Phil (man of) Steele is scaring me!

According to Mr. Swindle's preview of the new Phil Steele's College Football Preview.

He, reportedly, has PSU ranked in the top 10 (okay, at #10 - but that's still in the top 10) - the only B10 team ranked ahead of them is tosu. Of course, USF is ranked 8th, WVU is #6 and florida is #1 - but still - somebody likes PSU and that...

Makes me happy and anxious for the season to start so we can win all those games and then show Phil that we're even better, 'cause we're gonna beat the bucknuts... and

makes me want to throw up because now I have to worry about PSU living up to expectations... and

this is why I hate (and love and hate) pre-season rankings and predictions (of course, in the olden days I used to hate it when the "experts" would rank PSU at #1 - #10 would be completely acceptable).


From D-Con to Formula 44?

Danny Connor has a new jersey number - 44 - it'll look good in teal and black.

Dan attended Panthers' mini-camp - where they worked him mostly at inside linebacker. He says (in his NFL diary) that he's learning the different positions so he can contribute wherever he is needed.

Carolina begins the pre-season on August 9th with a home game against the Colts - but then, on the 14th they travel up to Philadelphia to face the Eagles - think Danny will have some fans in the stands that day? They head over to Pittsburgh for their final pre-season game on August 28th.

King of Saint Louis

Check out Justin King's roster write up on the Rams' website -

He'll be donning number 32 for the gold and blue -

He travels back to Pennsylvania for the Rams' season opener - against the Eagles - on September 7th. Probably not as many friendly faces as there would have been had they been playing the Steelers.

Homecoming - 2008 - Inspired by Tradition

Homecoming - 2008 - It's on October 18th - and the game is against Michigan.

It should be a big, big day!

Kick-off is scheduled for 4:30pm - which sounds kinda perfect to me.

This is PSU's only home game in October - so organizers had little choice for setting the homecoming date (or so the folks at the NLC have said).

Those clever kiddos on the Homecoming Committee have created a blog (for announcements, updates, suggestions, etc).

Why don't you check it out and let them know that they should definitely have the tailgating contest again this year...  You can't be "non-award winning" if they aren't giving out awards.


Every Party is a Tailgate

So, the dips we made last week were yummy - and a big hit at the happy hour!  

This week I've been working on making a dinner for some families in need who will be spending the next 2 weeks at our church.  

After I signed up, I was a little stymied at what to prepare.  And then a light bulb went on - What do we make for tailgates?  Quickly it was confirmed that one tailgate "theme" that is always a success is:  The Fiesta Tailgate -

So I'm preparing a "make your own taco bar" for about 20 people.

So far I've pre-cooked (approx) 6 lbs (yield) mojo (a mildly spicy/citrus marinade) chicken and probably 7 lbs of ground beef.  As I would when preparing for a tailgate, I've frozen the cooked meats "plain" and will re-heat/defrost them with (their respective) seasonings.  I made a concentrated mojo "broth" for the chicken and I'll use taco seasoning for the ground beef.  Although, I will, most likely, also reserve some beef without seasonings (see below).

The chicken has a subtle mojo flavor and the "broth" is wonderful.  I made it from the cooking "juices" and "extras" left after picking the chicken.  I didn't add any water (as I usually would when making stock) and I just let it simmer for a couple hours.  After removing the "pieces" I poured the broth through a micro strainer (mostly to remove the gritty spices from the mojo sauce) - when it chilled - NOW I know that most people find this to be completely disgusting and would rather not know, but - it made the most amazing gelatin - not jelly (like you'll get when you make stock) but, actual chicken "jello" - it was so gross and great at the same time.  After chilling, I skimmed off the fat and strained the broth one more time - into a freezable container - and there (in the freezer) it will sit until it's time to re-heat the chicken.

I'll also make black beans, rice, and something chocolate/cinnamon for dessert.  I may make salsa, and I may make guacamole - we'll see.

With the tacos I'll provide - flour tortillas, corn chips, shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, refried beans, sour cream, salsa, hot sauce, peppers, and salad dressing.

Wah?  salad dressing?  As a kid, I didn't eat tacos - so when my parents would have them for dinner, I would get a hamburger and a salad for dinner.  The majority of the guests are children - and I understand that they don't all want a spicy taco.

My 5 year old super friend, Kate, is going to help me "host" the dinner - it should be a good time.


They are Marshall - I am a little disappointed

So, I watched "We Are Marshall" last night - and it was a good sports movie - not the best - but it did conjure up a few tears - and cheers.

It was a bit disjointed - trying to "tell" too many stories from too many angles - but it's a complex and compelling story - so that's understandable.

What wasn't understandable was the Special Features section.  I had, apparently foolishly, expected there to be a "featurette" on the Marshall story - the "real" people behind the rolls - but there wasn't - the only features were a Marshall commercial, a trailer for the movie and a featurette titled "Legendary Coaches" - this segment was introduced by the director of the film, McG (yeah, that's his "name" - he's the director of such classics as "Charlie's Angels" and "Charlie's Angels - Full Throttle") - so McG tells us how legendary coaches are the best in their sports - up flashes a picture of Bobby Bowden - not surprising, he's a character in the movie - but I just couldn't stomach it - so I ejected the DVD and watched Superbad - which, btw, was a much more entertaining, albeit sometimes disturbing, film.

I remember the first time I read about the Marshall crash - it was during the Randy Moss era - and (how interesting that Bowden was involved in that as well) the story is fascinating - sad beyond comprehension, but inspiring as well.  What a perfect opportunity for the filmmakers to pay (even a little more) tribute to those that died and those who carried on - oh well. 


Penn State Football 2008 Schedule - A quick review

Just in case you were updating your fall calendars...

08/30 - Coastal Carolina - The Lions start off 2008 against the Division One Championship League Chanticleers. Start time is still TBA.

09/06 - Oregon State - The first ever meeting between the two teams should be an interesting Big Ten / Pac Ten match up. "Officially" the gametime is "TBA" - however, Oregon sources suggest that kickoff will be at 3:30pm (EST).

09/13 at Syracuse - A renewal (albeit short lived) an old "Beast of the East" rivalry. Traditionally, syracuse was PSU's homecoming game (every other year, that is) - gametime is still TBA.

09/20 - Temple - PSU and Temple have signed a long term (not nd/um long term - but pretty significant) OoC contract. The "lion's share" of the games will be in Happy Valley. Start time is also, TBA.

09/27 - Illinois - 8:00pm EST - The first of the Lions' flurry of prime time games. PSU opens the Big Ten schedule with a pretty formidable foe - and a score to settle.

10/04 at Purdue - Lions begin their "away month" (only one home game in October) against the boilermakers. Start time is TBA.

10/11 at Wisconsin - 8:00pm EST - right into the meat of the season - the Lions head out to Madison - and another night game.

10/18 - Michigan - 4:30pm. EST - Easily the biggest game of the season. And it's homecoming!

10/25 at Ohio State - 8:00pm. EST - Could (hopefully) become the biggest game of the season.

11/08 at Iowa - the Lions' fourth away game in ... 6 weeks? What? There is a bye week? game time is TBA.

11/15 - Indiana - PSU returns home to face the hoosiers. Game time, you guessed it - is TBA.

11/22 - Michigan State - Last game of the season - Lions lost a heartbreaker (soul crusher, really) out in East Lansing last year. This is the weekend before Thanksgiving - Here's hoping for a happy holiday! kickoff? - yup - TBA.


Every Party is a Tailgate

that's my motto - that's my opinion -

perhaps you could suggest that every tailgate is a party - and I would not argue with you.

anyway - I (who will be among others who call themselves tailgaters) am going to a neighborhood "happy hour" tonight. We have a little group of fun people who, during the warm(er) months, host happy hours (the fact that it's craptastic weather shall not deter us) at alternating locations - and, tonight is the first of the 2008 season.

We (the guests) usually bring a snacky dish or two and maybe a beverage while the host provides the majority of the fare and libations.

So, today at lunch, I (who likes to use parentheticals and who hadn't really thought of anything to contribute to the happy hour until 1:05pm today) made a trio of dips/spreads to take to the party. I made - rosemary and white bean spread, green olive tapenade, and garlic-fresh oregano hummus.

Suz is going to concoct some delicious cooler - using blueberries, pomegranate, vodka and ginger ale - yum (as Racheal Ray would say) O!

The fact that I now reek of garlic upon my return to the office - is not abnormal.


Signs it's the off-season: Blog entries

As in there are no blog entries.

It's not that there isn't anything "going on" in Penn State Football - Joe was hospitalized yesterday, for gosh sake (he's, reportedly, fine; he was dehydrated) - and we've been picking up a variety of new recruits - even some of tosu's (awkward).

I've found myself busy commenting on other blogs - as sometimes happens - and for fear of redundancy and/or basic laziness - I just don't follow up here.

so sad.

Also, I now have a non-football blogging "gig" - it's only 3 posts (minimum) a week - and there is that pesky day job and my addiction to pyramids solitaire - and when you factor in sleeping, watching BBC America, dinner and my church work (no really, I do stuff for the church)...

I know. I know. Lame.

So, here's to a renewed commitment to all things Penn State and Penn State Football.


Signs it's the off-season: Music

Yes - Music. For me, music is an integral part of getting ready for a football game. I have certain tunes that I enjoy listening to when I'm getting ready for the tailgate - songs for packing the car - songs for the road trip - and so on.

There are also, of course, the songs for the parking lot - playlists specially crafted for the the theme and crowd. The iPod has been instrumental (if you will) - Prior to 2004 I would burn CDs for every tailgate - I would travel with a case full of PSU specialty CDs - first I got an iPod transmitter and then finally an iPod "boom box" - although it's pretty much a piece o' crap. For our large tailgates (usually 3 - 4 times a year), we have a fella who sets up a whole audio/media system - footed all weather speakers, lap top, ipod docks, satellite, tvs - it's fabulous. The only problem (for me) is that I don't have complete control over the song selection - but I'm learning to cope.

During the "off-season" I don't listen to PSU songs as regularly - it's sort of like holiday songs - if you listened to them all year long, they wouldn't be as special during the season. But that doesn't stop me from listening every now and then - I'm just a little less strict about listening to the songs as I am during the season. I have this rule - if a PSU song comes on the iPod - I can't skip it or fast forward - I have to listen to the whole song and, when appropriate, sing along.

Back in the olden days I made a "commuting mix tape" for my dad - and, it, of course, included songs from the Blue Band - One day he said to me - "That tape you made for me is dangerous." Naturally I was horrified and asked "why?" He answered "When the Alma Mater came on, I tried to stand up. I nearly wrecked the car." Funny guy.

My taste in music is hideously un-hip and eclectic - frequently guided by tv ad campaigns, movie and video game soundtracks and my 3 year old goddaughter - She's totally has her finger on the pulse of popular music - I suspect that she is singularly responsible for the Spice Girls' (albeit failed) reunion.

Here's my current play-list for off season 2008!

If I Can Dream - Elvis Presley
Dream On - Aerosmith
Opportunities - Pet Shop Boys
No Surrender - Bruce Springsteen
Jam on It - Newcleus
The Name of the Game - DJ Ostkurve
A.M. Radio - Everclear
MmmBop - Hanson
Danny Boy - John McDermott
Someday, Someway - Marshall Crenshaw
Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows - Leslie Gore
Bossman - Lucky Boys Confusion
This is the Day - The The (Thanks MnMs for that earworm)



In Men's Volleyball, of course.

They made it interesting though, dropping the first game against #2 seed Pepperdine.

In that game, the Lions started out sharp, running up a big lead - but then the Waves (of Pepperdine) fought back to even and eventually took the game, 30 -27.

The next 2 games were incredibly tense, and close. But Penn State held on (and clawed back) to win them both (33-31 and 30-25 \ game 3 was much closer than that score).

And then, in a game they led throughout, they won it all with a 30-23 victory in game 4.

This was only the 3rd time, all season, that PSU had lost game 1 of a match (they finished the season 2-1 in such a circumstance).

Penn State Men's Volleyball claims the 2nd National Championship in the program's history (previous championship was won in 1994).

Matt Anderson, not surprisingly, was named the Tournament's Most Outstanding Player.

Penn State is just the second school to ever win the Men's and Ladies' championship in the same school year.

For more stats and info - check out GoPSUsports.com.



Penn State Volleyball - National Championship Contenders

I watched the, #1 seeded, Penn State Mens' Volleyball match last night - it was the national semifinal against 4th seeded Ohio State.

And Penn State won 3 games to 1. They dominated the first game - the score of 30 - 21 is deceptively close as tosu had a short run at the end of the game. PSU dropped the 2nd game 26 -30 - tosu led that game throughout - and any time PSU would get back to even, they would fault on serve - where they had been nearly perfect in the first game (just 2 errors), they certainly looked more wobbly in the 2nd -

But it didn't really matter - tosu put up some fight in the 3rd game (which PSU won 30 - 22) - but PSU's defense and outside hitter Matt Andersen stepped up the quality of play. PSU racked up 9 of their 18.5 blocks in that game alone. By the 4th game, it was a done deal - Penn State sailed through that game, winning 30 - 17, to take the match. The final point was won on a massive PSU block - which was fitting.

Andersen finished the evening with 30 kills.

PSU will face the Waves of Pepperdine (can you say "bye bye"?) - for the National Championship - Saturday Evening, beginning at 7pm on ESPN2.

The 2nd seeded Waves (17-10), who won their semifinal against Long Beach State in 3 games (30-26, 30-21, 30-26), are vying for their 6th Volleyball National Championship - the Lions are going for their 2nd.


Happy May Day.

To the Lion.