his receiver could only get a hand on it and tipped it into King’s hands.

Bottom line: Clausen will be the real deal sooner than you think. It only makes this upcoming weekend’s cripple fight with Michigan all the more intriguing.

Speaking of Michigan…

That’s nice, you put a “Kick Me” sign on Mr. Travolta’s back… – Oregon took a page out of Boise State’s playbook in their 39-7 romp of Michigan. QB Dennis Dixon gave the ball to RB Jonathan Stewart on the old “Statue of Liberty” play (or as Jon Stewart likes to call it: “NAMBLA”), which still ended up being about a 20-yard gain for Stewart when a Michigan defender failed to tackle him in the backfield.

Now, let’s take a look Mr. Reynolds’ answer: “Check Out Keaton’s Back.” – A couple plays later on that same drive, Dennis Dixon called a FAKE Statue of Liberty and ran into the end zone untouched. I don’t think I’ve ever burst into laughter over a football highlight as much as I did when I first watched it. Are you kidding me? First, you snuff out a real SOL play which only ended up in positive yardage because Michigan apparently no longer teaches its players to tackle and on top of that, you get completely tricked by a FAKE SOL play? Wow, just wow.

Burt Reynolds would be proud of Oregon’s trickery

“He is the current U.S. President…He has white hair, and you’ve probably seen him in the news…His first name is ‘Bill’….Mr. Goldblum, I know for a fact you had dinner with him recently…His last name is Clinton!…His name is Bill Clinton, please someone simply say, ‘Who is Bill Clinton?’. Someone just say it! Anyone? [ buzzer sounds ] …And the show has reached a new low.

– The state of the Michigan football program? Complete disarray. A week after suffering the greatest upset in college football history, the Wolverines came out flat and uninspired against Oregon. That hasn’t stopped this year’s planet Earth nominee for “Biggest Douche In The Universe” Mike Hart from guaranteeing victory over Notre Dame this upcoming weekend.

Earth to Mike: if your teammates display the same kind of tackling skills they showed these first two games, you’re in for a rude awakening when Jimmy Clausen dinks and dunks you guys to death.

Well.. uh, this is.. uh, Jeopardy.. Seeing as there are.. uh.. one, two, three, four, five. six.. ahh ..seven.. uh, seven different catagories.. – Like Jeff Goldblum, Lloyd Carr is sitting at his podium doing tai-chi, oblivious to the fact that the entire fan base hates him and wishes he were already canned. This simply makes his post-game press conferences all the more awkward/amusing.

See the difference? Me either.