JoePa's Doghouse
27Aug/150

Apathy Week: Temple

The last time Temple beat us, this guy was a decent human being.

It’s truly sad when you play a team that is so lousy, so irrelevant, that you can’t even muster hatred.  That’s right, the Temple Owls have single-handedly sapped me of all my usual opening game enthusiasm.  There is one thing that is worse than HATE, and that’s APATHY.

21Aug/150

Offseason Football Dreams

As a kid, the calendar flipping to August meant: “Oh no!  Summer vacation is almost over!”  As a college student, the calendar flipping to August meant: “Sweet!  I get to go back to school soon!”  As a working adult, the calendar flipping to August initially meant: “Damn! I wish I was going back to school soon!”  Now, it means one thing: football dreams.

Since I only dusted off the ol Doghouse a few weeks ago, I’ve already missed a few football dreams.  Last night’s was zany enough to prompt me to post start posting them.

Main characters:  Me, my dad, @JSchnauzer, @psuBarton

Setting:  Baton Rouge, LA

I am thrust into a situation where I have to get my picks in to a tv host who is at the LSU-BYU game in Tiger Stadium.  Complicating matters is the knowledge that the Penn State game is on shortly.  My father and I pull up to LSU’s campus and it’s a ghost town.  We follow “Football traffic” signs to a patch of land overlooking an enormous natural amphitheater.  Immediately, I see the guy I need to submit my picks to, but he is very far away.  As we get to the edge of the bluff, we pay $1 each to rent inflatable alligators to slide down the hillside.  At the bottom, the tv host runs over to me.  “Great news! They’re showing the Penn State game inside the stadium.  Here are your tickets; you’re all set.”

Just as my father and I get inside Tiger Stadium, I get a text from @Jschnauzer.  It says: “You have got to see The Chocolate Room here.  It’s incredible.”  We weaved through the people as though we knew exactly where to go.  As we stood underneath an arch, @Jschnauzer and @psuBarton waved us over to where they were standing.  “Look at that!” @psuBarton exclaimed.  They pointed to their right.  Behind a glass wall, there were several people making various forms of chocolate.  The one they pointed out was feeding ingredients into a massive hand cranked device.  The device itself was shaped like a football lineman in a 3-point stance.  It was wearing a Florida Gators uniform.  As the guy turned the crank, nonpareils emerged from the ass of the UF lineman.  They had purple and gold sprinkles on them.  The next guy on the assembly line put a handful into a box which was then labeled, “Everyone has a little Tiger in them.”

Then I woke up.

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18Aug/150

2015 All-Runco Team

animal house

After a little hiatus, the All-Runco Team finally makes its triumphant return. As a reminder, the All-Runco honor is bestowed upon those individuals who have been in college forever. It is without a note of pomp and circumstance that I congratulate the following players whose true talent lies not in evading defenders on the gridiron, but sheepskin on the stage.

11Aug/150

2015 JPDH Hate Poll

While the blog sat silent for nearly two years, we’ve amassed a tremendous amount of hatred.  It’s really not healthy to let that fester in one’s system, so we thought it would be a good idea to finally let it out.

This only represents the teams that we hate the most in college football.  Think of it as a handy guide for the upcoming season.  Perhaps the noon slate of games looks like a dud one particular Saturday.  No worries.  Just pull up this poll and hop aboard our bandwagon of hate.  Soon you’ll be old and bitter just like us!

1.   Notre Dame

Always and forever

2.   SEC
3.   SEC
4.   SEC
5.   SEC
6.   SEC
7.   SEC
8.   SEC
9.   SEC
10.   SEC
11.   SEC
12.   SEC
13.   SEC
14.   SEC

You counted right.  (No one hates Vanderbilt)

15.   Ohio State

Combine the arrogance of Michigan and the scruples of an SEC team and you have the Buckeyes

16.   Michigan

Put it this way, if something makes Jim Delany happy, we hate it

17.   Temple

Get off our damn schedule!!!

18.   Florida State

Aside from beating Florida, there is no reason to like this band of gangsters

19.   Miami (FL)

Dennis Erickscum and his band of undisciplined thugs cost us a national championship with their piss-poor conditioning in the 1995 Orange Bowl

20.   Illinois

A mainstay in this poll as long as that miserable puke Tim Beckman is still their coach

21.   Iowa

Those annual Iowa State losses really help the B1G’s perception…

22.   Syracuse, West Virginia, Pitt, Boston College, Virginia (tie)

As long as these boring teams exist, our out-of-conference schedule will continue to be pathetic

23.   Clemson

Still shaking our heads over Christian Wilkins

24.   Oregon

They’re to thank for the wave of hideous uniforms sullying this once tradition-friendly sport.

25.   Idaho

Pick up the damn phone and offer us a 3-for-1 so we can travel to the Kibbie Dome!!!

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7Aug/150

Non-Conference Scheduling Rant 3 (or Why Can’t We Schedule Like the Big Boys?)

If you’re in the mood to get sick to your stomach, I recommend googling other teams’ upcoming non-conference schedules.

4Aug/150

Non-Conference Scheduling Rant Part 2 (or We’re So Much Better Than This, You Guys)

Much like instant replay, soccer, and Pirates first basemen, the topic of non-conference scheduling really riles me up.  In the words of Dennis Miller, “I don’t want to get off on a rant here, but…”

4Aug/150

Penn State’s Upcoming Schedules (or You’re Young and Dumb, I’m Old and Wise, So Shut Up and Listen)

Jim Delany sparked a lot of internet chatter at the B1G Media Days with his announcement of a mandatory out-of-conference scheduling pattern for every team to follow.  Once the 9-game league schedule kicks in next year, teams will be required to play at least one Power 5 opponent and zero FCS opponents in their non-conference slate.  Although I dislike the scheduling difficulties that accompany 9 conference games, I applaud the commissioner for the P5 requirement.  However, I do not applaud those who wish to squander our annual opportunity for fun.

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?

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?