January 31, 2011

Wrestling Wreport: that’s what I call a disaster

Pic from my crappy iPhone camera
For most of the season the Penn State wrestling team has been far exceeding expectations to the point that they've climbed all the way to #1 in the polls. With a few small exceptions the lineup from top to bottom has been getting better and better all year and although they are very young they've got 7 wrestlers ranked. Going into Sunday's sold-out dual, Penn State had a pretty clear cut path to beating defending champ Iowa: win the matches where they were ranked higher, limit the damage where they were not, and get some bonus from their big guns. None of that happened and in fact the exact opposite did. Penn State could manage only one major while giving up a pin and a major of their own. They also lost three duals where they were ranked higher. In a word Sunday was a disaster.

Talor Battle earns co-Player of the Week

Finally this season, Talor Battle gets a little--though still far too little in the overall scheme of things--recognition for what he's been doing to keep Penn State's NCAA tournament hopes alive, while possibly crushing a few other teams' along the way.
Penn State’s Talor Battle posted two 20-point games and surpassed 1,900 career points, leading Penn State in victories over Iowa and No. 17/15 Wisconsin last week. Battle averaged 22.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists while shooting 51.7 percent from the floor. The senior scored a game-high 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting in Penn State’s 65-51 victory over Iowa. In the Lions’ win against the Badgers, he logged 20 of his 22 points in the second half and scored 12 of Penn State’s first 16 points of the second stanza to lead Penn State to a 56-52 victory. This marks Battle’s first weekly award of the season and the second of his career.

Last Penn State Player of the Week: Jamelle Cornley (Jan. 26, 2009)
And yes, I also am quite disturbed that Penn State hasn't been able to grab a player of the week award in almost two years to the day.

No matter, congrats to Talor. He still deserves much better, but this is good for the moment.

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January 30, 2011

Lady Lions knock off No. 24 Ohio State

It's been the question for the last month: Should Penn State be ranked, or at the minimum, receive some votes in the polls?

Well the Lady Lions definitely took a big step this week towards getting some of that recognition from the voters, by taking care of business against Illinois on Thursday, then this afternoon defeating No. 24 Ohio State by a comfortable 9-point margin in the BJC.

Battle Scores 20 in the 2nd Half, as Penn State Upsets Wisconsin


Penn State had a very a slow start against the Wisconsin Badgers yesterday but some relentless seniors led Penn State to beat their 3rd ranked opponent this season.

At one point Penn State was down by 13 in the first half but the deficit did not seem so intimidating. Penn State's offense was terrible in the first half as was their sloppy play but the Lions' zone defense was also forcing turnovers on the Badgers' side.

PSU was down 29-22 at halftime but their were reasons to be optimistic.
Talor Battle, who was 1-5 for 2 points in the first half, turned things around in the second half with an amazing 20 points. The intensity stayed high on defense as well. Penn State was swarming Wisconsin on defense which led to forced jumpshots.

January 29, 2011

Penn State Hosts Wisconsin: Will The Futility Streak Finally Die?

Penn State's futility streak against Wisconsin can be
perfectly summed up in this photo.
So, the Fighting DeChellises were able to weather the storm and avoid a resume-destroying loss against Iowa, bumping their conference record back up to .500 (4-4), and starting up a plethora of message board topics regarding just how many Big Ten wins PSU needs to go dancing in March. In other words: People are suddenly starting to pay attention and become cautiously opitmistic again.

That's why it happens to be such perfect timing that Penn State is hosting a critical home game this Saturday against Wisconsin (4 PM ET, Big Ten Network)...the same Wisconsin team that Ed DeChellis has yet to snag a victory from. That's right boys and girls, Jerry Dunn was in the process of tanking the program into oblivion the last time PSU defeated the Badgers in 2003. Ed appeared to have finally ended the futility streak last year in Madison with his team holding a lead as high as 16 points in the second half. Alas, in true PSU fashion, they choked it away before eventually losing in overtime.

January 25, 2011

Wrestling Wreport: Penn State new #1

Cameron Wade beats Pitt's Ryan Tomei
With Penn State's 30-7 domination of Pitt and the subsequent 36-8 dismantling of Indiana the Lions remain undefeated at 13-0. More importantly though, last week then No. 17 Lehigh came up with this season's biggest upset defeating then No. 1 Cornell 17-15.

In a season where these Penn State Nittany Lions have exceeded even the craziest of lofty expectations, this young team lead by 3 freshmen all ranked in the top 5, is now sitting on top of the rankings in first place. Granted, rankings mean even less in wrestling then they do in football but still, the blue and white Kool-Aid sippers out there weren't even predicting a season like this. It's truly remarkable how far this team has come in just two short seasons.

Let's take a quick look back at last weekend's action after the break.

Everybody Off: Coaching Carousel 2011 had a few wild rides, and a few breakdowns along the way

Some teams made out like bandits. Others simply settled. A few more nearly fell off the platform.

But like it or not, all 21 vacant FBS/D-1A head coaching positions are now filled for 2011. Here is the rundown for all the changes made this hiring season.

VH1/MTV Reality Shows -- The real nasty, dirty coaching moves you couldn't take your eyes off of...

January 24, 2011

Lady Lions' split of the Hoosier State won't help break into the polls

Nikki Greene (Photo: PSU)
It was an up-down end of the week for Penn State, but it's always better to finish strong. That's just what the Lady Lions did against Indiana in the BJC on Sunday, pulling away from the Hoosiers for an 82-69 win. The W came after a rather deflating performance in West Lafayette on Thursday, as the Boilermakers downed PSU 79-69.

Before this weekend, I started hearing grumbles--fully justified, I might add--about Penn State's lack of recognition in the major polls. Coming into the Purdue game, Penn State had a nice 31 spot in the RPI, with the 65th toughest schedule in women's hoops. That included a victory over a Texas Tech team that started the season 16-1 before dropping the past two to No. 13 Oklahoma and No. 2 Baylor.

Of course, losing to a mediocre Purdue team by 10 doesn't exactly do much to get you into the polls. The Boilermakers are a traditional power in the Big Ten, but now sitting at 13-7 with a loss Sunday to Michigan, there was really no excuse for Penn State to drop the game to Purdue. It's that kind of loss that prevents a team like Penn State from breaking away from the conference pack--something that was totally doable this week.

Penn State is now eligible for the Tournament, but with another bad loss like the one at Purdue, the Lady Lions can kiss goodbye what should be a locked up spot in the NCAAs.

January 23, 2011

Nittany Lions solid once again in Shrine Game

Evan Royster breaks away from Amara Kamara
Evan Royster (Photo: LBU/Mike)
Evan Royster ran for 38 yards and a four-yard touchdown, while Ollie Ogbu had a 10-yard sack to help the East squad win, 25-8, the 86th East-West Shrine Game yesterday afternoon in Orlando.

It was the second time in as many years that Penn Staters helped the East squad to victory with big plays, as Andrew Quarless caught the game-winner in the 2010 edition of the all-star game.

While neither Royster or Ogbu won player of the game honors, their contributions to the victory did nothing short of boosting their draft stock, as well as boost the always-high image scouts have of Penn State.

While there won't be any Nittany Lions playing in the Senior Bowl game this week, Brett Brackett will play in the new Eastham Energy College All-Star Game. The game will be played Sunday in Tempe, Arizona and will be broadcast on FOX College Sports.

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Shocker! PSU hockey will play in 'Pegula Ice Arena'

This has to have been one of the biggest surprises we've heard in a long time, right?
Penn State's Board of Trustees today approved the name of the University's future state-of-the-art, multi-purpose arena - "Pegula Ice Arena"- after donors Terrence M. and Kim Pegula. In mid-September, the University announced the Pegulas' $88 million gift, the largest private gift in Penn State's history, which was intended to fund the arena as well as help to establish an NCAA Division I men's hockey program.

Okay, so what did we expect, Penn State to just forgo a press release just because everyone and their mother knew the arena would be named after the Pegulas? Of course not. I just can't imagine there aren't a few smirks floating around as these puppies roll off the keyboard and out to the press.

Still, hockey will be big at Penn State. It's a good move by Penn State, regardless of your opinions on one entity basically buying an entire athletic program for the school. Obviously, Penn State wasn't going to say, "eh, no thanks." So we should be grateful that what has long been considered a potential hotbed for college hockey will finally get the chance to roar.

The arena will be completed and opened in 2013, and should play host to much more than college hockey, including what many anticipate to be a perfect location for Pens-Flyers rumbles.

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January 22, 2011

Shrine Game kicks off 4 p.m. today with Evan Royster and Ollie Ogbu


2010 Penn State vs Michigan State
2010 Penn State vs Michigan State
Evan Royster (top) and Ollie Ogbu (bottom).
(Photos: LBU/Mike)
 Senior all-star games are usually good for a dose of college football when you're sitting around, staring down the fact that there will be nothing of the sort for another four months 'till the Blue-White Game, and another eight months 'till the season kickoff. So, if you happen to be home or at a local establishment today at or after 4 p.m., check out Evan Royster and Ollie Ogbu play in the classic East-West Shrine Game:
The contest will be played at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, Fla., the site of Penn State's win over LSU in the 2010 Capital One Bowl. The East-West Shrine Game will begin at 4:00 p.m. ET and be televised by NFL Network (Comcast Ch. 180, 275 and 860 in State College).

Former NFL head coaches Dan Reeves (East) and Wade Phillips (West) will lead the all-star squads.

Ogbu, Royster and all the East-West Shrine players kicked off game week on Sunday by visiting Tampa's Shriners Hospital for Children. Every year since the game's inception in 1925, the East-West Shrine Game has been played to raise funds for the 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children, an international health care system dedicated to providing expert specialty care without financial obligation to patients or their families.
At the very least, turn it on for a few minutes, just to get one last feeling of college football on a Saturday. 'Cause it's going to be a while before you see it again.

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January 21, 2011

Wrestling Wreport: weekend preview

Welcome to Penn State, Pitt your stay will not be a pleasant one
Penn State will travel to Indiana for a road dual at 2PM Sunday, but before that they get to host old-time rival Pitt for a nationally televised dual tonight at 6PM on the Big Ten Network. Since it's big enough to broadcast live on the BTN we might as well take a look at what is in store for our 2nd-ranked Lions.

January 20, 2011

Deion Barnes verbals to Penn State

Deion Barnes (Photo: Freep.com)
Philadelphia/Northeast defensive end Deion Barnes verbally commited to Penn State this morning. We'll get to his stats and measurements in a sec. But this seems a bit more important, particularly with some of the character issues Penn State has faced along the defensive front the past few seasons:
"I am making this decision because of academics and the comfort level," he told 247Sports.com. "I am not going to be one of those guys that just stays three years, I want to be there for four. For those reasons, I am going to Penn State."
That's definitely a comforting statement from Barnes. With the early departures of so many defensive linemen at Penn State since 2007, hearing that this kid is coming to Happy Valley to work--and study--hard for four full years is a welcome attitude.

Barnes is quite an athlete at defensive end. He measures up at 6-foot-5, and a svelte 230 pounds. I'm sure Larry Johnson, Sr. will want him to bulk up a bit more, but that's a hell of a lot better than having to lose weight coming into college. His senior season, Barnes logged 85 tackles, 38 tackles for loss and 13 sacks.

Welcome aboard, Deion.

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Purdue Beats Penn State On a Last-Second Shot. Yeah, This One Hurts a Little...


Look, there's no sugar-coating this one: It hurts about as much as any football loss. I had goosebumps seeing the camerman lift his camera above the Penn State huddle right after DJ Jackson hit the go-ahead trey with 18 seconds left that gave PSU a rare lead in a game which Purdue held a double-digit advantage for most of the first half and a slim lead for most of the second half. I began to prematurely envision about just how awesome this win would look with a touch of video editing wizardry courtesy of the Big Ten Network's "The Journey" crew. It was then however, that another thought crossed my mind, preventing me from getting too excited: Purdue has the ball with the shot clock turned off. Surely enough, JaJuan Johnson got wide open after Jeff Brooks got screened to death, hitting a game-winner that I knew was good the moment it left his hands.

January 18, 2011

Can both Penn State hoops teams hold onto the positive momentum?

Maggie Lucas (Photo: PSU)
Penn State basketball is having quite a nice week.

The men's team fell to No. 2 Ohio State Saturday night, but the 69-66 margin against the now-No. 1 Buckeyes (18-0, 5-0) proves that the Nittany Lions' (10-7, 3-3) back-to-back upsets of ranked MSU and Illinois were no flukes.

On the women's side, coming off 83-62 dismantling of Illinois, the Lady Lions (15-4, 4-1) are now tied with Michigan State (16-2, 4-1) atop the Big Ten standings, with 11 games left in the regular season. But you know the scariest part of this Lady Lions team? There are only three upperclassmen--just one senior, Julia Trogele--on the entire roster.

January 17, 2011

Bill Belton verbals to Penn State

Bill Belton is the only QB in New Jersey
history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards
in a season in back-to-back years.
(Photo: courierpostonline.com)
Seemingly every time I step away from the computer lately, Penn State lands a new football commitment. This time, it's New Jersey's athlete/receiver prospect Bill Belton. Via Sean Fitz:
"He was here for a home visit and basically sat down and talked with us and hit it off with my parents," he said. "It was something that I felt good about and my parents felt good about, so I just went ahead and did it."
This is a very nice pickup, particularly after losing Ishaq Williams to Notre Dame last week. Belton was originally part of Pitt's fantastic recruiting class. But he de-committed once Dave Wannstedt was forced to resign.

January 14, 2011

Ishaq Williams to Notre Dame: When 'the next Joe Paterno' is better than the REAL Joe Paterno

Joe Paterno heads to the locker room
You know what's better than "the next Joe Paterno"?
Hey Ishaq Williams' dad, you know Joe Paterno is NOT dead, right?

Just wait until this gets more attention than it is right now. But I just read the news on Ishaq Williams commiting to Notre Dame today.

Yeah, it sucks that Penn State just missed out on a great recruit from JoePa's home borough of Brooklyn. But this is how it goes in recruiting, so I'm not at all mad that Williams chose Notre Dame over Penn State. The Irish have a good coach and should be rising soon again. There is a lot to like about Notre Dame.

But this is not exactly a flattering quote, considering Penn State was in Williams' top three right to the end (emphasis mine):

January 13, 2011

UConn Hires Penn State Alum Paul Pasqualoni

Paul Pasqualoni (left) is returning to the
Big East as a head coach. (Photo: Syracuse.com)
UConn hired former Syracuse head coach Paul Pasqualoni today to lead the Huskies.

Two reasons why I'm using a post for this news.

1. I posted earlier this week that Mark Whipple was probably getting the UConn head coaching job. Turns out almost everything I read this week on the UConn coaching search was wrong or the reporters were more than slightly off-track. So, to correct our record here, I should devote the same amount of time now to set things straight.

January 12, 2011

Upset 2.0: Talor Battle Led, Andrew Jones Finished

Talor Battle, doin' what he does.
Talor Battle said in the postgame that the team practiced as if they lost to Michigan State on Saturday. That mindset is how Penn State came out last night to defeat #16 Illinois.

Penn State played a full 40 minutes of intensity from beginning to end. The whole game Talor Battle was in star form scoring 26 points and some of the most ridiculous 3-pointers I have ever seen, including one from the edge of the PSU center logo. Important side note: Talor Battle was 6-for-6 from the charity stripe.

Andrew Jones was the only other player to score in double figures and his final bucket was the powerful rebound and slam in the final second to win the game.

Hoke to Michigan, Graham to Pitt, Whipple to UConn

Tom Bradley [1]
Tom Bradley may not be going anywhere.
(Photo: LBU/Mike)
All that mass hysteria racing through the Penn State media, message boards and--ahem--blogs lately about Tom Bradley leaving for a head coaching job may turn out to be nothing more than a stressful lesson in patience.

You know those open coaching positions--especially those at Pitt and UConn--that were supposed to signal a massive shift for Penn State, Michigan, the SEC, the Big East, and THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE?

Yeah, all those schools have their new head coaches, but nothing has really changed. Scrap is most likely staying at Penn State for now. And, believe it or not, the universe is still in tact.

Penn State Upsets Yet Another Top 25 Opponent: The Goo Punch Is Still Flowing


What's this? A second straight win over a ranked team? If you can't remember the last time this happened then it's probably a good thing because only older gentlemen who were alive and cognizant enough in 1954 would have the capability of recalling such a feat. I went against my better judgment and decided to venture over to a nearby sports bar and watch the final 10 minutes of this contest. Boy, am I glad I did. I'm glad that Andrew Jones, a guy who I've criticized harshly at times on this blog, stepped up and slammed home Talor Battle's attempt to re-create "the shot" to win the game. I'm glad that Eric over at Raise The Curtains didn't even come close to killing Talor this time in the post-game student stampede at mid-court.

Most importantly, I'm glad that I don't have to write another scathing post about Ed DeChellis: Even though I still firmly believe he is not the long-term answer to PSU basketball success, Ed deserves praise tonight as well. In fact, I think it's safe to re-instate the "Fighting DeChellises" nickname that I revoked after that putrid loss to Maine last month since, you know, they actually are putting up fights again (let alone, actually winning these fights).

Bill will provide a full-fledged recap of the mass hysteria for you all tomorrow. In the meantime, drink up! Be merry! The Goo Punch is still flowing.

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January 11, 2011

BlogPoll 2010: Week 16 Rough Draft Ballot

Thus endeth another season and I am lost without a football game to watch every day of the week. Here's the draft of the final poll. I took some crap in the recap for ranking Virginia Tech as low as I did, but they're really not the great, even for a being a conference champ. Do I have Florida State too high? Perhaps. Bowls are always such a hard indicator, with the extra time to heal and prepare clouding the waters. Peruse my sleep-deprived madness. Questions, corrections, suggestions and objections are always welcome.

Wrestling Wreport: PSU wins Virginia Duals

Penn State entered last weekend's Virginia Duals as the top ranked team in the tournament and did what a top ranked team does: cruise to a fairly easy win. The Lions hammered VMI 42 -3, then beat Edinboro 37- 12, #23 Kent State 27 -15 and #15 Michigan 24-12 in the championship. The team seemed to walk through the Kent State match but other than that, they wrestled very well.

Emotions May Be Too High for Another Upset

Does Penn State have enough for another
upset of a ranked Big Ten team? (Photo: AP)
Penn State's last win against ranked Michigan State was great but now the #16 Fighting Illini are coming into town to burst Penn State's bubble.

The past few days the Nittany Lion players have been on such a high that it will be tough for them to come back to reality and be prepared for Illinois. Illinois guards are talented but young, Talor Battle should come out aggressive. Fans should be more worried about the two big seniors in Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale who will both be getting in the way of Brooks and Jones on both offense and defense.

Look for a decent sized crowd looking for another upset but let's just hope for a good showing against a strong team.

If you cannot make it to the game you can listen to Steve Irons and I commentate the whole game on thelion.fm or if you are in the State College area you can listen on the radio on 90.7fm.

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Three Alabama junior starters jumping to the NFL

Penn State actually held Julio Jones in check last season.
But it's sure better not to even have to worry about him
for 2011's matchup in University Park.
(Photo: Getty/Kevin C. Cox)
When your team is stacked with All-America talent all the way down to the scrub team, losing a handful of juniors early to the NFL Draft isn't so devastating as it would be for another average team.

But Penn State fans can't be disappointed to see that the Crimson Tide will lose 2009 Heisman winner Mark Ingram, receiver Julio Jones, and end Marcel Dareus--all three All-Americas--early to the 2011 NFL Draft.

January 10, 2011

Penn State Recruiting the Trenches in 2011 Will Pay Off Down the Road

2010 Penn State vs Michigan State
Recruiting depth along the lines is critical to any team's success.
Penn State knows this all too well.
(Pictured: Stefen Wisniewski. Photo: LBU/Mike)
Forget those god-awful star ratings. Ignore the class rankings. Never mind how many "skill" players Penn State brings in with its 2011 recruiting class.


Because everything depends, and will depend, on how well Penn State can recruit and develop the offensive and defensive lines in the next 2, 3, and 4 years.

January 9, 2011

Welcome to the Show, Andrew Jones

Andrew Jones is seen here taking it to Michigan State
during last year's upset in East Lansing.
This year in the BJC, it was the same story
for both Penn State and Jones.
(Photo: PennLive.com)
After tough losses to Michigan and Purdue, I was having deja vu of Penn State basketball one year ago. This weekend's upset over Michigan State may not send Penn State the NCAA Tournament but it did give fans something to look forward to this spring.

In my last post before the Penn State-Michigan game I emphasized on the importance and potential of Andrew Jones. Well Andrew Jones stepped up against the Spartans by going 4-4 scoring 8 points in the first ten minutes of the game and finished strong with an impressive 16 points. Jones also finally showed some toughness on the boards with 4 offensive rebounds. This was the Andrew Jones from two years ago in the NIT we saw and hopefully this was his 2011 coming out party. As happy as I am to see Jones play well, he was not the only Lion to show his worth.

January 8, 2011

Penn State Beats Michigan State In Basketball (GOO PUNCH Edition)


I am kicking myself right now. I could have gone down to my local sports bar which is literally a 2-3 minute drive from my apartment and watched this game on the Big Ten Network. Alas, I let logic and reason dictate my decision today and decided to chill in my apartment and follow the game on my twitter feed, figuring that Sparty would eventually blow an inferior PSU team away.

Of course, Ed DeChellis and the senior quartet of Talor Battle, Jeff Brooks (and his amazing double-double of 17 points, 12 boards), DJ Jackson, and Andrew Jones had other plans. Each of the aforementioned four players carried the load scoring-wise by pitching in double digits in scoring each. Redshirt freshman Jermaine Marshall had his coming-out party, scoring 8 points and making a few great hustle plays...This win sort of makes up for losing to Sparty at Beaver Stadium for the first time in 45 years a couple of months ago, and we'll have further analysis either tonight or sometime tomorrow, hopefully from someone who actually watched the game. In the meantime, enjoy this fresh batch of Sparty upset-flavored Goo Punch. 

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Donovan Smith verbals to Penn State

Updated 2:30 p.m.
(Photo: VarsitySportsNetwork.com)
Owings Mills (MD) lineman Donovan Smith announced moments ago at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl that he will commit to Penn State.

This is a very big grab for Penn State. The class is reaching its limit for scholarship commits, and Smith is critical to giving some real depth here. The 2011 class is growing heavy on the lines, both offense and defense.

There aren't any others announcing today, but New York lineman/linebacker Ishaq Williams could do it any day, with Penn State in the top choices. This could be a very good weekend for Penn State recruiting, particularly after such a bad start.

Kicker Sam Ficken verbals to Penn State

(Photo: Thomas Quinn/NWI Times)
Valparaiso (Ind.) placekicker Sam Ficken jumped on Penn State's scholarship offer yesterday, verbally committing to the Nittany Lions within hours of getting the call from Mike McQueary.

Ficken visited Penn State for the Michigan game last year, and came away impressed by the fans and the atmosphere.

January 7, 2011

Collegian: Rob Bolden Will Stay at Penn State

Rob Bolden in the pocket
According to a report by the Daily Collegian today, Rob Bolden plans to stay at Penn State.
(Photo: LBU/Mike)
Rob Bolden will continue his college career at Penn State--at least for now--and compete this spring and summer for the 2011 starting quarterback job, the freshman's former high school football coach told the Daily Collegian today:

Lady Lions rebound nicely at Northwestern, 80-68

Maggie Lucas ripped off 20 points,
hitting 5 of 6 three-pointers.
(Photo: Tom Ruane/Collegian)
Penn State is looking more and more like a real contender to make noise in the Big Ten women's basketball race this season. Sitting now at 13-4(2-1 Big Ten), the Lady Lions are now a half-game out of first place behind Michigan State (14-1, 2-0 Big Ten), a team that Penn State will only face once this season, Feb. 10 in the Bryce Jordan Center.

But before we get ahead of ourselves looking towards a huge one-game playoff for a high seed in the Big Ten tournament (oh, wouldn't that be sweet!), let's recap last night's game, an 80-63 win at Northwestern (12-4, 1-2 Big Ten).

January 6, 2011

Hurry Up and Wait: The Tom Bradley Reports

You may have noticed how quiet we've been here about the Tom Bradley story. There is a reason for it. There is only so many "reports" that can be taken seriously for the first hour, until they're debunked and we're back at square one. Sure Tom Bradley will probably interview and accept a job somewhere else. We wish him all the best. But until then, we're going to sit tight and wait it out. That is, by the way, the complete opposite of what every media outlet in the Keystone State has been doing for the last 24 hours...

January 5, 2011

Ryan Nowicki verbals to Penn State

Cactus senior Ryan Nowicki.
(Photo: Dave Martinez/Glendale Today)
While you're hunkering down in the bomb shelter for what will probably be the worst off-season in the last 70 years of Penn State football, let's just get this out of the way. Arizona offensive lineman Ryan Nowicki verbally committed to play for Penn State. As per usual, Sean Fitz has it:
"I committed to Penn State yesterday," said Glendale (Az.) Cactus offensive lineman Ryan Nowicki said on Wednesday evening. "Coach Kenney was here, I was talking to him. We brought it up and I told him that I was going to go there to school. I got on the phone with [Joe] Paterno and talked to him and he was excited about it."
The nice part about Nowicki is that he was recruited by the likes of actual I-A programs. Ok, so that's harsh. But he is a decent pickup, particularly along the offensive line. This class is really hitting the trenches, which is a good thing in a down year overall recruiting. You can get skill players almost anywhere. But if you lack depth on the lines, you're screwed.

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Wrestling Wreport: The ‘everybody wants to rule the world’ edition

*Cue mid-80's nostalgia*

ESPN: Michigan Fires Rich Rodriguez
(updated: It's Done)

Across the Big Ten conference, fans do not rejoice. Michigan has reportedly fired Rich Rodriguez. It was rumored to be just a formality that it would happen this week, but things look like it will be official today.

Rich Rodriguez unhappy
Rich Rod gave Penn State something it hadn't known for more than a decade--a football win over Michigan. In fact, he was so generous, he gave the Nittany Lions three of'em. (Photo: LBU/Mike)
From Joe Schad:
Michigan released a statement Wednesday saying athletic director Dave Brandon will discuss the state of the program at 12:30 p.m. ET. The source told Schad that Rodriguez is meeting with his staff. A players meeting is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
Update: It's done.

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January 4, 2011

Kevin Newsome changes plans? Nate Stupar says QB will stay at PSU (updated)

Penn State quarterback Kevin Newsome has apparently decided to stay in Happy Valley, according to teammate linebacker Nate Stupar's twitter account:
In December, it was reported that Newsome wanted to transfer out of the program. It was assumed he wanted to go elsewhere due to his No. 3 position on the QB depth chart this past season, losing out to true frosh Rob Bolden and later redshirt sophomore Matt McGloin. Newsome was widely regarded as the heir-apparent to Daryll Clark, after he was the primary backup in 2009 to the two-time 1st Team All-Big Ten quarterback.

This is making my head hurt...

Update: Nate backed off a bit, but it's still interesting with everything else going on, that Newsome's name came up. I, and most of the people I talk to, figured he was the one definite move in the quarterback equation. Again, head... hurting...

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Paterno blocks Rob Bolden's transfer (updated w/Bolden comments)

Rob Bolden runs for 17 yards
Rob Bolden won't be going anywhere... for now. (Photo: LBU/Mike)
Will this be one of those kinds of off-seasons? It sure is shaping up to be. Joe Paterno has reportedly denied Rob Bolden's request for a release from his scholarship, which would allow him to transfer out of the program. Via Ron Musselman:

Rob Bolden plans sitdown with Paterno

Robert Bolden & Jay Paterno
Rob Bolden (left), his dad Robert (center),
and Jay Paterno at the Blue White Game.
(Photo: LBU/Mike)
In what has quickly become the juiciest storyline this side of the Ohio River, Rob Bolden's mom (there's a way to start this post, huh?) told the AP that Rob and his dad are going back to Penn State today, with plans to discuss the freshman quarterbacks' future, inlcuding a request for a release of his scholarship.

January 3, 2011

Outback Bowl '11: Florida 37, Penn State 24

(Photo: Gary W. Green/Orlando Sentinel)
The Gators slammed the door shut on what could have been a very nice season finale. It's time to move forward, on to signing day, spring practice, summer camp, and the 2011 season. But first, let's do a quick review of the game.

What to like. What to hate. What to not freak out about.

Right now...

2011 Penn State Men's Volleyball Roster

Updated: 1/6/11

No.NamePos.Cl./El.Ht.High SchoolHometown
13Comfort, TomOpp.SO6-6Orchard ParkOrchard Park, N.Y.
2Covello, TorSJR6-4PennsburyYardley, Pa.
3Curry, ConnorLFR6-0Newport HarborNewport Beach, Calif.
6Del Valle, DennisLSR5-8Colegio Señora MercedToa Alta, Puerto Rico
7Goas, EdgardoSRS JR6-5Colegio MaristaSan Juan, Puerto Rico
4Goodell, NickOHFR6-4Ambridge HighAmbridge, Pa.
12Hendries, IanMHSO6-8La Costa CanyonCardiff, Calif.
15Kegerreis, ScottOHRS FR6-6Twin ValleyHoneybrook, Pa.
8Mars, AlanOHSR6-7Gates-ChiliRochester, N.Y.
5Mars, KyleOHSO6-3Gates ChiliRochester, N.Y.
11Olsen, JaceOHFR6-7Mira CostaManhattan Beach, Calif.
9Russell, PeterOHFR6-5CentennialEllicott City, Md.
17Sunder, JoeOHRS JR6-7HempfieldGreensburg, Pa.
10Turko, NickMHSO6-5Red LandLewisberry, Pa.
14Wolf, RyanOHJR6-3Central YorkYork, Pa.
16Yasalonis, JoeMB/OPPFR6-8PennsburyYardley, Pa.
Mark PavlikHead Coach
Colin McMillanAssistant Coach
Jay HosackAssistant Coach

January 2, 2011

Rob Bolden is Seeking a Transfer:
This Story Lacks Moxie


Rob Bolden under center [1]
Bye-bye Bolden. Oh, what should have been... (Photo: LBU/Mike)
Just when Penn State fans couldn't imagine a shittier start to 2011, this bombshell arrives in timely fashion (via Lions247.com):
A day after Penn State's loss to Florida in the Outback Bowl, the father of true freshman Rob Bolden told Lions247.com that his son will seek a transfer from the school.

It's true, he's looking to leave Penn State,"said Robert Bolden, Sr. on Sunday afternoon. "He's notified the coaches, that's as far as it's gone so far. We're waiting on the next step now...."

"They're not looking for him to leave, they don't want him to leave, but he no longer wants to play at Penn State. He's not happy at Penn State currently. If it was up to me, he definitely [would leave], without a doubt. He's definitely made it known that he does not want to be there anymore."
I sure hope Joe Paterno is satisfied with that extra-long leash he gave Matt McGloin, because his unwillingness to bench the struggling quarterback and try something different has once again bit him in the ass. With Kevin Newsome already seeking a transfer himself, PSU is now down to two scholarship QBs once again, much like two years ago. This presumably sets the stage now for redshirt-freshman Paul Jones and his five-star talent to take over the reins next Fall.

Your move, Shane McGregor.

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Penn State Looks to Go 2-0 in the Big Ten Against Michigan

Andrew Jones grabs a rebound against Indiana.
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Opportunities today for PSU Big Men

Penn State basketball broke a two game losing as they took down Indiana but now the Nittany Lions are staying on the road and heading to Ann Arbor. It is hard to stay positive when talking about Penn State basketball but let's be optimistic.

A win against the Hoosiers is never a win to put on one team's resume but more importantly was that the Lions shot 53% against Indiana. Even in Penn State's non-conference wins, players were taking plenty of ill-advised shots ut let's see if Battle and the rest of the gang can continue playing smart basketball throughout the Big Ten schedule.

January 1, 2011

McGloin Leads Penn State to Outback Bowl Loss

(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
There is a reason Matt McGloin didn't win the starting quarterback job in late August 2010.

For all the talk of "moxie," and "swagger," none of it could match poor throws into coverage, five interceptions, one pick-6 that sealed the defeat, and about three other passes that should have been intercepted by Florida in the Gators' 37-24 win over the Nittany Lions today.

Things started off well enough, as after an initial 3-and-out, Penn State marched down the field with McGloin connecting on 6 of 7 passes for a touchdown to Derek Moye. Florida struggled much of the day on offense, which was compounded by a stellar effort by the Penn State defense. But mistake after mistake led to the Gators being allowed to stay in, and win, the 2011 Outback Bowl.

Gameday HQ: 2011 Outback Bowl

Here's your pregame rundown of everything you need to know for today's Outback Bowl between the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Florida Gators.

Outback Bowl '11: Penn State Depth Chart

Michael Mauti Tackles for a Loss
Michael Mauti is emerging as the
next great leader at Linebacker U.
(Photo: Mike/LBU)
Not many changes for the Outback Bowl. Michael Mauti returns to full strength, which should be a real boost for the defense.

No commentary this week, due to the fact that there isn't anything do analyze. Mark Wedderburn and Kevin Newsome are no longer on the chart, as they have stayed home, and will likely leave the team this off-season.

Here is this week's bowl depth chart.