Nittany Lions Host Golden Flashes in Season Opener
Are you ready? Well, ready or not, here it comes! Bring on the Golden Flashes!
Saturday, September 3, is the start of the 2016 Nittany Lions campaign, in which the mighty Penn State Nittany Lions (0-0) will host the Kent State Golden Flashes (0-0) to kick off the season. Both teams are on extended losing streaks. Kent State has lost five straight,while Penn State has lost four in a row. Oy vey, something’s got to give, already, unless they both stink the place up and end up with a tie.
But seriously, folks, Penn State leads the all-time series 4-0. The most recent two meetings have been shutouts, with the Nittany Lions prevailing 24-0 and 34-0 in 2010 and 2013, respectively. This year’s game might well look similar.
I wanted to get this written early in the week in order to foment discussion as the week progresses. I mo try to do this in the future instead of rushing my ass to publish the week’s preview and prediction until the last damn minute on Friday.
Now, on with the overview of the Nitty Kitties vs. the Goldschlägers. May the Men from Kent instead of coming, went!* Is it any wonder that these guys play in Dix Stadium? Convoluted grammar, and fractured puns and limericks aside, I had to get that in somehow.
(Wait… I just noticed another limerick tie-in. Look at the Kent State football logo above. It appears to be a head and neck of a hawk with lightning shooting out of its nether regions (wither they might have gone), the whole thing being sort of contrived into the shape of a football. Well, sorta. This must have been the winner of the sixth grade art competition at Jack Lambert Middle School or something. But I digress — the associated limerick may be found in the footnotes.**)
Last year, these two neighboring states’ public universities had the ignominious distinction of mutually sucking at third down conversion percentage. In fact, contrary to what I might have stated elsewhere, there were in fact two teams worse than Penn State in the whole of the NCAA’s FBS Subdivision in this statistical category. (I think I had stated that Kent State was the only team worse than Penn State. Up to now, I had been too lazy to look it up.) Out of 127 teams, Penn State finished 125th, Boston College, 126th, and the Golden Flashitas sucked hind tit at 127th. The Nittany Lions finished with a dismal 27.6%, but the Golden Flashes set the absolute benchmark for third-down futility, with a sucktastic 25.4% Now that is some shitty offense!
Apparently, the folks in Kent are so ashamed of their football team that when I looked on their official sports website for blogs, I could find sites for basketball, golf, volleyball, and baseball, but not football. And when I clicked on “full details” for the Penn State game, I got a dead link. This could be denial or just webmaster incompetence, something I have to deal with routinely in some other organizations with which I’m involved, but I digress cryptically.
It is this turkey’s opinion that the KSU offense will suck miserably again this year. They haven’t yet decided on either a feature back or a quarterback. Not yet! With Penn State and Alabama on their schedule in September, what the hell are they waiting for? Some heretofore undiscovered oracle?
Oh, wait. They have to deal with the mighty, revamped PSU defense first. This means we’ll be seeing some false indications of greatness exhibited by the D.
Three running backs (freshman Justin Rankin, sophomore Myles Washington, and red shirt freshman Will Matthews) will see action.
“If you have three quarterbacks, you have no quarterback.”
They’ll fart around with three quarterbacks out of the following four: sophomore George Bollas, freshman Justin Agner, red shirt freshman Mylik Mitchell, and freshman Pat Ford). I’m still trying to figure out who might actually play. The depth chart lists Bollas or Agner or Mitchell as the starters.
PSU and KSU share recent offensive line woes. Both teams have matured. However, both offensive lines remain a question mark until we can see them play a game or two to see whether they still suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. Anyhow, the Golden Flashes have 12 returning offensive starters from 2015, including the entire offensive line. Whoop-de-doo!
Both teams benefit from cornerstone defensive units that do not necessarily suck so badly. Last year, Penn State finished 14th statistically in total defense while Kent State wound up 27th. While PSU lost most of its extremely sackophilic D-line, the Golden Flashes return eight defensive starters, including a highly experienced front four replete with three seniors. Last year, Kent State was 39th in pass defense and 35th in rushing defense.
So, while most pundits expect the Nittany Lions to win this game, it might not be an offensive walk in the park. Then again, it might be. We really don’t know what to expect from the revamped Penn State offense, but we know that Kent State is no slouch on defense. At least in the MAC. (Insert string of disclaimers and excuses here.)
Penn State’s special teams haven’t been special for quite a while, and for that matter, neither have the Golden Flashes’. Let’s start with the 2015 Kent State rankings for kickoff and punt returns of 113th and 117th, respectively. Their net punting for an average of 37.42 earned them a middle-of-the-pack 61st ranking. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions were 34th, 70th, and 102nd in those three categories.
Fortunately for them, the Golden Flashes lost their senior punter to graduation, so thing might be looking up. Let us hope that the Nittany Lions can find something that works for them, too. The Turkey is getting mighty tired of special teams that are anything but special.
Distinguished Alumnus — Don King
I’ve featured Kent State’s Jack Lambert before just because I’m a Steelers fan and because I like to include pictures of ugly faces when featuring opponents’ alumni — not always, but sometimes. Anyhow, Don King’s face could almost be handsome if he didn’t have such a penchant for having his hair done by sitting on a Van de Graff generator.
Ol’ Tesla Coil Hair himself, the convicted felon and boxing promoter, is this week’s featured opponent’s alumnus. King graduated from John Adams High in 1951 and attended Kent State for a while before dropping out for a career of crime and later, boxing promoting. Initially running an illegal bookmaking operation, he wound up killing a couple of guys, although one was called justifiable homicide and the other got him a second degree murder conviction that was reduced by the judge to non-negligent manslaughter. He served four years and was later pardoned by Governor Jim Rhodes.
King promoted some of the most famous fighters and matches of the 20th Century, including the “Thrilla in Manilla” between Muhammad Ali and Smokin’ Joe Frazier. Outside of boxing, he also managed The Jacksons’ 1984 Victory Tour. King has been sued by just about every prominent boxer whose fights he handled.
In 2016, Shaker Boulevard in Cleveland was renamed Don King Way. That should tell you something about Cleveland, where the 85 year-old King now resides.
Present indications are for a just about perfect late summer day — sunny with a high of 76°F. Advantage: everyone!
First Official Turkey Poop Prediction of the Year
Did you miss me? Of course you did!
Who knows what to think at this stage of the season? We haven’t seen enough of this group of Nittany Lions to know what’s up on either side of the ball. So, WTF, I’m gonna pull another one straight out of my ass. (You knew that all along, didn’t you?) We’ve known from our first glance at this year’s schedule that this game is the only superpussified cupcake of a pushover opponent in the bunch, although I’ll remind you that the Golden Flashes’ defense is pretty solid — for the MAC, anyway.
I checked with Don King’s illegal bookmaking operation and found this game on the board: Penn State is favored by three touchdowns, with an over/under of 45. That equates to a predicted score of 33-12. Based on my spirit of optimism and what I feel will be a desire by Joe Moorhen to show that he can run a so-called Power Five offense (while not tipping his hand to later, more formidable opponents), the Big Pooper is going to go with Penn State 37, Kent State 6. Take the under (I think KSU offense will suck badly enough that the tacit mercy rule will apply).
I’ll be back next week with a wrap-up of the expected victory. In the meanwhile, I hope to get your take on the game.
*There once was a man from Kent
Whose dick was so long that it bent.
To save himself trouble
He put it in double,
And instead of coming, he went!
**There once was a man from Madras
Whose balls were made of brass.
In stormy weather
They clung together,
And lightning shot out of his ass!