June 4, 2010

TMI: Youngstown State Edition

Welcome to Too Much Information, a weekly look at each team on the Penn State Nittany Lions schedule. Oh, this won't be one of those 'way too early' looks at each football team and in depth analysis on Penn State's chances of victory, no at Linebacker-U we realize that anything we say in June will be long forgotten in August when things get real. We'll save the stats and breakdowns for the season when we can be scrutinized on a weekly basis without taxing your memories. No, TMI is a whimsical look at the University behind the football team because after all, it's all about higher education right?

With that in mind I give you Youngstown State.


Quite frankly I wasn't even aware there was a state named Youngstown but then again, I did flunk geography. The state of Youngstown is nestled just 10 miles west of the Pennsylvania line and just 61 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. Youngstown sits midway between New York City and Chicago and has a population of around 80,000 people.

Here's a close-up of the districts of the state of Youngstown.

Youngstown is named after New York native John Young who surveyed the area in 1796. On February 9, 1797, Young purchased the area of 15,560 acres (63 km²) from the Western Reserve Land Company for a wooden nickel and a bottle of Clark Stanley's finest.

While many of the area's early settlers came from Connecticut, Youngstown attracted a significant number of Scots-Irish settlers from neighboring Pennsylvania. Consequently, alcoholism and despair were Youngstown's main exports until coal was discovered in the early 1800s which paved the way for Youngstown's inclusion on the network of the famed Erie Canal. The discovery of coal added black lung to Youngstown's already impressive export portfolio.

Just like surrounding areas, Youngstown thrived during the steel industry boom and then fell on hard times during the industry collapse of the 1970's. The decline of Youngstown's steel industry and its adverse effects on local workers were the subjects of Bruce Springsteen's ballad, "Youngstown", featured on his The Ghost of Tom Joad album. To date, Springsteen's song is Youngstown's single greatest achievement.
The state of Youngstown is governed by a velociraptor named Jay Williams.

I am ready to break free from the politics of the past. RAWR*

Williams is much like Pennsylvania's own governor Ed Rendell but slightly less aggressive and with far fewer mob ties. Much like Rendell, Williams was elected under suspicious conditions; while in a heated debate, Williams bit the head off of his top opponent. Rendell just had his opponent whacked.

About the University

The university's origins trace back to 1908, when the local branch of the YMCA established a school of law within the Youngstown Association School. Students would learn valuable skills such as reciting law while swimming laps and citing precedent while arguing foul calls in basketball. On September 1, 1967, after becoming a public institution, Youngstown University became officially known as Youngstown State University. Even today, YSU is still haunted by the sounds of the Village People.

Youngstown State plays football in the Missouri Valley Football Conference which changed its name from the Gateway Football Conference in 2008 which was a combination of the Gateway Collegiate Athletic Conference and the old Missouri Valley Conference. Got that? Good. YSU is nicknamed the Penguins and have a mascot named Pete the Penguin who oddly enough, looks like a pissed off Arby's patron.

Where's my curly fry bitch!?!?

Football related data

Last year's Record: 6 – 5 (6th in the MVC)
YSU has won four national championships, with all of them coming under former head coach Jim Tressel. The Sweatervest, who left the university following the 2000 season to coach at Ohio State, helped the Penguins claim titles in 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1997, as well as runner-up titles in 1992 and 1999.

Cool Fact

YSU is associated with longtime coach Dwight "Dike" Beede, who, after noticing on-field confusion due to officials using whistles to signal a penalty, invented the penalty flag during a game in 1941.

Other pertinent info

YSU plays its home games at Stambaugh Stadium, nicknamed "The Ice Castle", which has an official capacity of 20,630, one of the largest in Division I FCS. Yes I said "20,000" and "largest" in the same sentence, feel free to snicker. YSU has a long time rivalry with the Akron Zips which ended in 1995. Each year from 1940 until the rivalry ended, the Zips and Penguins would play for the Steel Tire, a trophy named for the two cities main products: Akron for its rubber and Youngstown for its steel. Youngstown State leads the overall series with a record of 19-14-2.

The Penguins have sent 20 players to the NFL, two of which are currently playing. In addition to Tressel, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio began his coaching career at YSU. Former Notre Dame head coach Bob Davie played for the Penguins, but if I were a YSU fan I probably wouldn't mention that.

Famous alumni

Billy Clapper the college basketball head coach for Penn State Altoona graduated from YSU. Ron Jaworski and Mark Mangino were Penguins. Ed O'Neill graduated from Youngstown. That's right, freakin' Al Bundy was a Penguin. But it's not all good, douchebag and convicted criminal James Traficant called YSU home.

*RAWR means I love you in Dinosaur

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  1. "Where's my curly fry bitch!?!?"

    TFJ for that one!

  2. Love that little guy, the look on his face is priceless.

  3. Ahhh, I see a quick google blog search of "Youngstown" has us at #1 baby!

  4. "YSU has a long time rivalry with the Akron Zips which ended in 1995. Each year from 1940 until the rivalry ended... Youngstown State leads the overall series with a record of 19-14-2."

    So they played every season from '40 until '95? But they only have 35 games recorded? Am I missing something? :)

  5. The YSU-AKR series took a break from 1942-58, possibly due to WWII at first, but then the schools probably just didn't get around to renewing it until the '59 season. But it was, technically speaking, a series that spanned from 1940 thru 1995.

    Galen was correct, in a sense, "Each year from 1940 until the rivalry ended..." That is, "each year [that the game was played], the Zips and Penguins would play for the Steel Tire...", until the rivalry ended. Get what I'm saying?

  6. Makes sense. Just nit picking ;)

  7. You forgot Youngstown's two most famous citizens: James Traficant and Ed O'Neill.

  8. Lou,
    No I didn't they are in the last paragraph. I would be remiss to not mention Al Bundy.