Big Ten Power Rankings (Week 8)

November 7, 2007

Well, Anchors Aweigh! Congrats to Navy for ending their 43-year futility streak although one could certainly argue that ND lost because Charlie Weis is a fat arrogant fuck who would rather try and showcase his schematic brilliance by going for it on 4th down and long inside the Navy 25 yard line rather than kick the go-ahead field goal with a minute to play in the ball game, but I digress…

Congrats Lou Holtz on your astonishing 2-7 record this year in pep talks, your pep talk to Navy last Thursday night in the ESPN studio was just what the good doctor ordered to help end one of the longest losing streaks by one college football team against another…Can you say “book deal” and country-wide tour of grade schools and hospital cancer wards across the U.S.?

On second thought…How ’bout we scratch that cancer ward idea, lest you end up on this year’s “Most Frequent Causes of Death” list.

The mighty Holtzasaurus-Rex prepares to unleash his endless inspiration and toxic slobber over an unsuspecting audience

Enough of that though, time for this week’s Big Ten Power Rankings…

1. Ohio State (1) – Were in danger of becoming the latest victim of the most parity-filled college football season in recent memory…Until they had their Keith Hernandez moment and realized “We’re Ohio State, damn it!”

2. Michigan (2) – Chad Henne did a fine job rallying the troops from 10 points down at their “other” hated rivals (Michigan State) in the 4th quarter, but it was the rest of the Big Ten that had the last laugh when Henne ate concrete while prancing his way towards the locker room.

3. Illinois (4) – The “Juice” was loose Saturday night at Minnesota, as Juice Williams put on quite possibly his best performance of the year by passing for over 200 yards and running for well over a 100.

4. Penn State (5) – Did a nice job averting disaster against Purdue last Saturday and will be spending their bye week vacation in Philly.

5. Wisconsin (3) – From one quarter away from upsetting the #1 team in the nation to blowout victim: Talk about completing a collapse.

6. Purdue (6) – Hard to feel good about yourselves knowing that your only TD came on the the opening kickoff return and that your offense was a goalline punch away from going up 2 TDs in the first quarter, only to have it stripped away by Sean Lee.

7. Iowa (7) – For the second week in a row, the Hawkeyes managed to rally their way back from a 2 TD hole. This time they had to do it in a “hostile environment” at Northwestern.

8. Indiana (8) – It took them 14 years to do so, but the Hoosier football program finally sank the bismarck and will likely be bowling sometime in December. Congratulations.

9. Michigan State (10) – I’m bumping them up simply because they bounced back from an early defecit against Michigan to take the lead…only to blow it in the 4th quarter in typical Sparty fashion. I would add more but Michigan blogger M Go Blog sums up perfectly the creature that is Michigan State football.

10. Northwestern (9) – The Wild Kitties are still looking for that elusive 6th win and subsequent bowl eligibility and they’re going to have to get it in one of their two remaining challenges against Indiana and Illinois


Northwestern could sure use a pep-talk from the “most effectual” Top Cat. At least he’s not Lou Holtz…

11. Minnesota (11) – Hey Tom Dienhart, still giddy about Tim Brewster running that shit show up in Minneapolis?

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Monday, Monday…

October 8, 2007

Well, it sure feels good to finally win again, especially after looking like pure shit in back-to-back road games. And believe it or not, it seems things have taken a turn for the better on the field as we finally have a running game again, thanks to Evan Royster and Rodney Kinlaw. Kinlaw struggled early, fumbling on PSU’s opening drive but redeemed himself in the 2nd half when Royster went out with an injury to his thigh and went on to garner 168 yards rushing on 28 carries.

I want to focus more on the former though: I find it sad that it took Austin Scott getting kicked off the team in order for Evan Royster to get a legit shot at proving himself on the field. He sure did not disappoint, rushing for 88 yards on 16 carries. What really impressed me about Royster was his ability to just lower the shoulder and burst through the blocking holes while dragging defenders along with him, he’s a real North-South runner in the mold of Tony Hunt, one who just pounds away while tiring out opposing defenses throughout the game. It makes me cringe at the blind loyalty our coaching staff shows to seniors who routinely fumble the ball away while talented youngsters like Royster sit on the bench. No matter though, as I suddenly have a lot more hope for us against Wisconsin. Hell, oddsmakers seem to feel the same way too, as we are currently a 6.5 point favorite on Yahoo’s College Pick ‘Em.

Evan Royster: Coming To An Unprepared Defense Near You.

A Few More Thoughts on this past weekend:

  • While I’m definitely more optimistic than last week, I’m still keeping level-headed regarding the outcome of our season. Iowa is a terrible, terrible, team that not only is depleted due to injuries/suspensions, but lacks talent in key positions, particularly on offense. Their offense performed like a bunch of kids randomly assigned to a flag football team in gym class that had never played before, Jake Christensen mis-fired on his throws early and often, and the running game struggled to find holes to go through. We’ll find out a little more about ourselves when Wisconsin comes to town this weekend.
  • We got the best of both Morellis: There was the Morelli who avoided sacks, planted his feet, and let it fly about 60 yards downfield for a completion and slew together a string of consecutive brilliant passes and then there was the Morelli we’ve all come to know and accept, throwing INTs on back-to-back drives, the latter being one of the more idiotic decisions I can recall him ever making by trying to force a throw when he was in the process of being sacked. I should remind you at that point, we were ahead by 13 points with 8 minutes left, simply trying to milk some clock and maintain possession, absolutely no need to be forcing throws like that, just take the goddamn sack. This did lead to a unintentionally humorous moment however, when the student section cheered Morelli for throwing the ball away during the drive that would put us up 27-7, sticking the final nail in Iowa’s birdhouse.
  • Chris Bell’s wide-open drop was inexcusable but I’ll give him a pass because: (1) Anyone who has played football at any level (whether it be backyard two-hand touch, flag, pee-wee, high school, etc.) has likely fucked up on a freebie at some point in their careers and (2) Watching the replay on TV, it seemed to me that Bell was already concentrating on what kind of end zone celebration he would do to commemorate losing his TD virginity and forgot that he needed to secure the ball first.
  • Dan Connor and Sean Lee: Can you find a more brilliant linebacking tandem college football right now? Also, I’m still waiting for the student section to begin chanting Sean Lee’s name like Chong Li in Bloodsport everytime he makes a brilliant play.
  • I also can’t talk about this past weekend without addressing the never-ending parity that seems to have struck every weekend thus far this season: Appalachian State’s upset will not be topped, but USC’s unexplainable loss to the Stanford Tree-Huggers came pretty face-slappingly close.
  • Hey, Mike Hart: It looks like Jim “He’s Not a Michigan Man. I wish he’d never played here.” Harbaugh has done something your team has failed to do in a long time: beat USC.


You know how Mikey likes it…

  • On paper, Wisconsin losing to Illinois seems like a monumental upset but in reality the Badgers were a team on borrowed time. Their defense is extremely vulnerable to the ground game and their offense consists of one strategy: feed the ball to PJ Hill.
  • The two biggest coaches (literally) also garnered key wins, as Mark Mangino’s Kansas squad remained undefeated with an upset over a “hello, goodbye” Top 25 team in Kansas State and Charlie Weis’ Fightin’ Irish pulled a stunning 20-6 upset at UCLA, launching the Bruins into the running for the “Bo Pelini Sweepstakes.”


It’s not too often that both these coaches manage to snag bigger wins than their Body Mass Indexes.

  • The one team that managed to emerge from this clusterfuck of a weekend unscathed was #1 LSU, and even they came damn close to being an upset victim. Luckily for the Tigers, Les Miles has giant, squirrel-sized balls. How else do you explain going 5-for-5 on 4th down conversions (including one with LSU down by only a field goal late in the game and inside Florida’s 10 yard line.)

les-miles-nuts.JPG

If you thought I had a lot on my mind in this entry, just wait until tomorrow’s Big Ten Power Rankings. In the meantime, it’s back to work I go…


Thank You Touchdown Jesus!!!

September 4, 2007

After coming off one of the greatest weekends ever for a PSU fan (PSU winning handily while Michigan, Notre Dame, and Florida State tail-spinned towards defeat), I figured things would die down a bit before this upcoming Saturday’s showdown with the Fightin’ Irish.

But lo and behold, Fat Charlie is pulling out the stops and naming Jimmy Clausen the starting QB for this upcoming Saturday!  This is far and away the greatest news I’ve heard so far this week, what better way to get your QB his first career start than against a top-notch defense led by one of the most destructive linebacker/secondary groups in the country in a stadium that features what Kirk Herbstreit once called “The best student section in the country”?  This also adds more fuel to our defense’s fire…as if they weren’t already motivated enough by last year’s embarrassment in South Bend.  Now, our defense will make damn sure that they don’t get beat at home by a freshman prima-donna lining up under center.   Look for Clausen to suffer a beat-down similar to that South Park episode where the Pee-wee hockey players get completely annihilated by the Detroit Red Wings.


It’s Go-Time!

August 31, 2007

So, for the second year in a row I will be participating in a PSU prediction pool with a couple close friends of mine. Last year marked my first year participating in this prestigious pool (which apparently had been going on for several years) and I waltzed right in and won the damn thing, sparking jealously amongst my friends. Now, I’m back to defend my title and it all starts in less than 24 hours. I’m more wired up right now than Larry Craig in a bathroom stall.

Just a brief background on how the rules work for this pool: You go through each of the 12 games PSU plays this year and predict either a win or a loss and then the final score. You get one point for each correct pick plus you get an additional point if the average differential between the predicted scores and final scores of PSU and its opponent are 7 points or less (applies to correct picks only). For example: I’m predicting PSU will beat FIU 41-10. Let’s say the final score ends up being 45-7 PSU. So, that’s a 4-point difference between PSU’s predicted and final scores and a 3-point difference between FIU’s. Add 4 and 3 together and divide by 2 and you get an average 3.5 points differential between the predicted and final scores (and by now, you might be as confused as Dan Patrick and Kenny Mayne explaining the format of the Denslow Cup in “BASEketball”). After you finish picking the regular season games, you also have to pick which bowl PSU will end up in, who the opponent will be, and whether we will win or lose the bowl game, one point is awarded for each correct answer. Last but not least, you pick a national champion for one point, no score prediction necessary.

Now, without further ado…I present to you my game-by-game predictions:

Florida International: I think the proverbial dead horse has been beaten 100 times over by other PSU fans. This is a shit-tastic team that has nowhere to go but up, they finished ranked 119th out of 119 teams, and while the defense was half-decent before the infamous brawl with Miami (which will be their last bit of national TV exposure for a while unless new head coach Mario Cristobal goes Tony Montana on somebody), their offense was horrendous finishing exactly or close to dead last in total offense, run offense, and scoring offense. The only way these guys will reach the end zone is if the fourth string defense is in or if the NCAA decides to unleash its experimental “10-player mercy rule” after PSU scores the first several touchdowns. PSU 41-10
Notre Dame: A lot of fans are talking about how badly we are going beat them and how Charlie Weis is going to suffer total pwnage courtesy of Tom Bradley and the PSU defense, does anyone remember what all that talk led up to last year? The biggest differences of course between last year and this year are that the game is in Beaver Stadium and Notre Dame lost its entire offense, meaning this will be the first road game for whichever QB Charlie Weis secretly has waiting in the works. Also, it’s going to take more than a year for the new defensive coordinator to turn around ND’s defensive fortunes. Nonetheless, I think ND will surprise us by hanging around for 3 quarters before running out of steam. PSU 31-17

Frivolous lawsuits are not the only thing Charlie Weis will be losing this season

Frivolous lawsuits aren’t the only thing Charlie Weis will be losing this season

Buffalo: See: Florida International. On a bright note for Buffalo, they did actually win a game last year…against a certain PA team on our schedule. PSU 45-3

At Michigan: After predicting us to win last year, only to be disappointed once again, I told myself I would not pick PSU to win this game again until we actually follow through with one. I stand by my word. MICHIGAN 24-21

At Illinois: From all the hype the Illini are getting, one might think that Juice Williams and Arrelious Benn could be the second coming of Montana and Rice. Now, if only Juice can get better at throwing the damn ball…PSU 34-17

Iowa: First meeting with the Hawkeyes since the 6-4 cripple fight (which I can easily say was the worst game at Beaver Stadium I’ve ever been to). A lot has changed since then, as we’ve been on the upswing while they’ve dropped somewhat. Call me crazy, but I’m feeling a Minnesota 2005-like ass-whipping is in store here. Years of frustration for failing to beat Iowa this century will be let loose in Beaver Stadium come October 6. PSU 35-14

Wisconsin: A lot of experts are gung-ho about Wisconsin being the team to beat in the Big Ten, along with Michigan. While they will be breaking in a new QB, they return 9 others starters on offense, including mammoth tailback P.J. Hill. The defense should also be solid as usual with a couple of solid linebackers in Jonathan Casillas and DeAndre Levy leading the way. So, on paper it’s hard not to like the Badgers as a favorite to win the conference. If this game were in Madison, I’d pick the Badgers to win this. However, I like our home field advantage a little too much and think that along with some solid play by our offense and key stops by the defense will lead to us prevailing in what will be a higher-scoring-than-expected contest. PSU 28-24

At Indiana: What was once an off season full of hope has quickly diminished to one of salvation with the death of head coach Terry Hoeppner. Bill Lynch has a monumental task ahead of him, trying to make sure the Hoosiers don’t go down the path of Northwestern last year following the untimely death of their coach, Randy Walker. QB Kellen Lewis and 6’7” WR James Hardy may get an early score or two, but the PSU defense will adjust rather quickly and go on to win in blowout fashion. PSU 41-17

Ohio State: I’m not as worried about this game as I probably should be. Could be perhaps because the visiting team has only won twice since PSU and OSU started playing each other on a yearly basis in 1993? Could it also be because in the two years the visiting team won (OSU in 1995 and 2003) they still needed a last-minute TD to avoid a loss? How about the fact that OSU in 1995 and 2003 had clearly superior teams than us on paper? Add 2 and 2 and 2 together and what do you get? PSU 17-13

Purdue: Even less worried about this one, Purdue’s only beaten us twice and both those victories came during the “Dark Years” (2000-2004). Heck, we even beat them once during the Dark Years. The only question that begs to be answered here is: how many INTs will Curtis Painter throw on our secondary? PSU 28-10

Temple: This is not your older brother’s Temple team…or is it? PSU 52-7

At Michigan State: Mark Dantonio brings a “no-nonsense, back-to-the-basics, three yards and a cloud of dust” style of game to East Lansing. MSU will be turning back the clock ten years to when every Big Ten team (save Purdue) played this style of football. The only problem is, he’s inherited a team that’s not fit for his style of play (and a pretty bad team at that). The video below is a nice little highlight reel from last season to show you the kind of pickle Mark D’s gotten himself into, don’t expect his first game against PSU to go as well as his predecessor’s did. PSU 31-13

So that puts our regular season record at 11-1 if everything on here holds true to form. As for the postseason, I’m saying we end up winning the Orange Bowl against Virginia Tech and USC will go on to beat Michigan in the BCS Championship game.

Alright, I’m spent. Hopefully those unfortunate few of you who don’t have the Big Ten Network find a nice sports bar to watch tomorrow’s game at.


Countdown To College Football (The Finale)

August 29, 2007

I have just finished my final predictions for my close friend’s PSU football pool and will have a post/analysis of my picks up sometime either tomorrow or Friday so be on the lookout for that.

As a lot of you may know, the college football season officially kicks off tomorrow night with ESPN’s “Thursday Night Football” showcasing an imminent sacrificing of the lamb when LSU pays a visit to Mississippi State (8 PM ET). For now though, I present to you one final, favorite clip of mine from YouTube. This clip features a nice Star-Wars themed highlight reel of the 2005 epic between USC and Notre Dame. Even though it was put together by a Notre Dame fan, the clip manages to show great plays from both teams which is a rarity with highlight clips on YouTube.

I’m also trying to figure out who “Darth Poodle” is supposed to be in the clip. Lee Corso? Pete Carroll? Matt Leinart? This has “Keyser Soze” like potential.


Insomnia And The Hole In The Universe

August 24, 2007

Well, as I warned in my inaugural post: My duties as a first-year law student would likely keep me from updating this thing as much as I would like to. My average bedtime over the past few nights has been 3 AM so excuse me if my grammar structure is a little incoherent, but now that I’ve got time for a post (and a nap) I figure it’s time to get back to business.

As most of you know by now, the already injury-depleted defensive line suffered another big blow yesterday when Abe Koroma went down with a severe ankle injury which will require surgery, putting him out for what seems to be 6-8 weeks. The good folks at LaschOut provide some excellent commentary regarding the current D-line situation and what our coaching staff needs to do in order to overcome this nagging problem until someone gets healthy.

To make up for lost time, I’m going to play “mooch” and answer questions from the “Blue-White Roundtable” courtesy of There Is No Name On My Jersey that Run Up The Score, Black Shoe Diaries, The Nittany Line, and William Yurakso pitched in their two cents on a few days ago. Since I am not officially “in” with this prestigious group (meaning, I don’t get the questions in advance) I may end up receiving an injunction to stop posting these in this blog, but for now here goes nothing…

1. We’ll start with the bad news, what is your take on PSU’s off-season? The team has stated they are focusing on winning a National Title, will these off-field shenanigans get in the way of that lofty goal?

I remember before the start of the 2005 season when people were complaining that the “sky was falling” after Arrow-Gate and Phone-Gate. Remind me again, how did that season turn out? I think it involved Bobby Bowden and oranges and winning a January bowl game or something like that.

I am more worried about the mass injuries on the D-line hindering any chance we have at winning the National Title than I am about the off-field issues. Even though Andrew Quarless is suspended “indefinitely” I have a feeling that he should be back by the Michigan game the latest. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him back on the field for the Notre Dame game, especially if the game is tight and the offense needs an extra receiving boost. I’d also be willing to bet Chris Baker gets his felony charges dropped, finally putting the entire Apartment saga to rest and officially making Michael Madeira the Dave Wannstedt of District Attorneys.

2. Competition abounds! Give you take on the battle to start in the secondary. Do you prefer to have a rowdy competition or know who your guys will be?

I personally love the competition going on in the secondary, our backups could very well be starters at another Big Ten school so I love the fact that Lydell Sargeant is pushing a beast like A.J. Wallace for major PT…not that I’m hoping a key starter or two goes down in the secondary and forces us to dig deep into our bench, much like the D-line.

3. Describe your behavior as a PSU fan. I know some who are hand wringing nervous pacers and others who are drunken revelers before the football gods — where do you fit?

The moment I knew I was a true PSU fan was at age 7 (1991) when I cried after we lost to Miami (who were back then, at the peak of their “Thug U” days). While I no longer shed tears over tough losses, you can still expect to hear a bunch of George Carlin’s “Words You Can’t Say On Television” come flying out of my mouth combined with plenty of pacing back and forth in front of the TV, and perhaps some “Atta-Boy!” type clapping after a big play.

I should also note that I am one of those types whose whole mood on college football Saturdays rests solely on whether PSU wins. If we win against a quality opponent or beat the hell out of an opponent, I’m in a pretty celebratory mood. If we struggle to win against a dinky opponent or get our behinds kicked by a quality opponent, I’m usually in a somber but “I’ll survive” type of mood. However, tough losses or upset losses practically RUIN my Saturday nights, I’m usually tempted to sulk and drink my sorrows away after games like these.

LIGHTNING ROUND!

4. White Out, friend or foe? (I think the white-out is awesome but the blue unis are great! how do you reconcile this conundrum?)

I take it from the other bloggers’ responses that this question addresses the stadium-wide White Outs and not just the student section, I think they are okay once in a while but in general they should keep it to the student section only and encourage the rest of the fans to wear blue.

5. Who would you rather punch in the face: Lee Corso, Mark May, Lou Holtz, or Charlie Weiss?

Let’s do this by process of elimination starting from least likely candidate to most likely:

– Corso can get on my nerves sometimes but his job is to be the “crazy guy” who sometimes puts on the head of the visiting team’s mascot on College Gameday just to draw a nasty reaction from the home crowd. He’s pretty harmless in my opinion, so Corso is out.

-Lou Holtz reminds me of a sick dog in his twilight years…he tries so hard to be the energetic, youthful puppy that he once was but is just sluggish, lethargic, and slobbers all over himself. He needs to be put to sleep, not punched.

– Charlie Weis is a douchebag but I’m afraid of getting my fist stuck in his blubber so he’s eliminated.

– That leaves us with Mark May: The Pitt homer who avoids mentioning the words “Penn” and “State” consecutively whenever possible. I used to be apathetic towards this guy until I watched an episode of College Football Live in which they were doing their daily Notre Dame segment and he was discussing how tough ND’s first half of the schedule was and began rattling off all the strong opponents. As much as his disdain for PSU naturally is, I figured he would mention us as one of ND’s biggest challenges since oh, I don’t know…EVERY OTHER COLLEGE FOOTBALL ANALYST was bringing us up as a tough opponent for them, right? Nope, instead he makes absolutely no mention of us and to add insult to injury mentions MICHIGAN STATE of all teams! Michigan State? You mean the same Michigan State that went 4-8 last year, lacked discipline, lacked the ability to hang onto a lead late in games, and needed an uncharacteristic role reversal against Northwestern to avoid going winless in Big Ten play? The same Michigan State team that’s ill-equipped to play new coach Mark Dantonio’s smash mouth-style of football because John L Smith left him with finesse-type players? Eat my shorts, Mark May.

But let’s face it, we all know that Craig James is the one who most deserves a right hook to the jaw.