Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Penn State Dominates All-Big Ten Selections

The 2008 All-Big Ten selections by the conference coaches and media are out and Penn State has many representatives. The Nittany Lions had nine first team members on the coaches ballot and seven from the media. Two more were voted to the second team by the coaches and six more by the media.

Daryll Clark was the first team QB on both the coaches and media teams. Joining him as first team selections on both ballots is the entire left side of the offensive line. Gerald Cadogan, Rich Ohrnberger, and A.Q Shipley, who was voted offensive lineman of the year, are first teamers two times over. Defensively, Aaron maybin and Navorro Bowman made both first teams.

Penn State had a slew of honorable mentions as well.

Joe Paterno collected his third Dave McClain Coach of the Year award.

Perhaps the thing that irks me the most is the unanimous selection of overrated Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis. He is notorious among the blogosphere for showing up late to plays and collecting tackles by jumping on the pile. He is troutinely dominated by strong offensive lineman and a dynamic ground game. He is not worthy of all the praise he gets. Is he the best MLB in the Big Ten? Probably. But unanimous and Defensive Player of the Year? NO WAY. He is going to get manhandled in the NFL. I feel bad for the team that drafts him in the 1st round. His talent should relegate him to the late 1st early 2nd AT BEST.

All of the 2008 All-Big Ten selections can be found here or by clicking on the picture below. The Penn State members are boxed in navy.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

BCS Remains Complete Joke

How can a team that loses by 44 stay ahead of a team that won by 31 (and who's only loss is by 1 on a last-second FG)? Only in the BCS. The Big Ten slap-fest continued in the latest iteration of the BCS standings, which were released tonight. The 2008 Big Ten Champions stayed in 8th place overall. All but one of their victories was by 14 or more points. They trashed an Oregon State team that beat USC. They went to Columbus and beat Ohio State. There was one hiccup; one misstep. A 1-point loss to a resurgent Iowa team. But Big 12 teams forget how to play defense yet they are perceived as better? What a joke!

I'm not saying Penn State should be #1. They may or may not be Top 5 right now. But they aren't 8. No lower than 6, I say. In front of an OVERRATED Texas Tech team and Utah. Utah squeaked by Michigan (hardly a tough game this season), narrowly escaped Air Force, beat Oregon State by 3, and struggled mightily againts New Mexico. Their wins over TCU and BYU are nice. But can you really tell me they are better than Penn State? They deserved to be in the Top 25. I'd say between 12-18.

The real culprit is those damn computers they use. Penn State is ranked 7th (Anderson & Hester), 10th (Billingsley), 7th (Colley Matrix), 9th (Massey), 8th (Sagarin), and 11th (Wolfe). What a joke. 11th? Wolfe's updated rankings haven't been published yet but last week we were still behind Georgia and Oklahoma State.

The sad truth about computer rankings is you can manipulate the statistics and numbers until you get what you want. I'm not saying these gentlemen have done that. I'm saying that I could make a computer ranking system that would look much different than this using the same underlying inputs.

I have tried making my own in the past. Perhaps I'll revisit that to demonstrate what I mean. Through week 8 of this season Penn State was ranked #1 in my computer model - and by a large margin. That would obviously be different now. I wonder where they would be?

BCS still is crap, we need a playoff. On any given Saturday, any team can win. Let them figure this out on the field, not through computers.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

ABCs Mike Patrick makes bold statement

During this evening's Michigan State-Penn State "Big Ten Championship" game, ABC announcer Mike Patrick made quite the statement about the 1994 PSU team. After talking about the number of time PSU has been in the Rose Bowl (this will be only the 3rd), Patrick stated that JoePa has had 4 teams go undefeated and NOT win a National Championship. The 1994 squad, headlined by Kerry Collins, Ki-Jana Carter, and Bobby Engram, was the last. Patrick then said that he had seen Penn State play multiple times that season and said that THEY WERE UNDOUBTEDLY THE BEST TEAM IN THE NATION. Take that, Nebraska!

Penn State, the REAL 1994 National Champions!

Oh and by the way, Penn State CRUSHES Michigan State, 49-18, to win the 2008 Big Ten Championship and will head to the Rose Bowl for a showdown with USC/Oregon State on 1/1/2009.

WTF was D'Antonio doing at the end of the game? Two TOs with 9 seconds left? Down 31?!?!? WTF?!?!?!

Michigan State-Penn State Prediction

Short and sweet this week.

This is a huge game for both teams. If Penn State wins they go to the Rose Bowl. If Michigan State wins they win a share of the Big Ten title with Ohio State (as long as they beat Michigan). It's freezing in State College today and there is the possibility for some snow. Winds will be relatively strong and they, plus the cold, could impact the game. Look for this to be reminiscent of the Iowa game (groan). Not a big offensive day for either team. Who will make the big play? Because of the emotion on the Penn State side - senior day, final game at Beaver Stadium for them, chance for a 2nd Big ten title in 4 years - I think they come out on top. But it'll be a hard-nose, ground it out type of game.

Michigan State 16, Penn State 27

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Albert Pujols, Hypocrite

Let me preface this post by saying I respect and admire Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols. He is an amazing baseball talent and will end up being one of the best to ever play the game. His off-the-filed work with charities is worth mentioning and is incredibly noble.

With that said he is a wee-bit of a whiner and, now, a hypocrite. In 2006, the year the Cardinals won the World Series, Phillies 1B Ryan Howard won the NL MVP award over Pujols. When the award was announced, Pujols had this to say

I see it this way: Someone who doesn't take his team to the playoffs doesn't deserve to win the MVP.
Boo-hoo. Sour grapes. Now the tables have turned. Howard, the league leader in HRs and RBIs, takes his team to not only the playoffs but a World Series win and is not selected MVP. He comes in second to a guy (Pujols) not in the playoffs (the Cardinals were 4th in the NL Central). What does Albert say now, two years after complaining about this very situation?
I think the writers made the right choice in 2006. He did deserve it.
Nothing like saying "everything's OK now, nothing to see here" after you win. Hypocrisy in all of its glory.

Do I endorse Howard for MVP this year? No. I wanted Pujols to win it. Why? He was clearly the best INDIVIDUAL. The nonsense about having to take your team to the playoffs is BS. The MVP award is for the INDIVIDUAL. A World Series title is a team thing. Pujols' comments in 2006 were dripping with jealousy and anger. Now he gets a taste of his own medicine and his words come back to bite him.

Oh, and by the way, the Cardinals record in 2006 - the year they won the World Series - was worse than the Phillies that year. Just sayin', Albert.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Indiana-Penn State Prediction

Not even close.

At least, it shouldn't be.

This Penn State team is bound to be pissed off after choking against a mediocre Iowa team. There's no doubt in my mind Penn State is the better team. But they didn't prove it. No excuses.

Despite almost no chance of getting to play in the National Championship, all is not lost. If Penn State wins out they go to the Rose Bowl. It's that simple. That all starts tomorrow with Indiana.

Indiana is nowhere near as talented as they were in 2007, due to the loss of James Hardy (draft) and the injuries to the secondary and QBs. Plus, where has Greg Middleton been?

Penn State is the better team, on paper, for the 11th straight game. Unfortunately there record sits at 9-1 instead of 10-0. How will they respond?

I think they'll play like a team possessed; the team everyone wanted to see these last 3 weeks. Too bad it'll come a week too late.

Indiana 13, Penn State 45

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sports Fountainhead gear!

I know all of you have a TON of money just sitting around the house. And many (read: zero) of you have asked for merchandise sporting the SF logo and slogan (which, by the way, is now officially "The second-hand sports blog" because that has to do with the book, The Fountainhead, where the sites name comes from as well as us not being any ones first means of information, i.e. second-hand). I have finally finished and opened the Sports Fountainhead store at Cafe Press! Inside you can buy all sort of goodies from the standard tees and sweatshirts to buttons and magnets and even a cute teddy bear for your gf, or in some cases, your mom.

I also want to point out that from time-to-time I will donate all of the proceeds to a charity of the bloggers choice. I am making the first decision and, to no one's surprise, any money the store makes between 12/1/2008 and 1/31/2009 will be donated to THON 2009 (through the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, naturally). For those of you who don't know what THON is, go here.

So hop to it! Head on over to the official Sports Fountainhead store and buy that SF thong you've always craved (seriously, it's there if you want one).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My thoughts exactly

While reading a recent article by ESPN Ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber, the last bullet point under the "Fine points from fans" section caught my eye. And I just smiled.

Finally, a viewer from Castle Rock, Colo., speaking for himself, me and many others: "I am sick and tired of ESPN's obsession with Brett Favre!"
I am so glad I don't live in New York/New Jersey for fear of hearing more about the over-hyped, overrated, prima donna.

P.S. - Be sure to check out the Ombudsman's articles frequently. Her stuff is some of the best out there. Schreiber analyzes ESPNs use of their various media outlets and voices her opinion on how they handle certain story's. For someone who hates the media, her work is gold.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Absolutely pathetic

That's pretty much all for now. I'm sure I'll have more to say later. I'm too pissed for rational thoughts.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Penn State-Iowa Prediction

It's been almost 2 weeks now since Penn State defeated Ohio State at The Horseshoe. Not much has changed. The Big Ten is still the nations punching bag and Penn State remains 3rd in the BCS, despite #1 Texas' loss to Texas Tech. But don't worry, things will work out. It has just been that kind of year.

The Nittany Lions travel to Iowa for a Saturday afternoon showdown (3:30pm on ABC, ESPN, or Big Ten Network, dependent on where you live). Iowa has been up and down this year. They seem to either blow teams out (Maine, FIU, Indiana, Wisconsin) or lose a close one (Pitt, Northwestern, Michigan State, Illinois). There was also an uninspiring W versus rival Iowa State. So they sit at 5-4. They are very much a dangerous team, despite 56% win percentage. They have a strong and dynamic tailback in Shonn Greene. If QB Ricky Stanzi plays like a college QB should (i.e. limit turnovers) they will be competitive. Their defense is solid, too.

Penn State matches up pretty well with the Hawkeyes. The d-line and LBs showed 2 weeks ago they can shut down a strong running game, forcing an inexperienced QB to beat them. Pryor didn't, can Stanzi? Doubtful. The Penn State team will be out for blood this week as a result of the continuous lack of respect they get from the media and pollsters. For the Lions to make it to the BCS National Championship game they not only have to beat Iowa, they must do so convincingly.

This being a road game is all that keeps the score somewhat respectable. The PSU 'O' is going to show it's for real. I fully expect them to get close to their season average points/game (~41.7). The Hawkeyes will put up a fight but Penn State is the better team. It's over by the end of the 3rd.

Penn State 38, Iowa 17

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sports Propaganda

Chris Speakman is a lifelong lover of sports and history. Combining those two passions has resulted in one of the most original pieces of sports memorabilia I have ever seen. Sports Propaganda are classic, World War II style posters that promote MLB team and players much like the "I Want You" Uncle Sam posters or Rosie the Riveter. These prints, while currently limited in teams and players, are absolutely wonderful. Here are his Phillies prints.

Because of the way they are made these are not cheap. They generally run about $55 and each is limited. They are officially licensed by MLB and the MLBPA.