Ladies and Gentlemen, We Got Him…

December 16, 2008

Kevin Newsome is ours!

Kevin Newsome doesnt do bicep curls, biceps curl in fear at the sight of Kevin Newsome...

Kevin Newsome doesn't do bicep curls, biceps curl in fear at the sight of Kevin Newsome...

Did I also mention he’s enrolling in January? Suddenly, there’s a reason to show up for the Blue-White game besides shaking off the tailgating rust…

Additionally, JoePa has signed himself an 3-year extension, causing Seminoles fans everywhere to cringe and  Oops Pow Surprise to celebrate as if Shonn Greene had won the Heisman Trophy.

I can barely contain my excitement at this’s like Christmas came 9 days early…Time for a drunken “Goo Punch” dance party!


I Got Rose Bowl Tickets And I Ji$$ed In My Pants…

December 15, 2008

That’s right, thanks to knowing friends who have other friends in high places, Yours Truly has managed to snag himself a ticket to Pasadena.  Not sure yet where I’ll be sitting, but that doesn’t matter so much as just being there, period.  This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I’ll finally be able to scratch off my ‘bucket list.’

Speaking of climaxes:  Kevin Newsome will announce his college decision tomorrow and his final three schools are down to Penn State, Virginia Tech, and Boston College. Additionally, there’s been a lot of jibber-jabber on the message boards and blogs about insider info claiming Newsome is a PSU lean, especially now that Pat Devlin is dearly departed.

Now, I’m not one who prematurely celebrates over rumors on the internets but I found one particular post from a Black Shoe Diaries poster that was quite encouraging:

As I said earlier today, all my VT coworkers came in to work mad at me today. They’ve all heard over the weekend that Newsome has swung our way with Devlin’s transfer. And some of these people are the type with subscription info.

Cross those fingers…Hopefully this time tomorrow evening, the message boards will for once be full of anything but “the sky is falling!” posts.

Two Cents On Pat Devlin

December 11, 2008

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past 24 hours, you’re well aware by now of Pat Devlin’s decision to transfer.  At this point, it looks like he is headed to Delaware, an FCS school where he will be eligible to play immediately next fall instead of having to sit a year out.

I can’t blame Pat one bit for his decision, Daryll Clark had established himself as “the man” at QB and Pat could see the writing on the wall: that he wouldn’t be the full-time starter until 2010, his final year of eligibility.  This became even more evident when Devlin did not see a single minute of action against Iowa despite the fact Clark showed played as if he was still suffering the after-effects of his concussion.

Rather than go down the path of Mike McQueary (who waited four long years, including two under Wally Richardson who many times frustrated the fans enough to call for his benching in favor of McQueary), Pat decided he’d rather have two years of solid PT in order to impress the NFL scouts and raise his draft stock high enough to become the next Joe Flacco.

Normally, a transfer such as this wouldn’t sting too badly but given our coaching staff’s ineptness as far as recruiting QB’s go (no QBs drafted in the past two years, *cough* JAY *cough*), this is a huge blow unless we land ourselves Kevin Newsome or Tajh Boyd so now is the time to light those candles and say a  few prayers, Nittany Nation.

Thanksgiving Weekend Bullet-Points

November 29, 2008

So yeah, the blogging has been rather sporadic as of late.  You can blame it on the turkey, blame it on the fact that I was down in Maryland for the past few days with relatives and thus had no time for relevant blogging, blame it on terrorism being back in the front page of the news, whatever.  Bottom line: I need to make some of it up and what better way to do so than to revive an HHV favorite, the “bullet points?”  Here goes nothing…

  • I realize I have yet to put up my own post-game analysis on the football team’s beatdown of Michigan State, I’ll try my damndest to get it up either tomorrow or Monday.  Better late than never…
  • Being that I was in Maryland and couldn’t find a link to a PSU radio broadcast, I was forced to read in-game threads on message boards in order to follow the Rhode Island game.  I never realized one could feel as much anticipation clicking on the “refresh” button on the web browser, waiting to read whether Pringle or Battle hit a potential game-tying shot as one could by just listening to it on the radio.
  • I can’t say that I was shocked that we lost to URI, they’re a pretty solid team and we usually don’t fare favorably against such teams…particularly in neutral/road environments.  Don’t expect much against Georgia Tech this Wednesday.
  • What the hell was ED thinking playing only 7 guys against URI?  Woodyard and Babb need to be thrown into the fire in order t get some quality PT before the Big Ten season.  Unless of course, ED plans on playing a 7-man rotation for the Big Ten slate, in which case we’re royally EFF-YOU-SEE-KAYED.
  • On a positive note: I’m glad to see the Fighting DeChellises were able to get off the mat and bounce back with a 78-54 shellacking of Towson in the 3rd place game of the Philly Classic.  Just looking at the box score, it’s very encouraging to see AJ III with 13 rebounds (even if its against Towson) and Battle nearly racking up a triple-double (15 pts, 9 assists, 8 rebs).  If we can get that kind of performance on a few nights in the Big Ten, there could be a few upsets in store for us.
  • Speaking of the Towson game: John and I conversed by cell phone before tipoff today, and we both picked PSU to cover the 7-point spread in their favor, along with Crispin and Cream.  So, the standings in our contest after two straight days of hoops action currently stand as such:

HHV 3-1

C&C 3-1

John 2-2

  • My fingers are crossed that Oregon hangs on to its 20-point lead over Oregon State (currently in the 3rd quarter as I’m typing this entry) and helps secure an almost certain matchup in the Rose Bowl with USC.
  • Speaking of USC, they currently lead 24-0 at the half as I’m typing this entry.  If ND can spring a little bit of offense, Charlie Weis has a very legit shot at beating the spread, and thus saving his job for the time being.

Alright, that’s it…Enjoy whatever’s left of your holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2008

May you all feast upon your turkey like Jack Ham feasted upon opposing quarterbacks.

Also, thanks to Crispin and Cream for providing a quality recap of the PSU-Penn basketball game, so I don’t have to do it.

Kissed By A Rose…

November 23, 2008
The triumphant return of Daryll Clark!

Because it would be a crime against humanity if nobody in the PSU blogging fraternity made a Seal reference…

Big Ten Champs, Rose Bowl bound, what more is there to say?  Time for a Janet Reno dance party!

Better Know An Opponent: Michigan State (aka “The Final Countdown”)

November 22, 2008

LAST TIME OUT: November 17, 2007 – Michigan State struck first to go up 7-0 but PSU responded swiftly by putting up 24 unanswered points, including a TD run by Kevin Kelly off of a fake field goal at the start of the third quarter.  At the time, such a play seemed to be a back-breaker to Sparty’s confidence and would lead to the Nittany Lions cruising to an easy victory in East Lansing.

But, as a certain former Big Ten football coach once exclaimed: “NOT SO FAST, MY FRIEND!” Sparty came to life as QB Brian Hoyer continually decimated PSU’s “bend but don’t break” defense which resembled something more along the lines of “it’s broke and we can’t do a damn thing to fix it.”  Before anyone realized what had happened, Sparty had regained the lead with just a few minutes to play.

PSU tried desperately to respond, relying on the legs of third-string tailback Brent Carter to carry them down the field all the way to the MSU 24-yard line before JayPa, in all his infinte wisdom, decided to give Anthony Morelli one final shot at getting rid of his “can’t get it done in the clutch” image by allowing Morelli to throw four straight incompletions and seal the worst choke job in the Joe Paterno era (17 point-lead blown). This was shortly followed by Yours Truly screaming obscenities to himself in a local Damon’s parking lot.

OFFENSE: No surprise here folks, Javon Ringer is the heart and soul of Sparty’s offense.  Mark Dantonio’s gameplan will likely involve getting the ball to Ringer at least 30 times in order to try to wear down our D-line while also shortening the game and thus, giving our offense fewer opportunities on the field. However, Ringer has looked rather pedestrian against teams that have a defensive pulse.  Thus far, Cal, Ohio State, and Wisconsin have kept Ringer from reaching the century mark for rushing and two of those three teams ended up delivering Sparty its only defeats this season.  Certainly, a very encouraging sign for our defense which ranks 2nd against the run.

Unfortunately, there’s another person on MSU’s offense to worry about:  Brian Hoyer.  Yes, that same Brian Hoyer who college football analysts have labeled “inconsistent” all season long due to his sub-50% pass completion rate and his paltry 9 TDs/6 INTs.  The same Brian Hoyer who looked like John-fucking-Elway against our secondary during last year’s collapse, going 16-for-21 passing with 257 yards and 4 TDs.

Words cannot emphasize enough how important it is for PSU’s defense to get consistent pressure on Hoyer whenever he tries to make our defense pay for zeroing in on Ringer.  Case in point: Wisconsin held Ringer to a season-low 58 yards rushing but allowed Hoyer to throw for 251 yards through the air which made all the difference as it helped set up MSU’s game-winning field goal.  Aaron Maybin will need to lead the 4-man rushing attack once again, and it wouldn’t hurt to try blitzing linebackers not named Josh Hull.

HHV hopes to see plenty of a different shade of green on Brian Hoyers jersey

HHV hopes to see plenty of a different shade of green on Brian Hoyer's jersey

Receiving-wise, Mark Dell and Blair White are consistent big play threats as both have racked up nearly 600 yards receiving each.  Fortunately for our secondary, Dell is questionable due to injuries and may not play.  Tight end Charlie Gantt has also made some noise for Sparty as a great secondary option and in fact, leads the Spartans in receiving TDs with 4 of them.  So, while there may not be a Devin Thomas in this group, MSU still has guys who are more than capable of burning us for a score (or at least setting up one) if we’re caught napping.

DEFENSE: The pass defense is pretty decent, ranking 39th in the nation (191 yards per game).  Otis Wiley is the clear leader of the secondary with 4 INTs, one of them going back for a pick-six.  Wiley will have to come up with a big turnover or two if MSU wants to have a serious shot at winning consecutive games over PSU for the first time since this “rivalry” began in 1993.

Sparty’s greatest concerns though, lie in its rush defense which currently gives up on average about 148.5 yards a game and ranks 73rd in the nation.  PSU’s offensive gameplan had better involve a shitload of handoffs to Evan Royster and Stephfon Green and several instances of Daryll Clark calling his own number.  The key matchup here will be our O-line against their D-line.  If the O-line can regain its swagger from earlier in the year, it could be a very long afternoon for Sparty’s defense.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Brett Swenson is perfect on extra points and is 19 of 24 on field goals with a very impressive 6 for 7 between 40-49 yards.  His long is from 50 yards out.

Bottom line: Don’t let this game come down to a field goal.

PREDICTION: I realize Michigan State is technically still alive for a Rose Bowl bid should they do the unthinkable and win tomorrow.  Unless I’ve interpreted the tiebreaker rules incorrectly though, if PSU loses tomorrow and OSU takes care of Michigan as expected, then the Buckeyes earn the Rose Bowl bid.  Why do I bring this up?  Because OSU-Michigan is a noon game whose outcome will be known before Sparty and PSU kickoff at 3:30.  If the Buckeyes indeed have the win wrapped up, then there will be a little less motivation for Sparty as they wouldn’t have a BCS bowl to play for and are already headed to a January bowl game regardless of the outcome.

This is not to say that PSU has no reason to be motivated:  It’s senior day for the high school class of 2005 that is credited with turning around the fortunes of a fallen program in its darkest hour under the bright lights of Beaver Stadium with a Rose Bowl berth and second Big Ten championship in four years on the line.  If there is ever a time for PSU to regain its early to mid-season swagger, THIS is the game to do it in.

While on paper, PSU has the clear edge talent-wise, one cannot underestimate the coaching brilliancy of Mark Dantonio.  He is the MacGyver of college football coaches, being able to do a lot with very little.  It was less than two years ago that Dantonio accepted the MSU coaching job, taking over a program racking dis-a-prin and toughness and brought an old-school smashmouth style of play to East Lansing.

While Dantonio’s methods may be as outdated as Betamax, the fans sure as hell aren’t complaining.  Anyone who can take a 4-8 team to 9-2 and January bowl bound in just two seasons deserves the highest of accolades.  The comeback win over PSU last year surely had to have been a major confidence-booster to the program, and undoubtedly Sparty knows they stand a chance tomorrow as well.  Suffice it to say, this is not your older brother’s Michigan State football team.

With that being said however, PSU has rose to the occasion in all of their much-hyped games this season (see: Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio State) and I see absolutely no reason why they can’t do the same tomorrow.  MSU will put up a fight no doubt, especially since they’ve had a bye week to rest up and are a little more fresh than PSU.  However, a bye week is a double-edged sword whose downfall is that it can also take a team that’s on a roll out of its rhythm as they try to shake off the rust(see: PSU at Iowa).

Ergo, PSU will get off to a stronger start, come up with a few more big plays, and will feed off the frenzied Beaver Stadium crowd/student White-Out.  The victory bell win ring one final time for the seniors as Derrick Williams stands in the end zone, clutching a giant red rose with his teeth.

Penn State 27Michigan State 17

Oh, and of course.  How could I end a PSU-MSU post without displaying the ginormous abomination that is the “Land Grant Trophy?”

Come home to Papa Baker!