Archive: November, 2008
I actually e-mailed my Associated Press Top 25 ballot in last night since I stayed up to watch Oklahoma and Southern Cal win in blowouts. But here it is today before the full poll is released this afternoon. Of course, the AP doesn't factor in the BCS and those are the standings everyone will be eagerly awaiting. I'm guessing the Sooners jump Texas and get the South Division berth into the Big 12 title game. For my buck, Texas beat them straight up so the Longhorns stay No. 3 and Oklahoma No. 4. Penn State is still No. 6 in my ballot behind Southern Cal. For those carping that the Lions should be ranked ahead of the Trojans if you judge by common opponents (Oregon State), there is a strong argument there. It looks like we'll get our answer as to who is the better team. Penn State and USC are lined up to meet in the Rose Bowl. Here's the rest of the ballot in its entirety:
1. Alabama (12-0)
2. Florida (11-1)
3. Texas (11-1)
4. Oklahoma (11-1)
5. Southern Cal (10-1)
6. Penn State (11-1)
7. Texas Tech (11-1)
8. Ohio State (10-2)
9. Boise State (12-0)
10. Utah (12-0)
11. Cincinnati (10-2)
12. TCU (10-2)
13. Ball State (12-0)
14. Oklahoma State (9-3)
15. Georgia Tech (9-3)
16. Oregon (9-3)
17. Georgia (9-3)
18. Boston College (9-3)
19. BYU (10-2)
20. Michigan State (9-3)
21. Northwestern (9-3)
22. Missouri (9-3)
23. Mississippi (8-4)
24. Pittsburgh (8-3)
25. Iowa (8-4)
It was a good news-bad news Saturday for Penn State. First, the good news -- right? Well, the Lions and their fans got their wish and Oregon State fell to Oregon, 65-38, in tonight's Civil War. If Penn State winds up in the Rose Bowl -- and it sure looks that way -- it likely won't have to play Oregon State, a team it crushed, 45-14, in Week 2. The likely opponent is now Southern Cal. If the Trojans, 38-3 winners over Notre Dame, beat rival UCLA next Saturday, they head to Pasadena to take on the Lions -- unless, they somehow worm their way into the national championship game.
But that's about as likely to happen as Penn State's squirming into the BCS title game. More on that later. If the Trojans lose to the Bruins (highly unlikely), however, Oregon State would share a three-way tie for the conference title with the Trojans and Ducks, and the Beavers would have the tiebreaker for the Rose Bowl. That would be a cruel and unusual way for the Lions to have to face the Beavers again. (A quick question: How can you give up 65 (!) points to your inter-state rival??) The Lions want the Trojans, however, and it looks like they'll get a chance to knock off one of the big boys.
OK, now the bad news. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise, but Penn State is officially out of the national championship chase. With Florida and Alabama both winning convincingly today, the SEC has guaranteed itself a team in the championship. Those two teams face off next Saturday in the SEC championship with the winner assured a spot in Miami. The other finalist will likely come from the Big 12. With its 61-41 win (Do they play defense in the Big 12??) over Oklahoma State, Oklahoma looks like it will vault past Texas in tomorrow's BCS standings and thus represent the South Division in the Big 12 championship against Missouri. If the Sooners beat the Tigers, they'll face the Alabama-Florida winner. If Missouri wins, Texas or maybe even Southern Cal could slide into Oklahoma's space.
Because of space constraints, a story I wrote for the newspaper concerning idle Penn State's stake in tomorrow's game could not be punished. But here it is, nevertheless, free of charge (Aren't you so happy?):
By Jeff McLane
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
There’s a certain comfort that comes with sitting in the clubhouse while the rest of the field is still toiling away.
Penn State, however, is not the leader in the national championship tournament – in fact, far from it. And when it comes to the granddaddy of a consolation playoff – the Rose Bowl -- the Nittany Lions could face a Rocco Mediate rather than a Tiger Woods-like opponent.
With Penn State’s round of regular-season games complete, there is still ample reason for the Lions to keep an eye tuned to tomorrow’s college football action. For one, they are still technically alive in the national title hunt. And two, should they be eliminated from that chase, the Lions will find out who they will likely play in the Rose Bowl.
No. 8 Penn State needs a laundry list of upsets and freaks happenings to occur to even enter the Bowl Championship Series title game conversation. But there are only two games worth watching.
If No. 4 Florida beats No. 20 Florida State and No. 3 Oklahoma beats No. 12 Oklahoma State there’s virtually no way the Lions can sneak in when the final BCS standings are released on Dec. 7. Both teams would advance to their conference titles – the Gators (definitely) in Southeastern Conference and the Sooners (most likely) in the Big Twelve – and that would most assuredly mean each conference would have a representative in the championship.
Even if No. 1 Alabama loses to Auburn tomorrow, both the Crimson Tide and Gators would enter the SEC championship with one loss. The winner is likely assured a top-two standing. And even if Oklahoma loses to Missouri in its conference title, No. 2 Texas – 11-1 after Thursday’s win over Texas A&M – would likely claim a spot in the final.
If both Florida and Oklahoma lose … well, there’s still hope (If it gets that far, I’ll sort out the mess Sunday). Florida and Florida State meet at 3:30 p.m.; Oklahoma and Oklahoma State at 8 p.m.
More than likely, however, Penn State will be following the 7 p.m. game between Pac-10 rivals, No. 17 Oregon State and No. 23 Oregon – otherwise, known as the Civil War.
If the Beavers win, they gain the automatic bid into the Rose Bowl. It’s a scenario all of Nittany Nation is hoping to avoid considering the Lions throttled Oregon State, 45-14, in Week 2. If they lose, Southern Cal is next in line. But the Trojans would have to beat rival UCLA next Saturday.
If Oregon State and UCLA both fall, Oregon would slide into Pasadena.
The Ducks are three-point underdogs heading Oregon State, but they’ll be facing a Beavers team without its best weapon in running back Jacquizz Rodgers. The 5-foot-7, 193-pound freshman has a shoulder sprain and is considered doubtful.
It’s a shame Oregon State would have to play in the biggest game for the program in some time without Rodgers, who leads the Pac-10 in rushing with 1,233 yards. The Beavers made quite the comeback after opening the season 2-3. Starting with an upset over Southern Cal, they reeled off seven straight victories.
They’ll need one more, however, if they want to spoil Penn State’s 19th hole cocktail after an 11-1 loop through the regular season.
Joe Paterno was released from Mount Nittany Medical Center today. The Penn State coach had hip replacement surgery on Sunday and is already walking around, according to his doctor, Wayne Sebastanelli. Paterno is expected to return to work by Monday after his players return from Thanksgiving break.
Quarterback Daryll Clark was named co-Big Ten offensive player of the week along with Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter for his performance in Saturday's win over Michigan State. Here's the link to the Penn State release.
Penn State football coach Joe Paterno had successful hip replacement surgery today at Mount Nittany Medical Center, according to a team press release. Here it is in its entirety:
"Successful hip replacement surgery was performed today on Penn State Coach Joe Paterno at the Mount Nittany Medical Center. Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli reports that all objectives were accomplished and that Paterno is resting comfortably and anxious to get home.
Paterno is expected to be on his feet Monday and able to resume a coaching regimen next Monday, Dec. 1, when the players return to school following the Thanksgiving break.
Dr. Sebastianelli, who led the surgery team, is Professor of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Director of Athletic Medicine."
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- I just e-mailed my Associated Press Top 25 ballot and Penn State is No. 6 behind Alabama, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma and Southern Cal. Texas Tech dropped to No. 7 after the Sooners embarassed the Red Raiders. Here's the ballot in its entirety (I sent the wrong version earlier; here's the right one):
1. Alabama (11-0)
2. Florida (10-1)
3. Texas (10-1)
4. Oklahoma (10-1)
5. Southern Cal (9-1)
6. Penn State (11-1)
7. Texas Tech (10-1)
8. Ohio State (10-2)
9. Boise State (11-0)
10. Utah (12-0)
11. Oklahoma State (9-2)
12. Georgia (9-2)
13. Missouri (9-2)
14. TCU (10-2)
15. Cincinnati (9-2)
16. Ball State (11-0)
17. Oregon State (8-3)
18. Oregon (8-3)
19. Georgia Tech (8-3)
20. Boston College (8-3)
21. BYU (10-2)
22. Michigan State (9-3)
23. Northwestern (9-3)
24. West Virginia (7-3)
25. Florida State (8-3)
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Penn State capped its regular season with a commanding 49-18 win over Michigan State that gave the Nittany Lions the Big Ten title and a berth in the Rose Bowl. Coach Joe Paterno, by the way, said he was coming back for next season, as if you ever doubted he would. He'll probably have hip replacement surgery sometime this week and will attempt to recover in time for the Rose Bowl.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. --
1. The defense has done an outstanding job of shutting down running back Javon Ringer. After three quarters, the senior has only 15 carries for 30 yards. He came into the game averaging 141 yards a game on the ground.
2. The rout is on, call in the dogs. Deon Butler caught a 4-yard TD pass from Daryll Clark to push Penn State's lead to 35-7 with 4:34 left in the third quarter. The Lions have shown that they can do essentially what they want on offense and the defense, meanwhile, has shown that Michigan State can't do anything. All three senior wideouts have had their moment in the sun. Norwood had a 31-yard catch on the drive and is now over 100 yards receiving. Williams has four catches for 51 yards and a TD and Butler just got involved.