July 22, 2010

Linkbacker U can't see Larry Johnson Sr. in 'panic mode'

Mike Mauti... the next Poz?

Oh, we can only hope... From PSU's resident AP reporter, Genaro Armas:
"Michael Mauti's brown hair crept out from beneath the cap turned backward on his head, and his arms were crossed in front of his heavily muscled chest. A bystander remarked that Mauti looked a lot like one of Linebacker U's most famous graduates, the stoic Paul Posluszny."
I highly recommend the full article. No, not just because it's all about this site's namesake. But Armas is good at what he does.

Try knowing your audience... Zac Jackson at Fox Sports Ohio likes the idea of the new Lucas Oil Stadium getting into the Big Ten Championship Game race--an idea I happen to like, too. But he sells short the passion of Big Ten football fans along the way, calling out by name Penn State and Iowa fans:
"I think Indianapolis and the brand new Lucas Oil Stadium is the best site choice. I’m all for bringing people and business to downtown Cleveland, but playing it inside in Indianapolis (or Detroit, or even St. Louis) is a much better plan. First and foremost, there’s too much at stake in this BCS system to potentially play that game in eight inches of snow if there’s an alternative. Secondly, the Big Ten’s goal is to fill every seat – easy to do in Cleveland if Ohio State is playing, but is it feasible in snowy Cleveland if not? Ohio State fans will travel regardless (Indy is only an hour-max drive more from Columbus than Cleveland is), but I’m not sure Penn State-Iowa would sell out if it’s played outside in Cleveland on six days notice."
No harm, no BCS foul... Adam Rittenberg at ESPN talked to a BCS big-wig about how a potential Big Ten championship game would impact the Big Ten's regularly-earned second BCS bowl bid:
"I’ve looked back at it and I don’t think you can quantify that [a championship game] has made a whole lot of difference," BCS executive director Bill Hancock said this week. "The jury’s still out on the effect of championship games of how many teams you get in the BCS. We’ll know more when Big Ten and Pac-10 go to championship games, but I don’t see a tremendous advantage or disadvantage."
Rutgers is still respectable, according to Dave Curtis at TSN.

10-3 is where the Detroit News pegs Penn State to finish in 2010.

A tornado watch was issued for State College yesterday.

Fire up those DVRs! Cuz it's Penn State week on BTN!

Let me finish...

This was originally going to go at the top of this post, but I ended up going on such a rant, that I figured you wouldn't read on once you were done with it. So, here ya go.

I was going to wait to break out the "OMG!ONOZ!" but this one just begs for it. Also, I should mention that I generally hate engaging in fisking, but sometimes it's unavoidable. This is one of those times.

Ron Musselman isn't a writer who strikes me generally either negatively or positively, but his July 18 story Recruiting: PSU hurt by Paterno's absence just screams "Hey! Look at me! Link to this article!" So, naturally, that's exactly what I'm going to do this morning.

Let's start out with, as you might have expected, the first "expert" quote on Penn State's 2011 class: "
Penn State is lagging behind this year in... states where they are normally very strong," said national recruiting expert Tom Lemming of CBS... and Maxpreps.com. "I don't expect Penn State to have a real good year in recruiting, unless they go outside of their normal states... If things don't turn around soon, Penn State could find itself in sort of a panic mode."
I would find it very difficult to imagine Mike McQueary and Larry Johnson, Sr. in anything remotely close to panic mode, particularly after pulling in, as Musselman himself points out in a so very by-the-way manner, "a strong 2010 football recruiting class that many experts ranked among the top 10 in the country."

That was in the first few graphs of the article, naturally, since the headline and the lede of the story was written to frame this story in a predisposed light: Joe Paterno is bad for recruiting.

Then there was a few hundred words about this and that, how Joe isn't really all that bad, pointing out that this would be a tough recruiting class for any program, and all that jazz.

Wait, what was that? Oh yeah, sandwiched between the JoePa=bad intro, and this final nugget from Rivals.com's Mike Farrell... (I kid you not, it was the very last graph in the story)
"When Paterno is gone, I think Penn State's recruiting will improve tremendously. They will have a younger, more energetic person in charge who will go on the road and compete with all the top coaches for the best players in the country."
... between those, Musselman basically blew up the entire argument:

-Lemming said of current verbal Shawn Oakman:
"With good coaching, he will be a No. 1 draft pick."
So much for not being able to recruit talent this year.

-Musselman then points out:
"Penn State's 2011 class is expected to range between 14 and 18 players. The fact that no WPIAL players appear on Lemming's list of the top 100 players in the country does not help the Lions."
But why should it matter that the entire state of Pennsylvania sucks for recruiting this year?

-Farrell, before the quote above, said:
"I still think Penn State is going to be OK. I still think they will get some good football players and finish among the top three teams in the Big Ten. But their class won't be anywhere near as good as it was last year."
So which is it? Is Joe Paterno causing the destruction of Penn State football? Or is Penn State going to be OK? Because I swear finishing with a top-3 Big Ten recruiting class, is a supposedly terrible year for recruiting, was pretty fucking good.

-And finally, my favorite, from Lemming:
"Joe Paterno is an icon, he's the biggest name in a college football," Lemming said. "If he's not out there on the road matching up against the Urban Meyers and Lane Kiffins of the world, it is not going to help your program; it is only going to hurt it... Paterno is the biggest weapon Penn State has. Kids want to see him and say he came to their house or school."
Wow, isn't that just a sucker punch to the collective gut of everyone associated with the Penn State football program? What Lemming really said was that without Paterno, Penn State has no remarkable attributes.

As this recruiting season drags on, I'm sure we will know better which way this will all turn out. Either those guys will be proven correct in some way. Or, the more likely outcome, I will be proven correct in my assertion that all these guys are doing is advancing a media-driven storyline that gets hits, sells papers, and draws in viewers.

Penn State will be fine in recruiting. Penn state has been fine in recruiting; very fine, actually. And if I seriously have to sit here and write another 1000 words on why everything in that article was essentially disingenuous, I'm going to throw this keyboard across the room.

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  1. I’m not sure Penn State-Iowa would sell out if it’s played outside in Cleveland on six days notice

    *Sarcasm on* Yes, because we all know Penn State doesn't travel well or have a very big Alumni association. I'm sure there aren't very many Alumni in the state of Ohio that would love to drive to the game.*Sarcasm off*

  2. Thought that was kind of ridiculous, too. I could understand if he had said "Minnesota vs Northwestern"... but Penn State vs Iowa? Seriously? Damn...

  3. Great rebuttle Mike,
    Mussleman imo is a hack, no talent, "wait I take that back", anti Joe/Penn Stater. He loves to fuel his agenda with PSU passive aggression, leaving him with articles that go on and on having never really saying anthing relevant. I do believe he is the ESPN designated PSU beat writer and yet hails from Pitt? Gee, theres no irony there... It's almost like Dave Jones and the O$U alliance covering the Nits but at least Dave throws a bone out once in a while genuinely for Joe.

  4. @NittanyLionFootballFreak - You can say that about the majority of 'sports writers.' It's one profession that you can get by on with little thinking and fact-checking. Just write a bunch of crap and see how many gullible people swallow it whole.

  5. jopa didnt make a vistit last year and we had a top ten class now this year we have a down year and it is because joe didnt take visits something is not adding up

  6. @Anon

    Dude, seriously, just end your comment with a "-name" or something. We really don't want anonymous comments here. I know it's an option in the menu, but Google makes us allow anonymous comments if we don't want to make everyone register. So please do us a favor and leave at least your first name.

  7. You kind of contridict yourself as well: PSU can do well with recruiting, and still do better if Joe Pa made some visits and actually hit the road recruiting. I know last year he was going to visit a RB who eventually went to North Carolina, and he visited the very top recruits that we really want. But you can't deny that he is an incredible asset, who can make a big difference, if he visits a recruit and their families. He is famous for visiting and having families fall in love with him and PSU. That does not diminish from the great skills of LJ or Big Red (who have been excellent). It's just stating an obvious fact--Joe Pa is a great recruiter and tool that we have and is not taking maximum advantage of.