JoePa's Doghouse
7Sep/141

The Rest of the Big Ten Conference Stinks? Good.

Perched and Waiting.

It was a disaster of a weekend for the Big Ten. Ohio State lost at home to Virginia Tech, Michigan State left Oregon with an embarrassing scoreline, and Michigan had their first shutout loss since Billy Ocean's "Caribbean Queen" topped the charts. Purdue and Northwestern lost to their MAC-rifices, while Iowa, Illinois, and Nebraska eked out wins of dubious quality. There has been a lot of collective hand-wringing and worry that the Big Ten is a step behind the rest of the conferences, and that it may not have a representative in the season-ending Big Ten Playoff.

Good.

The emerging “pro-conference” boosterism is puzzling. On a personal level I have always been reluctant to get into the collective support of fellow members of the conference. I delight in watching teams like Michigan and Ohio State falter on the brightest stages. It may be different in the SEC, but my rival is my rival 365 days a year in the Big Ten.

The narrative that “we need our conference to be strong so our strength-of-schedule looks awesome!” is weak. For one, the days of computer polls are over. Secondly, if you are undefeated in a Power Conference you will go the postseason playoff. End of discussion. You only need to look at Florida State for years in the ACC to know this is true. If you are 11-1 and leaning on opposing strength of schedule to get you into a big game, you are looking for technicalities when your team should have taken care of business out on the field.

Another reason for this delight in collective misery runs deeper than rivalry. Big Ten schools, as a conference of equals, have done nothing to assist or promote Penn State in its efforts to emerge from the disasters of 2012.

11Dec/130

The Unstoppable SEC Hype Machine

The doghouse has been quiet lately.  I was planning on fading away with a whimper.  But I just can’t hold it in any longer.

You see, I hate the SEC.  I mean, really, really hate the SEC.  Once again, they’ve managed to backdoor their way into the BCS Championship game through their trusty combo of luck and a super-strong media bias.  How is it that a 1-loss SEC team is automatically the unquestioned best 1-loss team in the country?  No matter that they were 3-9 last year.  No matter that they were 0-8 in their league last year.  It’s funny how Alabama got the benefit of their 2012 season in its consensus preseason #1 ranking.  Once they lost, everyone found a way to eschew that mantra because it applied to a Big Ten team.  Now, let’s just sweep it under the rug for Auburn.  As I angrily tweeted Saturday night: college football is now a world where an LSU loss is better than a Notre Dame loss.  I never thought I’d see the day that Notre Dame carried less weight than another college football entity.  That used to be a day I prayed for.  Now that I see what that other entity is, I abhor it.

[Dennis Miller voice]  Now I don’t want to get off on a rant here, but the SEC crap is beyond ridiculous.  Does anyone even know how the absurd national love affair began?  It started a long, long time ago.  You see, the south didn’t have any professional sports to root for like us northerners.  No baseball, no basketball, no hockey, and no pro football.  Much like today, they couldn’t read, so entertainment was scarce.  The lone source came by way of cops chasing bootleggers.  Then along came college football.  Within 5 years of its southern existence, Alabama had already claimed 28 national championships.  Florida had already stopped travelling to away games.  Houston Nutt had already signed 64,723 players.  In other words, college football was an instant hit with the rednecks.

Fast forward several decades, and not much had changed.  The athletes still couldn’t read.  People were still racing cars in circles.  And the south still had very little else to root for beyond college football.  Perhaps inspired by the wads of money Bear Bryant handed to high school players, someone got the brilliant idea to make their own money off the recruiting scene.  An early pioneer in the process, Tom Lemming had already claimed Notre Dame for himself.  That left the newbies to choose where to set up shop.  There was only ever one choice: the south.  The region that we have been told treats college football like a religion.  The region that has nothing else going for it.  And so, the bias began.

Recruiting sites put more emphasis on the SEC region because they sell the bulk of their subscriptions there.  In order to feed the beast (and their own coffers), sites devote more scouts and writers to the southeast.  In doing so, they are able to evaluate more players.  By evaluating more players in person, it gives an unfair bump to the south’s talent crop.  That bump translates into better recruiting rankings for SEC teams.  The inflated recruiting rankings lead to lazy talking heads assuming SEC teams are better.  ESPN, the king of lazy talking heads, is already in bed with the SEC.  They have no problem looking at unworthy paper stars and furthering the SEC hype machine with Bristol’s most powerful megaphone.  The preseason rankings demonstrate both the pull of ESPN and also its gullibility.  No matter, the damage is done once August rolls around and the SEC has 14 ranked teams.

Next comes a shrewd move by the SEC.  They schedule league games early.  This accomplishes two things.  First, it gives the illusion that the league has a tough schedule.  Instead of playing Joe’s Plumbing School in week 2 like everybody else, the SEC pushes that back to November when no one is watching.  (This also allows teams to suspend players late in the year, yet in an inconsequential game).  Secondly, early conference matchups give the SEC a better chance of pitting 2 ranked teams against each other.  Remember, everyone is high off the preseason stars.  No matter that Ole Miss is undeserving, as long as they have a number next to them, their ranked opponent can claim “they were ranked when we played them” once bowl selection time comes around.

Today, the Rivals 2015 Top 250 came out.  Not surprisingly, only a handful of players reside outside the SEC footprint.  Where do you think most of those kids are going to go to play football (notice I didn’t say “go to school”)?  In the south, of course.  Near home.  Yet another cycle of pretending the SEC collects the best talent.  Throw in the conference’s ability to cut players and you’ve got all 250 kids accounted for.

Speaking of oversigning, let’s move on to the next issue.  There is no need to rehash the obvious advantages of oversigning.  Instead, I would like to focus on an aspect of oversigning that feeds into the media’s cauldron of SEC brainwash serum.  For some reason, recruiting rankings aren’t based purely on quality over quantity.  So, when an SEC team takes 45 3-stars, its ranking shoots up the charts ahead of an actual academic institution like Stanford whose class may only consist of 18 4-stars.  Do that several years in a row and suddenly there is a perception that the SEC team has “better talent” than Stanford.  Never mind how those numbers get pared down to the magical 85.  The damage, once again, is done.

They say that games aren’t played on paper.  Isn’t it ironic that the league whose players haven’t turned in a paper their entire college existence is unfairly benefitting from the papers in front of the talking heads in Bristol?

11Oct/130

Blue-White Roundtable: That Team

penn state

Thanks for a heck of a ride, Buccos

I’ve got to take a moment to praise my Pirates for having such a great season. It’s not often that us doggs (Buccos fan, Royals fan, Orioles fan) get to see good baseball. Losing after leading the series 2-1 hurts, but the Pirates have a great young nucleus and also some great prospects coming up. This is just the beginning. Anyway, onto football.

Guess who struck back? Adam wasted no time in wresting control of his own roundtable from the greedy doggs that reside in JoePa’s Doghouse. You know the routine, hit up Black Shoe Diaries for their usual Friday recap. Also, be sure to drop by these folks.

Victory Bell Rings
Nittany Lions Den
Black Shoe Diaries
The 50-Yard Lion

Follow the jump to read us doggs’ thoughts…

4Oct/130

Blue-White Roguetable: Indiana

penn state

What a surprise, Penn State opens B1G play on the road?

What better way to battle the Bucco Blues than answering some football questions. I have no doubt the Pirates will come back and house the Cardinals, and I am equally certain that you’ll enjoy this week’s installment of the roundtable.

Yet again, we decided to give our boy Adam a rest and turn this into the Blue-White Rouge-table. Despite our coup, make sure to hit up Black Shoe Diaries for their usual Friday recap. Also, take a gander what these peeps think about my questions.

Victory Bell Rings
Nittany Lions Den
Black Shoe Diaries
The 50-Yard Lion

Follow the jump to read us doggs’ thoughts…

27Sep/130

Blue-White Roundtable: Who We Playin?

penn state

So, anything happen this week?

It’s a bye week, so that means a pretty slow Penn State news week, right? Maybe we should have bye weeks more often…

After a self-imposed “bye week,” Adam tossed out a few more questions. Be sure to hit up Black Shoe Diaries for their usual recap yo. In the meantime, pop your head on a turtle and yell, “Hola DEA” at these guys.

Victory Bell Rings
Nittany Lions Den
Black Shoe Diaries
The 50-Yard Lion

Follow the jump to read us doggs’ thoughts…

20Sep/130

Blue-White Roundtable: Goin Rogue

central florida

Well, at least you’re not Temple

Why not mix things up a bit after that tough loss. This week, the doggs went rogue and made up their own questions.

So, screw the good folks at Black Shoe Diaries. Some of these chickenheads might have answered these questions. Who knows? Check em out anyway!

Victory Bell Rings
Nittany Lions Den
Black Shoe Diaries
The 50-Yard Lion

Follow the jump to read us doggs’ thoughts…

13Sep/132

Blue-White Roundtable: Central Florida

central florida

You may be from Florida, but you’re still a directional school

An almost night game against an almost real Florida opponent. No really, all kidding aside, it should be a good game in a fun atmosphere.

Someone who’s always fun, Adam from Black Shoe Diaries has some more questions for us peeps. Be sure to head on over to BSD later this week for a “greatest hits” of sorts. In the meantime, check out what these peeps are saying:

Victory Bell Rings
Nittany Lions Den
Black Shoe Diaries
The 50-Yard Lion

Follow the jump to read us doggs’ thoughts…

11Sep/130

Breaking Penn State

breaking bad

As Breaking Bad nears its series finale, there are still a lot of unanswered questions as to how it all plays out.  Who will prevail: Walt or Hank?  Who is going to survive?  Where is the flash-forward going?

The one question no one seems to be asking is: how does Breaking Bad relate to Penn State?

9Sep/130

Roundtable Update

Predictions?

J Schnauzer: RowlffDogg misses his first PSU home game in decades and comforts himself with a keg of Bell's Octoberfest and a Costco box of Milkbones, Penn State converts on 50% of its third downs, and another surprising defender comes up big to squash the early efforts of the Eastern Michigan Eastern Emus.

45-7 good guys.

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6Sep/130

Love Week: Kansas State

For the first time in our site's history none of our writers will be living in State College. We can't provide you the same in-game thoughts and experience, but we thought we'd re-introduce a series we began two years ago when RowlffDogg visited West Virginia. From time to time, we will venture out to different venues and record our experiences across the country. College football is a national game, with hundreds of locations offering great experiences every Saturday (and occasional Friday or Thursday). While Penn State won't be going to a bowl game soon, that offers us an opportunity to check out other places celebrating this awesome game.

Last Friday I went to one of the first games of the season: a home opener at Bill Snyder Family Stadium between Kansas State and FCS Powerhouse North Dakota State.