June 24, 2010

Linkbacker-U says 'Nice try, Buckeyes'

Maybe the World Cup ain't so bad. At least, not now that the U.S. is no longer part of the "well, at least you tried" group.

When Ohio State takes on Algeria on Nov. 13 in Columb--oh, wait, this isn't that kind of football? Well, it's still a lame idea. Ohio State fans have tried to rustle up support to flood the Horseshoe with vuvuzelas (Can we get this word officially in the spell check dictionary now? It's still coming up with a red squiggly line under it.) when Penn State comes to town this fall. I mean, hey, they must be serious, 'cause there's a Facebook page an errrvrything.

Turns out the playground monitors said no to the idea. And the Big Ten is sticking by it's rules: (HT: EDSBS)
A. Nonpermissible Items -- The arena management is responsible for enforcing the Big Ten policies in this regard. The following items may not be brought into the arena by patrons: Alcoholic beverages, bottles, cans, cups or containers, irritants (e.g., noisemakers) or strobe lights. In addition, the facility may have additional restrictions on items that can be brought into the arena.
Seriously, Buckeyes? No only did you completely rip off Penn State's Seven Nation Army cheer, but now you're ripping off the most impoverished continent on earth? Say it with me... nice!

'Atta Boy, Adam! There is only ONE Linebacker U. You know, Penn State fans aren't all that self-centered, particularly when it comes to knowing our place in the "[position] U" battles. The Nittany Lions (despite some actually decent claims to these monikers) will never be Quarterback U, or Tailback U, or anything other than Linebacker U. And we're okay with that, really. Penn State is the only program in college football where that kind of nickname is as big as the team itself.

But I guess when you're known for little more than a 10-10 tie game in 1966, it leaves some stretching for something... anything.
"Tom from Detroit writes: Hey Adam,Is it just me, or does the Big Ten have a contender for new Linebacker-U? ... Adam Rittenberg: Tom, I think we'd both agree that it takes more than a good three-year stretch of linebackers to earn a designation like Linebacker U... Penn State always will be known as Linebacker U., but Michigan State is certainly building its own legacy at the position.
Try beating Penn State anywhere outside East Lansing, more than four times the last 17 years, then we'll talk.

Big Ten-SEC football challenge? Nah. But who's fault is that really, Dave Curtis?
Do you ever see college football doing what college basketball does with nonconference challenges between leagues—for example, a Big Ten-SEC challenge in September, where each team plays?

Curtis: I've always loved this idea, but it's unfeasible. Big schools value home games way too much to sacrifice one every other year. Take, say, Penn State. The Nits always play at least seven home games, and sometimes (like last year) play eight. They don't need a big road win to help their BCS status—sweeping through the Big Ten and getting four road wins there would be plenty.

Penn State is no innocent victim in this scheduling war, but to pick the Nittany Lions out of the pack is a bit misleading in this instance. But as you saw in this Wizard of Odds post a few years back, the SEC is head-and-shoulders beyond any other conference in terms of avoiding travel for away football games. I mean, seriously, if the SEC were game to play an annual matchup with the Big Ten in, say, Washington, D.C., then I would give them credit due. But for now, no dice.

The Big 12 10 conference south and to the west of the Big Ten might be stabilized for now, but dont' think for a second their media isn't still thinking that it's only a matter of time before the other bomb drops in this conference realignment thing.
Let’s not kid ourselves about what saving the Big 12 was all about — what was best for Texas. Oklahoma has since postured, as has Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and others for the sake of their “pride.” But that’s all it was — posturing.

When it came down to it, if Texas said “jump,” just about everyone in the Big 12 was going to. In this case, they said “stay,” and the conference survives to see, well hopefully, at least another few years.
For us in the Big Ten, this expansion thing is on the back burner. But for the Big 12 remnants, this thing is still boiling over onto the floor.

Meanwhile, at the Legion of Doom... The Big Ten media is in a rather different state right now. We no longer are inundated with cliffhanger articles about who will join and when. Nope. Now we get to enjoy the next 12 months of prognosticating which teams will end up in which divisions. Like about a million others the last few days, here's one that is kind of... not really... doesn't... oh well, just read.
The scheduling model that was used by the Big 12 - teams faced the same three interdivisional opponents in back-to-back seasons, once at home and once on the road - seems more palatable to me. It makes for fairer scheduling and results in a truer champion, but it means two-year breaks from the schedule for teams outside the division... If the Big Ten goes that way - and it pains me to say this - then those annual OSU-Penn State games probably have to be sacrificed... As good as the series has been in the 17 years the Nittany Lions have been in the league, this is relatively recent as rivalries go; the schools met only a handful of times before then... If something has to give, and lots of somethings probably will have to give before this process is finished, having Penn State on the scheduling rotation doesn't seem that serious, particularly when there's a chance the teams still could meet in the title game.
Tell all that to the World Wide Leader. If you think ESPN is going to allow the breakup of one of college football's best annual matchups, you're nuts. I know, I know. The Big Ten Network is gaining steam by the second, and has much more clout with the conference--and college football as a whole--than it did a few years ago. But the big bucks are still with ESPN, whether we like it or not.

And Russ Rose still won't smile. Penn State women's volleyball is arguably the greatest collegiate women's sports dynasty... ever. Seriously. So naturally, they took home some hardware at the Big Ten Network Awards Show this week. Our ladies won the Women's Team of the Year, and Rose won Women's Coach of the Year.

This has been--next to actually winning the last 100 NCAA titles--probably the best week for Penn State women's volleyball, with a bunch of it coming at superwoman Megan Hodge, who received every award under the sun. The latest? The Suzy Favor Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year.

Some Big Ten team blogs were disappointed, some elated. Others, well, just had to throw in a photo of John L. Smith winning the Land Grant Trophy. (Yeah, that actually did happen.) But you can't diminish the fact that the BTN is doing everything it can to promote Big Ten sports as a whole, not just football and basketball. I really like the way the BTN is operating.

In Scores of Other Games... ESPN has a really good series this week about college football's strength and conditioning coaches, featuring Penn State's own John Thomas. He's probably one of the most valuable unknowns in the Nittany Lion football program. There's also a companion piece looking at weight room and locker room traditions, with, you guessed it, Penn State's big white "S" rules. So go take a look. Jared Odrick is doing fine down in Miami. Gambling is bad. But having fun is cool with us. Kevin over at BSD gives us Vegas lines on how Penn State will do this year, along with almost everything else for 2010. Rose Bowl, presented by... someone. I guess all that money pumped into the Mets' Citi stadium had to come from somewhere, because Citi is no longer going to sponsor the Rose Bowl.

Stay tuned for Tim's enhanced interrogation with Temple Football Forever, and Galen's profile of the fittin' Owls.

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1 comment:

  1. I love how that strength and conditioning article mentions the controversy over John Thomas' HIT style of training. I vividly remember getting in vicious arguments over the internet back in Penn State's dark days over S&C. I supported Thomas because HIT causes fewer injuries and everyone was out to get Thomas. Well you don't hear people complaining now. It's amazing how winning will make problems go away.