This from JS Glaus: I believe it was you, David, who said, “he won the press conference” when James Franklin was introduced as the new head coach of the Nittany Lions. You seemed suspicious of him then and I continue to be so even now. He says the right things with some conviction (see offensive line) but we wonder if he can deliver? Put me in the skeptical group as we drop Game 1 and walk away at 7-5, but we’ll believe we’re only a year away!
Do I detect a tinge of sarcasm in that last sentence?
You are referring to the Big Ten Media Days last week in Indianapolis. Franklin had a record-length unofficial introduction that lasted nearly six minutes, more than half his allotted time.
I have to say this, and I mentioned it in the Blue-White Breakdown with Bob: Captains are impressive young men in the way they behave in public. Ji’Ayir Brown, Sean Clifford and PJ Mustipher reminded me of the 2005 band of Mike Robinson, Paul Posluszny and Alan Zemaitis in how they seem able to effectively lead different tiers of the team with their personalities. This is not to be overlooked. You combine top classes like this trio with the kind of influx of young talent into this team and you have real possibilities if things start early.
But that’s the problem. I just don’t see how this team can win two tough road clashes in the first three weeks knowing what’s established on the O line – which isn’t much. Perhaps we are amazed by its development. Perhaps Western Kentucky transfer WR Michael Tinsley and RB rookie Nick Singleton are coming out of the gate and having immediate impacts. Many have to merge to even reach 9-3.
This, from Jason Gladfelter: It’s time for Franklin to post results that match his salary range. National championship or bust! No more alibi excuses! He’s an excellent recruiter, but for his $$$$ we demand more. Dangling a potential move to USC is always a sore point. It’s time to stand up or be quiet!
Now wait a minute. Wouldn’t you take a Big Ten title and a respectable college football playoff semifinal loss? Of course you would. I think you’d even buy a runner-up in the East if it included a Happy Halloween win over Ohio State.
I believe most people just want to see upward momentum and attacking progress. Again, I can’t even see that happening without something totally unexpected out of the O line.
Progress means beating the Buckeyes. And the only way is to outplay them in the trenches like Michigan finally did in November. You’re not going to beat them with more big plays from exceptional athletes. They will always have more.
This, from Charlie Tocci: Think the Big Ten Network will insist the league plug in a West Coast game every Saturday to get the extra 10 p.m. televised game?
I think that’s what FOX Sports, BTN’s partner and the architect of the USC/UCLA acquisition, had in mind from the start. Starting in 2024 when LA schools come on board I think USC or UCLA will be playing at home every weekend and I wouldn’t be surprised if those games kick off at 9:30 or 10 a.m. East (6:30/7 Pacific), usually on FOX. If the match isn’t so appetizing – say Illinois @ UCLA – then I might see it pop up on BTN. If this is a monumental draw — say, Ohio State @ USC — then we’re talking primetime, around 7 a.m. Eastern on FOX, and the network is filling up with Pac-12s or from Mountain West at 10:30 a.m. Eastern.
This, from Luke Glusco: Are these Media Days better/worse than anything they’ve done before?
If by “before” you mean 20 or 25 years ago, much worse for a reason. I now continue to see “reporters” with the microphone who don’t have to ask questions. Many are from low profile cheerleading websites or a startup no one has ever heard of, all vying for face time on BTN.
Just as an example, we had a guy my age that I’ve never seen, from an organization that I couldn’t even find with a web search, who was asking semi-intelligible questions . The coaches just kind of made him happy. Then there was a 24-year-old pageant queen asking James Franklin about Indiana with one of the first questions — as if anyone else wanted to use the limited lecture time available to learn her opinion on Indiana – and referring to the Hoosiers as “we”, as in: “Last year your defense gave us no points.
This is not a bashing of websites in general, as I believe high-end sites and their journalists are the most astute in the business. Nationally, you have Dan Wetzel from Yahoo! Sports, Heather Dinich of espn.comBruce Feldman of The Athletic, Dennis Dodd of cbssports.com And so on, everything not working in print but exclusively for sites. Among the Penn State contingent, you could put Mark Brennan of 247sports.com and Greg Pickel of On3.comto name just two, high up among drummers who know the program both in the broadest sense and in the finest detail.
It’s just that there are now so many people on the fringes who have no critical perspective, bringing in chops or writing skills and they’re muddying the waters for everyone. They’ve infested Media Days for the past decade, I guess because they think being on TV gives them credit.
And I see no end to it because the Big Ten media relations people and conference coaches clearly don’t care about the softball questions asked by toddler organizations. Nothing but promotional opportunities there.
And this, from Chris Fried: On a non-college football question, what do you think of the Phillies inviting Pete Rose to their 1980 World Series celebration next weekend?
I think this speaks to how public relations decisions are subject to recency bias. So many such actions depend on how much time has passed since a revelation was discovered.
You’ll recall Rose suffered a backlash and lost a few gigs when it emerged five years ago during John Dowd’s libel trial that he was having sex with a 15-year-old girl in Cincinnati while he was in his mid-thirties. . Dowd, who led the investigation into then-commissioner Bart Giamatti of Rose’s game of baseball, said in a 2015 radio interview with WCHE in West Chester that he was told by the associate from the Michael Bertolini game that Rose often had sex with underage girls as young as 12. during spring training. Rose flatly denied these claims in documents. But as we all know, Rose denied many things that turned out to be true.
I’ve written before about living in Cincinnati in the mid to late 70’s and hearing rumors from bartenders and friends of my older sister who played music and frequented the club scene about Rose’s obvious complicity. Everyone had a story. None of that matters here other than my overwhelming impression of the guy was always that he was a pig as a human being.
That shouldn’t affect his Hall of Fame bid. If we disqualified all of Hall’s worthless humans, you’d probably remove a quarter or more of the members.
But that 1980 Phillies appearance is all about public relations. It’s the club’s decision whether they believe most fans want to see Rose and those who don’t are restrained in their disapproval. It’s a big promotion, not a reward for integrity.
I expect him to get a rousing standing ovation that will drown out any boos or hisses. He was a major force on this World Series winner. Most fans who read about underage girls five years ago have probably forgotten by now. I think that’s a much bigger issue than betting on baseball. But if that’s the image the Phillies want to project, that’s their business, not mine.
More PennLive sports coverage:
• If every Big Ten football coach became an actor, what roles would we put them in?
• If Kevin Warren and Big Ten were smart, they’d be dealing with the college players’ union now.
• A 50-year throwback with Larry Bowa in the age of MLB’s plastic grass, polyester uniforms, sweating like pigs.
• If Big Ten didn’t just add lucrative programs like USC, but cut out the laggards, who would have the boot?
• Off topic: What was it like flying an F-16 with a USAF Thunderbird? Here is a video, 30 years ago.