No, this is not the Hydraulic Press Channel on YouTube, but the mishmash of drivel you’ll see below closely resembles what Finnish workshop owner Lauri Vuohensilta and his wife Anni smash for amusement in their 150-ton hydraulic press.
As I mentioned in my season kick-off post:
That’s right. I said almost nothing. Covid fatigue, last year’s ridiculous on-again, off-again, on-again season, and off-season disinterest, coupled with lots of other things to do all conspired to direct a prostatitis-dampened urine stream on my interest in college football. ???? ?????? ??? Oh, and one more thing: the same four or five teams always wind up at the top, playing against each other in the playoffs. We should twang our magic twangers at the beginning of the year to see which one will come out on top, but we don’t give a damn if it ain’t Dear Olde State, do we?
Anyhow, here I am with the opener at Camp Randall looming in five days and I still have nothing to say. That’s not true, though, because there’s always something to write about even if I have no great insights into what this year’s Nittany Lions might be capable of accomplishing.
Critical Rock Theory
Take, for example, the University of Wisconsin story that emerged last month, a nauseating example of the “woke culture” afflicting our screwed-up, bifurcated society today. It seems that there was a racist rock on the Wisconsin campus, a 42-ton hateful boulder, which had to be removed at a cost of $50,000 because it had been offending people for one hundred years. Now, back in the good old days, when we fought our own battles, that rock of color would have inevitably said the wrong thing to the wrong person and gotten the living shit kicked out of it or vice-versa. Then they would have had a beer together and gotten over it. Not in today’s USA, where we cut off our nose to spite our face.
This rock was so offensive that it could have bolstered (or bouldered) the Badger offense with its offensiveness. It would have joined Alan Ameche (1954) and Ron Dayne (1999) as the only other Wisconsin Heisman winner, and it could be the only entity ever to earn both a Heisman and a Friar’s Club Roast for offending more people than Don Rickles ever did.
Today we need to cancel anything we contrive to suggest even the minutest scintilla of offensiveness, even 42-ton rocks that have been there for a century and cost the University fifty grand to move.. Goodbye, Rock of Rages. Hello, homogenized safe conduct through life. Come on, now! Who was offended by the damn rock? Yeah, Sweetpea, EVERYTHING is offensive to SOMEBODY and NOTHING is inoffensive to EVERYONE.
Contriving offensiveness for fun and profit has become a road to appeasement. What is next? So, we waste our time, money, and sweat going after rocks and statues while revising history to make us feel better about our sordid past. My, my! Why are we falling behind the rest of the world in so many areas? Because we worry about racist rocks. Give me a break.
Something About Football
I’ll conclude with something about football. OK, so we got Mike Yurcich as our new offensive coordinator. What will he do with the offense? Will Franklin get in his way or give him free reign. We’re about to find out and even if we don’t know for sure, we’ll make something up. We’re all so knowledgeable about the inner workings of the PSU football program (also known as “Culture of Football”, thanks to Louis Freeh) that we’ll know exactly what Yurcich needs to do to be successful.
Jahan Dotson. See him run. Run run run. Lots of eyes and lofty expectations this year. But can Clifford get the ball to him, or will Sean turn into another Hack? ????? ??? ??????? ??????
Oh, and kudos to former Wisconsin head coach Brett Bulimia (sic) who led his feckless, Illiniwekless Illini to victory over hopeless, hapless Nebraska. Scott Frost sure was a godsend, right?
Sam Ficken is still kicking field goals in the NFL. There is hope for all of us.
And now, let me pull something straight out of my ass, because I have no idea what to expect from this team this season. ???? ?????
Official Turkey Poop Prediction (or Not)
Well, this is what you haven’t been waiting for because I told you I had nothing to say. If you stopped reading after the big blank space above, thanks — that equates to fewer people telling me I’m full of shit. So, let me proceed to be full of shit.
One thing we know for sure is that no matter whether this is 2001 or 2021, noon starts on the road suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucckk and so do our teams that play in them — at least for the first half. Remember, James Franklin famously stated, “We’re a second half team.” Even he gave up on getting these guys to play in noon starts. So, expect the boys to come out of the tunnel with as much enthusiasm as dog about to get a bath.
The Vegas pundits, who have about as much to go on as I do at this early juncture, favor Wisconsin at home by 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 points with an over/under of 50, which works out 27-22. I’m going to say that the noon effect will make the first half more exasperatingly interesting than it should be, and the second half an exercise in Penn State trying to dig its way out of the hole it dug for itself in the first half. But I think a lot of points will wind up being scored, and even if it goes the other way, it’ll be good to be back in action again. So, again, you know where this came from: Wisconsin 42, Penn State 36. Take the over.
(I’ll be back after the game with a better idea of how this team conducts itself. “Poise” is a word Paterno liked to use. Do they have poise?)
Lance Hendrix says
Correct me if I’m wrong…. but I believe Sean Clifford’s first pass thrown in a PSU uniform was a 95 yard TD pass. It put him in the record book for the longest TD pass by a PSU QB. When I saw that I was impressed. But reality set in and I thought that one pass and this kid has peaked. He should transfer now.
Unless the OL has VASTLY improved from last season (what are the chances of that) he’ll be running for his life, slinging INTs and getting his face ground into the turf against all semi tough defenses.
I’d love to see our team win again but there’s a tremendous gulf between the haves and have nots in college football. PSU is no longer a have program.
Time for the experts in all details big and small about PSU tell me what I got wrong.
The Nittany Turkey says
I took the liberty of editing “Insta” as per your direction.
I can’t argue with anything you’ve written, especially the gulf between the haves and have nots. That’s why we have the same four up there year after year, maybe with some slight perturbations, but nevertheless pretty consistent.
Neither do I see Clifford having a breakout year. Unless Yurcich’s plan compensates for his weaknesses, I foresee frustrations piling up. Will Levis will be starting at Kentucky, which should be interesting.
Maybe we can revive the K.John assertion that PSU is not an elite team. I think that has been proven many times over in the Franklin Era. And with fans in Beaver Stadium this year, the Sanguinarians won’t have the convenient excuse of players who can’t play without crowd noise being the primary reason for the team’s deficiencies. (It’s never personnel. Always coaching or intangibles).
If this year goes like last year — and the Wisconsin game should be a good wet finger in the wind — then that giant sucking noise you’ll hear is the mass exodus to the transfer portal and the rustling of rampant decommits. We’ll see how long that top-ranked 2022 recruiting class sticks around.
On the other hand, they could surprise us all. An error-free, competent performance in the Wisconsin game (Noon Eastern, 11 AM Central) will give us some glimmer of hope and will ignite the Sanguinarians’ optimism so they potentially can be let down again in a couple of weeks.
Big Al says
My firm prediction for this game is a loss but I have no clue whether it will be a one score loss or a beatdown. Wisconsin is not a world beater on offense – their passing game is highly suspect and State’s cornerbacks should be able to shut down their wide receivers. The real question is whether State’s linebackers and safeties can tackle Bucky’s running backs and cover the tight end. We do have a new safeties coach so maybe the safety play won’t suck again this year.
On the other hand, 20 points is the ceiling for State’s offense since this is the 1st game for the new offense and Clifford is a mediocre quarterback. Even if Yurchich is the 2nd coming of Christ, he can’t turn Clifford into a top level B1G quarterback. So, if I had to bet on this game, I’d take the under since I expect a final score of something like Bucky 23 Dear Old State 16. But that might be too optimistic – it could easily be a 42-16 beatdown if the linebackers take bad tackling angles and/or Clifford contributes a pick/strip 6 or two.
As far as the final season record goes, I don’t have clue. You could make a case that State will wind up 9 and 3 if Clifford stays healthy and the team doesn’t sulk too much over the Wisconsin loss. And they could wind up 4-8 if Clifford suffers a season ending injury during the 1st three games since there is virtually nobody backing him up.
It’s good to see that you survived COVID and the bears and are blogging again
The Nittany Turkey says
Good to see you, Al!
No issues at all here with your assessment of Clifford and the QB situation.
Sad to see that the Ravens cut McSorley, who had more talent in the tip of his little finger than Clifford could ever dream of (and I cleaned that up). Clifford’s backup, Roberson, isn’t game tested and reports of his passing inaccuracy don’t portend well.
Through bleary eyes due to the ungodly kickoff time, I’ll be watching to see whether your 20-point upper bound holds.
My 42-36 prediction was straight out of my ass. I have no idea what to expect.
K. John says
I would have to disagree with your take on Clifford. While he isn’t a world beater, he is simply better than Trace, and not by a little bit. Just look back at his first season as a starter in 2019. He was better in every way compared to Trace’s best season (2017) despite playing with a lesser coordinator (Rahne vs. Moorhead), considerably lesser talent around him (this is the big one because Barkley was Superman, Trace was Robin) and a more difficult schedule much the more comparable 18 vs. 19 slate.
K. John says
Welcome back to the connected world of the internet TNT. You didn’t miss much. Personally, I am not confident about this year, and Sean Clifford is the least of my worries knowing what he is capable doing. What has me worried is the schedule first and foremost (no warm up games), the state of the defensive line which I think is the least talented bunch I have seen in Happy Valley, the fifth offensive coordinator in what will soon be eight season under Franklin, the third offensive system in three years (and third blocking scheme), all of which are very different. For the record, I have us going 6 and 6. 8 and 4 best case.
How does this impact the opening game? Who knows but Wisconsin is Wisconsin. We will not run very effectively against them but they will against us. Mertz was as big of a head case last year as Clifford but the game will not likely rest on his shoulders whereas it will rest on Clifford’s as he is learning a new offense with no warm up games with a line that will be fielding yet another blocking scheme.
JoeMo’s MAP (man/gap hybrid) was still the name of the game when the current crop hit the field in 2018 and 2019. To bring people up to speed, in MAP terms, the scheme uses good old fashioned man blocking in the direction of the play regardless of run or pass as most plays can do both with gap on the backside. This does two things. In 2020, they moved to zone. Based on the new coordinators experience at OK State and Texas, the overwhelming majority of plays will feature a gap scheme. This is big because most of the linemen that are actually playing were primarily recruited for man blocking. Remember what happened in 2014 and 15 when John Donovan went back and forth between zone and gap with players recruited to man block?
Now that the Xs and Os rant is done, I am not terribly confident in Saturday’s game. Wisconsin is a tough ask in an opener with a new offense and what looks like a limited defensive line. Wisconsin pulls away late and the season gets off to a bad start.
Wisconsin 35, Penn State 20.
The Nittany Turkey says
K. John, no sooner do I take your name in vain that you show up. Thanks for gracing our humble pages with your presence in this brand-new season!
I’m sticking on 8-4 in my mind at this time. Later on, when the situation becomes drastically divergent and clearly indicates that I was wrong, I’ll conveniently forget that I said that.
Thanks for your insights into the potential pitfalls in the pits. The season’s success or failure starts there, so in the words of the non-comital parent, we’ll see.
I’m not only worried about the D-line, but also the linebackers. Having lost some NFL grade talent, do we have anybody to replace them? Do we have any depth?
Got you for 35-20 in favor of the Badgermen.