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Tag:Joe Paterno
Posted on: September 8, 2011 2:02 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2011 2:41 pm
 

Man vs. Woman vs. Machine: Week 2


Posted by Tom Fornelli


Man vs. Woman vs. Machine is a feature that runs every Thursday afternoon. It is here that Tom Fornelli fights against the rising tide of female empowerment and technology to ensure that men everywhere can at least claim that college football is still theirs. He does this by picking a set of games against the spread against his girlfriend, Lynn, and his Playstation 3.

It is clear that this is a fight that will not be won easily, as both Woman and Machine dealt me a crushing blow in the first week of the season. Fear not, my fellow containers of the Y chromosome, for a war is not lost in the first battle, and we have many more to fight. So let's get to the senseless slaughter, shall we?

Oklahoma State (-14 1/2) vs. Arizona - Thursday, 8pm (All times Eastern)

Man - This one could wind up being quite the barnburner much along the lines of the Baylor/TCU game we saw on Friday night. It's two good offenses facing off against each other, and it may come down to which defense can make a stop when it has to. Even though I'd give the edge on defense to Arizona, the fact that this game is being played in Stillwater makes me lean toward the Cowboys, but at the same time Oklahoma State's defense makes me think this one could be a lot closer than the spread indicates. Of course, it's hard to forget Oklahoma State beating Arizona 36-10 in the Alamo Bowl. Screw it, I'm riding with the Cowboys. Pick: Oklahoma State

Woman - "Remember the Alamo Bowl." Pick: Oklahoma State

Machine - The Machine sees a lot more defense in this one than I'd expect, and Brandon Weeden struggles against Mike Stoops' defense, throwing for only 245 yards and 1 touchdown. OSU wins 27-14, but the Cats cover. Pick: Arizona

Arizona State (-7 1/2) vs. Missouri - Friday, 10:30pm

Man - I really don't have a lot of faith in the Missouri offense after last week's performance, but it's hard to get a decent read on Arizona State based on one game against UC-Davis. While I still believe in the Missouri defense, I think being on the road will catch up to them in the second half and the Sun Devils pull this one off. Pick: Arizona State

Woman - "This is Frank Kush Field in 108 degree weather.  This is your football team on Frank Kush Field in 108 degree weather. Any questions?" Pick: Arizona State

Machine - The Machine is fearful of James Franklin's inability to throw passes over 7 yards as well, but it does not think that will keep the Tigers from putting up points and the defense from smothering ASU. Missouri 24-10. Pick: Missouri

Wisconsin (-21 1/2) vs. Oregon State - Saturday, 12pm

Man - Bret Bielema let me down last week. After Wisconsin buried UNLV early on Thursday night he decided to call off the dogs and not pursue 100 points. That being said, Oregon State lost at home to Sacramento State. I don't care how kind and cuddly this new version of Bret Bielema has become, nor how large the spread, I am not picking a team that loses at home to Sacramento State. Pick: Wisconsin

Woman - "On one hand, Russell Wilson magic and a monster Badger homefield advantage.  On the other hand, a hammy-challenged Beaver rusher and a secondary that might as well be wearing Louboutin athletic shoes.  Wait, that's the same hand.  Wisconsin wins easily but throttles back, so doesn't quite cover." Pick: Oregon State

Machine - ALERT! ALERT! THE MACHINE HAS BEEN COMPROMISED! IT IS ON DRUGS! IT HAS OREGON STATE WINNING THIS GAME 16-0! Pick: Oregon State

Auburn vs. Mississippi State (-6 1/2) - Saturday, 12:21pm

Man: We saw how tough life could be for Auburn this season without Cam Newton when the Tigers barely had the power to squeak by Utah State at home last weekend, and Mississippi State is a much tougher foe than the Aggies were. That being said, a spread this large for a team on the road in the SEC seems rather ominous, so while I wouldn't be shocked if Auburn loses, it's going to be another close game. Pick: Auburn

Woman - "Pay no attention to the neutered Tiger behind the curtain. Mississippi State wins but doesn't cover." Pick: Auburn

Machine - According to The Machine, Auburn will once again find itself in a whole during the fourth quarter this week, but unlike last Saturday, this hole will be too deep to climb out of. Mississippi State wins 35-21. Pick: Mississippi State

Penn State vs. Alabama (-9 1/2) - Saturday, 3:30pm

Man - An SEC team makes a rare appearance in a Big Ten stadium this week, and I have a feeling that the Tide won't be the most polite visitors the conference has seen. I know that there are still some questions on offense for Alabama, but I just don't see Penn State's offense being able to do much against that Alabama defense. Pick: Alabama

Woman - "Do you ever wonder if Joe Paterno is actually comatose lying in a hospital bed at some nursing home called Happy Valley and we're all just figments of his imagination? No? Uh, me either... Regardless, good D versus great D means JoePa's gonna have bad dreams." Pick: Alabama

Machine - The Machine sees Robert Bolden enjoying his date against Alabama a lot more this season, but unfortunately a late 40-yard touchdown run by Trent Richardson makes it a Not-So-Happy Valley. Alabama just gets by 24-23. Pick: Penn State

Duke vs. Stanford (-21 1/2) - Saturday, 3:30pm

Man - Let me make this clear: There is nothing I enjoy less than picking against a home team that is a 21 1/2-point underdog. That being said, one of these teams has Andrew Luck and the other one lost to Richmond last week. Pick: Stanford

Woman - "Crimson last year, now Cardinal? Red looks terrible on Duke. Coincidentally, reverse the spread and it would equal the mean IQ point differential in respective student bodies." Pick: Stanford

Machine - The Machine does not experience human emotions, but it is torn on this game. Does The Machine go with the kids who designed it, or the kids who begged mommy and daddy to buy it for them? Stanford wins 34-31. Pick: Duke

Georgia vs. South Carolina (-3 1/2) - Saturday, 4:30pm

Man - This is an incredibly important game for so early in the season as it could play a large role in who wins the SEC East. It also features yet another home underdog, but to be honest, I'm not all that concerned this time around. What I am concerned about is the fact I have so much faith in a team that features Stephen Garcia as its quarterback. Pick: South Carolina

Woman - "I'm assuming Mark Richt's players want him to get out of Sanford Stadium alive." Pick: Georgia

Machine - Stephen Garcia not only starts for the Gamecocks, but he plays so unbelievably well that Steve Spurrier doesn't even think about pulling him. Garcia throws for 296 yards and 4 touchdowns as Mark Richt's seat grows even hotter. South Carolina wins 28-21. Pick: South Carolina

Nebraska (-28.5) vs. Fresno State - Saturday, 7pm

Man - While I have no doubts about the fact that the Nebraska defense is going to make life hell on the Fresno State offense, I'm just not ready to give the Cornhusker offense enough credit in this one. Until Taylor Martinez can show me he can have consistently good games, a spread like this is just too large to bet against. Pick: Fresno State

Woman - "Quick question: Can Bo Pelini find out where I live? He can?" Pick: Nebraska

Machine - Much like The Woman, The Machine fears Bo Pelini smashing it into a million pieces. Nebraska wins easily, 48-17. Pick: Nebraska

USC (-9 1/2) vs. Utah - Saturday, 7:30pm

Man - We all saw how much trouble that USC had with Minnesota last week, and I have a hard time believing that Utah is any weaker than the Golden Gophers. Plus at some point Lane Kiffin is going to blow USC's chances of covering by going for two and failing, and I don't want to have to rely on one of Kiffin's dumb decisions paying off to get me a win. Pick: Utah

Woman - "I'll take the points over boneheaded Lane Kiffin, even if the Song Girls try to lure the Utes into the rocks." Pick: Utah

Machine - The Machine's pick does not disappoint me this week, though I was saddened to see that USC kicked two field goals rather than failing on a two-point conversion. Utah wins 21-6. Pick: Utah

Michigan vs. Notre Dame (-4 1/2) - Saturday, 8pm

Man - You know, Notre Dame's offense actually had a great game against South Florida last week if you could somehow erase the five turnovers, and the idea of that same offense facing a Michigan defense that can't be totally over 2010 causes me to lean towards picking the Irish here. That being said, the first ever night game at the Big House is bound to give the Wolverines a pretty nice boost, and I think this game is going to be pretty darn close. I'm not sure who wins, but I have to take the home team and the points here. Pick: Michigan

Woman - "After last week, Notre Dame has officially become the Chicago Cubs of college football." Pick:Michigan

Machine - The Machine nailed Notre Dame's loss last week, but it seems its faith in the school has been restored a bit. Or at least it believes in the healing powers of Tommy Rees as the new Irish starter throws for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Irish cruise to a 46-29 win. Pick: Notre Dame

Standings

Season Record (Last Week)

1. Machine 11-4 (11-4)
1. Woman 11-4 (11-4)
3. Man 8-7 (8-7)
Posted on: September 3, 2011 12:42 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 12:43 pm
 

Joe Paterno coaching from press box

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Penn State is in the opening minutes of its first game of the year, taking on Indiana State, but it's doing so without its most familiar face on the sidelines. An on-field collision in August left venerable head coach Joe Paterno with fractures in his shoulder and pelvis, and because of that, something as simple as standing on the sideline for three hours is now an unwelcome task; instead, as Penn State RapidReporter Jim Rodenbush reports, Paterno is coaching from the press box today

While coaching from the press box is unusual, it's not inherently bad; there's a reason why coordinators usually find themselves up there. It provides a far better angle for watching plays unfold and noticing breakdowns than on the sideline, where views of the far side of the field are easily obscured. With modern communication systems being what they are, Paterno is hardly disadvantaged when it comes to most of his coaching duties.

That all said, what Paterno gives up is the ability to communicate with his players on an effective or efficient basis. Unless all 85 players have headsets to put on -- which can't possibly be legal -- Paterno's going to need someone on the sideline to relay his messages to the players, and in a game where seconds between plays are precious, that's an inefficiency that the Nittany Lions don't need.

Unfortunately, Penn State had better get used to this system, because while Paterno's not going to be incapacitated forever by his injuries, he's also not recovering from a broken pelvis enough to be standing and walking for three hours at a time anytime soon.

The situation isn't affecting Penn State so far, though; the Nittany Lions lead 14-0 late in the first quarter.

Posted on: August 16, 2011 7:12 pm
 

RB Stephfon Green expected to leave Penn State

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Penn State's backfield appears to be one back lighter as it heads into the 2011 season. Stephfon Green, the speedy senior tailback from New York, is not practicing with the Nittany Lions, and according to the Penn State RapidReports, his career with the program may be over.

RB Stephfon Green is no longer on the team and is unlikely to return. “Stephfon’s had some problems with me, and I think right now it’s for the benefit of everybody that he backs away right now,” [Joe Paterno] said.

If this is the case and Green is done, this is a bit of a blow for the Nittany Lions. Green's never been as productive as he was in 2008 (579 yards, 105 carries, four touchdowns), and the combination of injuries and the continued presence of now-departed Evan Royster helped keep Green's stats low the next two seasons. Green was also behind true sophomore Silas Redd in Penn State's depth chart this season. 

Still, even as a top backup, Green would have provided a great deal of value to the team; he's one of the fastest running backs in college football, and a game plan with Green seeing 20-30% of the carries would have given Penn State the kind of versatility that it wouldn't see otherwise. That may not be sufficient for Green, especially if Paterno's readily admitting that the two have "had some problems," but there's no way to be sure that playing time is at the root of whatever disputes are taking place until someone elaborates further.

In the meantime, then, let's admire Green at his best, circa Michigan-PSU '08, incinerating would-be tacklers and displaying his all-too-underutilized ability to score from anywhere on the field:

Hard to imagine a kid who can move like that would only score eight touchdowns in three years, isn't it?

Posted on: August 8, 2011 3:14 pm
Edited on: August 8, 2011 3:35 pm
 

Joe Paterno injured at practice after collision

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Scary news out of State College on Monday: Penn State head coach Joe Paterno has been hospitalized after getting run over by one of his players. Penn State announced that Paterno suffered injuries to his right arm and hip when unsuspecting wide receiver Devon Smith was running a route and ran into him. If there's any fortune involved, it's that Smith is scarcely bigger than Paterno, at 5'7" and 157 pounds. One shudders to think how much worse the collision would have been if Derek Moye (6'5", 202) had been the receiver involved instead.

Chris Fowler reported that Paterno's injuries are hairline fractures in both the shoulder and pelvis, and that neither will require surgery. That much is promising, but still: a broken bone is much worse news for Paterno than for, say, one of his players.

Now, it's not exactly news that Paterno is old. He's easily the oldest head coach in D-I football, and has been for a long time. People have been wondering if the next season would be his last for about the last decade or two. Old. Ollllld.

And yet, since Paterno's been maintaining his faculties to such a degree, continuing to coach football has been a possibility, so he's been coming back to the sidelines -- and coaching at a high level -- every year. Unfortunately, he's getting to the age where the body doesn't make much progress staying strong or healing quickly. There aren't many coaches other than, say, Pat Fitzgerald or Luke Fickell who can get trucked by an unsuspecting wide receiver and not get hurt. For an 84-year-old man, then, such a collision might be more than his body can fully recover from. And if that's the case, well, that'd be pretty lousy news.
Posted on: August 4, 2011 3:25 pm
 

Penn State losing another quarterback?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The drama that has surrounded the quarterback depth chart at Penn State since January will just not go away. On Thursday the school's student newspaper reported that quarterback Kevin Newsome may be on the verge of seeking a transfer from Penn State.
Newsome's father, Kevin Newsome Sr., said it's possible his son is transferring.

"We don't really have any set details of anything right now," Newsome Sr. said in a phone call. "It's possible. Right now, of course as you can imagine, we're just trying to work through some things, and sort a lot of things out."

Newsome came to Penn State as a four-star recruit out of the Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, and was ranked the No. 4 high school quarterback in the class of 2009.
If you weren't already aware, following January's bowl loss against Florida, quarterback Robert Bolden announced that he wanted to transfer. Joe Paterno denied Bolden's request then, and now it's expected that Bolden will begin the season as the starter. Then last week Penn State found out that quarterback Paul Jones will have to sit out the entire 2011 season due to academic problems.

If Newsome decides to transfer, that will leave Penn State with Bolden and Matt McGloin and some huge question marks behind them. Though it is possible that Paterno can talk Newsome into staying if playing time is his main motivation for wanting to leave. While Bolden and McGloin have the experience, it's not as if either of them played spectacularly in 2010, and Newsome could still compete for the starting job this season.
Posted on: July 29, 2011 3:10 pm
 

Grades will sideline PSU's Paul Jones

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Paul Jones was one of the top recruits in Penn State's 2010 recruiting class and was expected to compete for the starting quarterback job for the Nittany Lions this fall. Well, thanks to his grades, the Penn State quarterback derby is now a two-horse race.

According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette Jones is going to miss the 2011 season thanks to some academic problems.
Coach Joe Paterno confirmed the news today prior to the Big Ten Conference's kickoff luncheon.

Jones, 6 feet 3 and 245 pounds, has struggled academically since graduating from Sto-Rox High School and enrolling early at Penn State in January 2010.
This means that the quarterback job will likely go to either Rob Bolden or Matt McGloin. Both of whom saw time at quarterback last season. Bolden was the first freshman to start at quarterback at Penn State during Paterno's long tenure at the school. After Bolden suffered a concussion, McGloin took over the starting gig and never let it go.

Which led to Bolden requesting a transfer after the season, a request that was denied by Paterno, but now it seems everybody is happy to be in Happy Valley.
Posted on: July 11, 2011 4:24 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:44 pm
 

Rob Bolden has totally changed

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Robert Bolden's first year at Penn State was quite the roller coaster. He came to Happy Valley as a freshman and surprised everyone by becoming the first true freshman to ever start the season at quarterback under Joe Paterno.

Then, after getting off to a bit of a rough start, Bolden suffered a concussion before losing his starting job to Matt McGloin. Bolden spent the rest of the season on the sideline before seeking a transfer in January after Penn State's loss to Florida in the Outback Bowl.

A transfer that was denied by Joe Paterno, a denial that wasn't taken all that kindly by the Bolden family. No worries, though, five months later with a new season on the horizon, things have changed. Not only is Bolden ready for another season at Penn State, but he says he's a different person now.

"I'm totally different," Bolden told the York Daily Record. "I felt like I was good coming out of high school and right now I feel like I have an opportunity. I'm watching film and getting better with those things. I feel like I've gotten a lot smarter. I feel like my arm's a lot stronger. I'm a completely different guy from last year."

Which is good news for Penn State.

The fact of the matter is, past troubles aside, this is still a kid who started as a freshman. When you consider all the quarterbacks that have come through Happy Valley under Paterno who haven't done that, you have to figure Bolden looked mighty impressive last summer.

There's a reason Paterno didn't want him to leave.

There's also the fact that while Matt McGloin wasn't a horrible quarterback for Penn State in 2010, he's not exactly a stud either. Even with Kevin "I'm not a terrible rapper" Newsome and Paul Jones on the roster, odds are that Bolden is still the best option that the Nittany Lions have in 2011. In a Big Ten Conference that looks to be as wide open as ever in 2011, thanks to the recent troubles at Ohio State, both Bolden and Paterno may be really happy he decided to stay come next January.
 

Posted on: July 6, 2011 4:02 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 5:12 pm
 

Big Ten not spending enough on assistants?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

By now, anyone who follows college football has seen enough "BREAKING: Football coaches somehow earn lots of money in billion-dollar enterprise" headlines to last us a lifetime. So at a glance, this St. Louis Post-Dispatch article -- "Assistant coaches' salaries soar in college football" -- doesn't appear to be one we haven't read plenty of times before.

But there's one highly interesting nugget from the Post-Dispatch's math that's worth paying closer attention to:
The SEC paid its assistant coaches an average of $276,122 in 2010, according to figures compiled by St. Louis attorney and agent Bob Lattinville of the firm Stinson Morrison Hecker.
The Big 12 was second at $232,685 and the Big Ten a distant fourth, behind the Atlantic Coast Conference, at $187,055. In each instance, the averages do not include salaries at private schools such as Baylor, Penn State and Vanderbilt.
It's no surprise to see the conferences of Gus Malzahn and the Manny Diaz-Bryan Harsin tag team topping the list, but ... the Big Ten? Fourth? Really?

They may not actually be a distant fourth, in fact -- Penn State probably pays better than the likes of Indiana, and Lattinville's salary-based figures don't appear to take into account Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison's unusually structured $750,000 contract -- but it's baffling why the conference that distributes more money to its members than any other in the FBS should lag so badly behind anyone in coaching salaries. Some of that is Big Ten schools' insistence on spening their cash on crazy ideas like, say, men's soccer teams, but it's hard to see why the conference's highest-profile sport should be getting the short end of a stick this lucrative.

It's so hard, in fact, we won't speculate on the reasons. But we don't have any problem stating this for the record: the Big Ten's stinginess is hurting it on the football field.

Contrast the decisions from some of the SEC's and Big Ten's best assistants from 2010. Malzahn was offered the head coaching job at Vandy and had some interest (at least) from Maryland; he turned them both down when Auburn stepped up with its gigantic raise. In the end, the only SEC coordinator to take a head coaching job this offseason was Steve Addazio, who'd basically been dumped out of his Florida gig already.

Meanwhile, offensive coordinator Don Treadwell was busy guiding Michigan State into the national top 20 in yards per-play, winning multiple games as MSU's interim head coach during Mark Dantonio's health-related absence, and generally being the nation's most underpaid assistant as the Spartans won 11 games. He left East Lansing to take the head coaching job at Miami (Ohio). Dave Doeren capped years of outstanding work at Wisconsin by coordinating the defense that took the Badgers back to the Rose Bowl (and nearly won it); he left to become Jerry Kill's replacement at Northern Illinois. (PSU's Tom Bradley, one of Joe Paterno's longest tenured-assistants, also did some serious angling for the Temple job that went to Addazio, you'll recall.)

It's not just retention that's a problem, either. How much better would Michigan have been under Rich Rodriguez* if they'd made Jeff Casteel a Mattison-like offer-he-couldn't-refuse to tag along from West Virginia, instead of subjecting themselves to Greg "GERG" Robinson? Would Tim Brewster still be around if he'd been able to hire one legitimately great offensive coordinator instead of subjecting Adam Weber and Co. to a revolving door of schemes? Even the newcomers aren't immune--it's yet-to-be-determined, but one has to wonder if Nebraska couldn't have done better in replacing exiled OC Shawn Watson than promoting running backs coach Tim Beck (especially considering the Huskers' head coach's expertise is on the defensive side of the ball).

As the Post-Dispatch article points out, it's not like the conference has to look very far to see the value of paying top dollar for assistants. After a miserable 2009, Ron Zook was thisclose to being fired at Illinois. So he went out and hired two top-shelf coordinators at salaries commensurate with the SEC's; in fact, one of them (Bobby Petrino brother Paul Petrino) was an SEC coordinator. Result: a job-saving 7-6 campaign and, in 2011, likely the program's first back-to-back winning seasons in 20 years.

It feels awfully awkward to tell anyone to follow Ron Zook's example. But when it comes to assistant salaries, it's high time the Big Ten at-large did exactly that.

*Rodriguez actually got the defensive coordinating hire right the first time, when he plucked away current Syracuse DC Scott Shafer from Stanford; Shafer's been a success everywhere else he's been, and his work with the Orange last year--the only team in the country to finish in the top 20 in total defense while also finishing in the bottom 20 in time-of-possession--was nothing short of remarkable. But RichRod and Shafer didn't appear to see eye-to-eye, and in came Robinson after just one season. You'll forgive Wolverine fans if they spend the rest of the afternoon banging their heads against the closest wall.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com