Another week, another chance in the roundtable. As best as I can tell, our friend RowlffDogg from JoePas Doghouse got drunk on the Pirates NL Wildcard win, and took over the questions once again. Make sure you check out their answers, as well as those at The 50 Yard Lion and Nittany Lions Den. The alleged ringleaders at Black Shoe Diaries will have a recap of all the responses later today as well.
It isn’t much of a surprise that Penn State is undefeated against Indiana thus far. Since joining the Big Ten in 1993, what opponent has produced the most surprising results against Penn State (good or bad)?
Matt: The fact IU has never beaten PSU certainly is a bit surprising, but I’m going to go with the PSU-Michigan series. Sure, the Lions have turned it around of late, thanks in large part to the generosity of Rich Rodriguez, but that UM run from 1997-2007 stiill blows my mind. Not only did Michigan own the series, they did it handily.
Eric: The fact that Indiana hasn’t beaten Penn State at all in Big Ten play is pretty surprising to me. Obviously Indiana is no football powerhouse, but you’d figure that they’d catch Penn State in a bad year at least once in the past 20 seasons. 2011 was a very close game (Penn State won 16-10) and I think this year is going to be another close one.
Paul Pasqualoni’s dismissal was anything but surprising. He’s a dinosaur with Penn State ties. Two things that don’t bode well for getting a job in football. If you could see one former Penn State staffer get a job, who would it be and where?
Matt: I kept trying to type Jay Paterno, but broke down in laughter every time. The obvious answer is Tom Bradley. For one, he’s been a candidate for a number of positions in the past. But more to the point, who else is there? For the record, I think Scrap is a perfect fit for UConn.
Eric: I think Tom Bradley is a no-brainer for this question. In the past, he has often been linked to other possible head coaching jobs but has never gotten one. He has only ever been a coach at Penn State and now he’s in the broadcasting industry. I’m not going to say he would be a good fit at a Texas or a USC, but a UConn or some smaller-scale FBS team would be a good fit for Scrap if he every wants a head coaching job.
This year, we’ve seen the ACC and Pac-12 take big steps in challenging the SEC for top conference bragging rights. What is holding the Big Ten back? What can be done to improve the national perception of Big Ten football?
Matt: There are three things the Big 10 needs to do. One, start paying coaching staffs, not just head coaches, what other elite programs are. You get what you pay for, and the assistant coaching staffs throughout the league are, by in large, awful. The second is the emergence of a second, third, and maybe fourth top level program. OSU is there, like it or not. Michigan is trending in that direction. I think PSU will be a 3rd within 3-5 years now with the even playing field. Finally, the 2nd tier need to improve. That ties back in to #1 in a lot of ways, but programs like Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan State need to be better consistently and improve the depth of talent in the league.
Eric: Penn State’s inability to compete for any kind of postseason definitely hurts the national perception of the Big Ten. But programs such as Purdue, Indiana and Minnesota have yet to get over the hump. And a powerhouse program such as Nebraska has failed to rise to the occasion in big games since they’ve been in the Big Ten. Ohio State and Michigan are recruiting well enough where they’ll both be national contenders for the foreseeable future and Penn State will certainly be on the rise once the sanctions are over with (assuming O’Brien stays). The Big Ten will never be an amazing conference from top to bottom, but I think that in five years or so, the Big Ten will be right behind the SEC.
Obligatory Indiana Question: Hoosiers is an undeniable all-time classic sports movie. What is your favorite sports movie?
Matt: Slapshot. Next.
Eric: This is hard. I guess it’s a tie between Remember the Titans and The Sandlot. Cool Runnings is up there too.
Matt: Points, lots and lots of points. Bet the over. Then bet it again just to be safe. I do think PSU’s defense gets a couple stops though, and forces a couple turnovers, en route to an entertaining 48-35 win.
Eric: Penn State just gets by Indiana, 38-34.