December 27, 2019

The Cotton Bowl post

It's been a busy holiday season that's cut into any kind of posting around LBU. But I'm not going to leave this season hanging. Here's my Cotton Bowl post.

With KJ Hamler battling a fever and sinus infection, Penn State might have a play or two missing from the game. Whether it be Hamler making a mistake, or the staff just leaving some things out of the gameplan. Not sure. He still has a full day's rest, which isn't insignificant to his recovery time.

Hearing Noah Cain ready to rumble is encouraging, and with all four running backs seemingly hungry, I wouldn't doubt if Penn State has a very run-heavy gameplan ahead. I don't know what kind of game Tyler Bowen will call as the interim OC. But the pieces are in place for a downhill offense that hits some big passes to Pat Freiermuth.

Speaking of the offense--actually, wait, let's touch on the defense first. It'll be Yetur Gross-Matos's last game. He's surely hungry to go out with a big game, and I think he can do it. This Memphis team isn't a pushover, but I have more confidence in the Penn State defense looking to make a statement. Micah Parsons promised as much. Would you want to doubt him?

Anyway, offense. Penn State finally hired a new offensive coordinator. As Franklin has proven time and again, he pulled in another great hire in Kirk Ciarrocca from Minnesota. His offense carved up Penn State with a beautiful gameplan. But the pessimist--i.e. PSU fan from the early 2000s--in me wondered if carving up the Penn State defense was really as impressive as we'd like it to sound. Look, PSU had a great defense. But how many offenses have done to the Nittany Lions what Minnesota did? More than a few, right? Still, getting Ciarrocca is a big move to maintain the consistency Penn State has enjoyed since 2016. He's good at developing quarterbacks, and knows how to utilize pass game with big receivers, all the while grinding down opponents with the run game.

I'm excited. You should be excited. Let's go State.

The pick: Penn State 34, Memphis 18

November 27, 2019

Penn State is more than just fine

These guys beat Ohio State. But does
no one remember how bad Penn State
sucked the two seasons before that?
Not much went how I'd expected Saturday. There was not much there to believe Penn State would force the Buckeyes into a dogfight, but the Nittany Lions did just that. It was a hell of a performance for a team that was banged up, and eventually lost its starting quarterback during the game. Much more impressive than the offense--which I thought played a really good game against the most destructive defense in college football--was Penn State's defense never giving up, even after allowing some chunk yardage and 21 points before halftime. 

It was an inspired game, played by a Penn State team that apparently is as good as their record suggests. Is Penn State as good as Ohio State, Clemson, or LSU? No. Are they as good as a 10-(likely)win team in a Power Five conference that beat good teams along the way? Yes. That's something to hang your hat on. Fuck all those asshole fans chirping about how this team failed miserably this season and James Franklin isn't good enough to coach at Penn State. 

I've had it. Done. Penn State is a blue blood program, almost certainly winning 10 games for the third time in four seasons. They're headed back to a New Years Six bowl game. This team, under Franklin's direction, is wonderful shape. It's in better shape than it has been since the 1990s, and even then, it wasn't really even as good as we like to remember it being. If I recall correctly, Penn State was blown out by Ohio State and Michigan a few times in the 90s. 

Moral victories go only so far. I get it. But there are some years when performance on the field must be taken into consideration, win or loss. Penn State's two losses, both close, came against teams that are a combined 21-1. And you know the team that caused the "1"? Penn State beat that team on the road. 

There's no point in trying to argue the fact that Penn State is having a great, overachieving season. Stop being so angry. It's no fun. 

This week's pick: Penn State 52, Rutgers 3. Oh, by the way, I did predict last week Penn State would score 17