1/23/2011

Penn Staters in the SuperBowl!!!

Two former Penn Staters will be playing in SuperBowl XLV in two weeks.  Andrew "Gods Gift" Quarless of the Green Bay Packers and Jeremy Kapinos of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Quarless was drafted in the 5th round of the draft by Green Bay this year.  He had a somewhat productive season, 21 receptions for 238 yards.  In the NFC Championship today though, he was 0/3.  Quarless was usually good for a couple receptions every game this season.  But just like at Penn State, he was good for a few wiffs too.

The more important game of the night was the AFC Championship game.  Jeremy Kapinos was signed by the Steelers in week 9 after hottie Daniel Sepulveda tore his ACL.  Kapinos was rather dull so far in the season, which I suppose is at best what you hope for in a punter.  His worst game came against Jets, ironically enough.  Tonight though Kapinos only punted once.  Well technically it was twice, but the first punt he was hit by one of the Jets special teams.  The lone punt was 38 yards later in that drive.

In some fun tidbits, Penn Staters have been in 40 of 45 Super Bowls

Here We Go Steelers!! :o)

1/21/2011

Friday Fan Fare; It's been a while.

This is a family favorite and a guaranteed dish at parties, reunions, picnics, etc.


PINEAPPLE CREAM CHEESE JELLO SALAD
1 c. boiling water
1 can crushed pineapple (my mother insists that you must use pineapple from the Philippines - but it's difficult to find Filipino crushed pineapple - so go with what you can find)
1 c. juice (from can) + water (as needed)
2 pkg. lime Jello
2 8oz pkg. cream cheese


Dissolve Jello in 1 cup boiling water, add the juice (from can) plus enough water to make 1 cup. Crumble the cream cheese into Jello mixture and stir in the crushed pineapple. Pour mixture into a 13x9 pan or casserole dish (or a bowl or mould, if you prefer). Refrigerate. After 1 hour (remove from refrigerator and) fold/stir gently to evenly distribute cheese and pineapple. Chill overnight or until firm.

Some like to blend in the cream cheese to make a more milky product - my personal preference is to stir the mixture as gently as possible, to keep little nuggets of cheese throughout.

Oh, and another little secret is that I often use sugar-free jello (gasp!).

I have come to learn, living here in southeastern Pennsylvania for(ever) some time, that jello salad isn't as ubiquitous as I was raised to believe.  I took it to a pot-luck party a few years ago - and was actually asked "but what is it?" And it was the topic of a rather lengthy discussion amongst the jello salad innocents.  It's tasty; I promise.

But, if you're going to Pittsburgh for an AFC Championship party, you'll fit right in.  But you might want to use lemon Jello (although lime is better).

1/17/2011

My Least Favorite Season of the Year - Off Season; Introducing "I Remember Mondays."

Okay. Okay.  I realize that there is still football being played - somewhere - in the world - in Pittsburgh - and that the real "low" season doesn't start until May - but I'm already missing football.

So, I thought a great way to combat some of the off season blahs would be to institute (or reinstitute) some "theme days!"  (i do love a theme)

I don't want to crowd the week with some meaningless monikers - but, I don't see any harm in resurrecting "Friday Football Fan Fare" - and maybe the occasional "Tuesday Tailgate Talk."

But, first and foremost, "I Remember Mondays" will be a new "theme post" topic - where we share some of our football, tailgating, etc memories.

To get started, I thought I'd share a story that I was thinking about this weekend.  I'm not sure what triggered this memory - but it made me smile - and I was also pleased to remember that I had memorialized it in a post over on 2theLion.blogspot.com.

This happened on November 18, 2006 - it was the last game of the season - Penn State v Michigan State... (great "Italian" themed tailgate, btw)


The funniest moment of the day was early on, while we were still setting up. I was sitting down, arranging the cookies on a platter when suddenly, out of the corner of my eye I see something hit the ground and splatter up toward my leg/boot - simultaneously I hear shouting and laughter - My first thought was "why the heck are those kids playing water balloons?" - it wasn't a water balloon - it was an egg - and it had hit me. After 30 seconds of confusion - I come to understand that, for charity, 2 kids (later identified as "Target Girl" and "Money Boy") are going around the parking lot "selling" eggs and letting "you" throw them at them. The young lady (Target Girl) was wearing a clear trash bag and a bullseye on her torso with "MSU" written across it - Apparently a gentleman 5 CARS DOWN THE HILL had purchased one such egg and so egregiously missed the mark that it flew up to our spot, and my pant leg. Much hooting and hollering could be heard from their tailgate - and, by the time the purveyors of eggs reached our spot - I had already told Tailgate Maven - "I'm getting an egg" - a look of wicked childhood glee crossed her face (one reserved for 2nd and middle children) - By this time the young man who had thrown the egg had come up to apologize - I gave him a friendly pat on the shoulder and said "Don't worry about it. I'm getting an egg". To make the story a little bit longer - I did buy an egg (from Money Boy) - and target girl obligingly stood in front of me as I lofted my egg (pre-cracked - a tip from Money Boy) into the air - for the second time in my life the winds of the gods of fair play guided my projectile to its mark - and I hit the kid right on the numbers of his jersey - the egg bounced off his belly and smashed to the ground. Cue eruption of laughter. I think the kid was surprised that I actually threw it at him - which was odd, because I told him I was going to.

1/13/2011

Congratulations Coach Paterno! (now with a little added speculation)

Today Joe Paterno will receive the NCAA President's Gerald R. Ford Award.  Originated in 2004, the award is given, annually, to a recipient who "has provided significant leadership as an advocate for intercollegiate athletics on a continuous basis over the course of their career."

I'd say that Coach Paterno falls into that category.

All of these honors and "namings" has me thinking...

What do they all know that we don't.

Will Joe retire in August, as some pundits have predicted?

Has Bradley and "the crew" stayed at Penn State because (you know Joe did meet with Spanier and Curley recently) that "Tommy" is going to get the job at Penn State?

I noticed on Monday that the AFCA National Championship Trophy is still called the "Coaches' Trophy" (has been since 2006) - of course, we all know who was the first coach to win it...

And, Commissioner Delaney has been kinda quiet about the whole "renaming" of the B1G divisions - after he had promised that they would readdress the matter "after the 1st of the year."

Nittany Lion Club donations are due at the end of the month - and the STEP program (don't call it a re-seating!!!) is (as we type) going into effect - just a reminder.

Btw, previous winners of the Ford Award are:  Myles Brand (NCAA President); Billie Jean King (Women's Athletics/Tennis); James Frank (NCAA membership president); Christine Grant (Pioneer for Women's Athletics/Iowa); Birch Bayh (US Senator/Indiana); John Wooden (Basketball/UCLA); William Friday (Educator/North Carolina); and, Rev. Theodore M Hesburgh (original recipient - Educator/Notre Dame).

1/12/2011

Birds fall out of sky; Millions of dead fish found; Penn State MBB beats 2 ranked opponents.

Last night the Penn State Men's Basketball team beat 16th ranked Illinois, 57 -55, with a buzzer beater stuff by Andrew Jones.

On Saturday, the Lions defeated Michigan State 66 - 62.

Check out GoPSUsports.com for the re-cap.

And Scene; the Bradley Mutiny ends with a...

...with a... nothing?

Tom Bradley did not get hired at Temple, or Pitt, or UConn - other coaches, from other programs got the job(s).

Assistant coaches Vanderlinden, Johnson, McQueary, Paterno, etc. also are all still intact.

Rob Bolden is, reportedly, attending his spring classes and planning to compete for the starting qb position once spring practice begins.

Even Kevin Newsome is still in Happy Valley.

So what happened?

Coach Paterno had said publicly that he thought "Tommy" would be a good choice for Pitt - heck even Dan Rooney called the panthers with an endorsement.  While there was nothing more than speculation that some (if not all) of Paterno's current staff would follow Bradley to wherever (pitt) - it seemed, at least for one night or so, that the Penn State coaching staff was going to be undergoing some serious personnel changes.

But it didn't happen.

Some different theories/reasons have been posted across the internets - some serious, some not so much.

My own theories shift between Bradley (actually) not being able to build a staff and that this was all just a ruse, for various reasons.  Each is rather cynical - but hey, what's new about that?

Regarding Bolden and Newsome, each (especially Bolden) had made it very clear to the media that they were intent on transferring to different schools/programs.  Bolden's situation, with having completed just one semester of school (and football), was more precarious than Newsome's - I think most fans expected Newsome to transfer, and are actually more surprised that he hasn't.

Coach Paterno had stated that he "needed to talk with" Newsome before any final decisions were made - I guess he convinced him to stay.

The Bolden saga (debacle) was played out more in the media - with it being reported that Paterno denied Bolden (and his father)'s request for a release from his Letter of Intent.  Logic suggests that Coach Paterno said, finish your freshman year, compete in spring practice and we'll talk about it then.  It is a little rash to demand a release after 15 weeks of school - but the media seemed to like the idea that Paterno was detaining the kid against his will.

Makes it a little more difficult for us to refute the "Penn State is a cult" argument - but the leaders wouldn't trust us with the task if we weren't up to it - that is, which is a bunch of bologna.

1/07/2011

So Maybe Not So Much; Reports of Bradley's Hire Are Greatly Exaggerated.

So, the rumors swirling around the 'burgh that Tom Bradley's hire as head coach for pitt have cooled off significantly.

pitt issued a statement that a decision has not yet been made and that no offers have been made.  Since the initial flurry additional names have been added into the mix.

It's the 10th grade Key Club corresponding secretary election all over again!

Reports that Bradley was traveling up to Hartford to interview with UConn have been answered with reports that said trip was canceled (then again, it is snowing).

So, we will wait and see - and try to remain calm.  Tom Bradley is a good guy - any team would be lucky to have him.

1/05/2011

Fare Thee Well Scrap; Tom Bradley to be named coach at pitt.

After some 30 years at Penn State, it appears that Tom Bradley, Penn State Defensive Coordinator for the last 10 years, will be leaving Happy Valley and take on the role as the new head coach at pitt.

The expected (now, nothing is official yet) hire comes in the wake pitt firing their coach-elect, Mike Haywood, following Haywood's arrest for domestic violence last week.

Reportedly, Bradley had contacted pitt about the vacancy left by Mike Wannstedt, but he was not interviewed for the job at that time.

Bradley had interviewed for the job opening at Temple - but, obviously, didn't get the job.

Bradley is from Western PA (Johnstown) and his brother is the team physician for the Steelers - which is great for him.

It's always sad to see a long time asset of the Lions move on - sadder that it's pitt - but I have to wish him well (not too much success - but enough) - so long as it doesn't interfere with PSU, of course.

pitt plays Kentucky in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Saturday - it will be interesting to see if we get a formal announcement before then.

pitt and miami - seriously guys? what's next?

1/01/2011

New Year, New Picks; 2010-11 Totally Biased Bowl Predictions.

So here they are, our final picks for the bowl season -


TicketCity
Northwestern vs Texas Tech
Dallas
Cotton Bowl
Jan. 1, Noon
ESPNU
Wildcats vs Red Raiders
PG: Texas Tech isn’t my least favorite team on the planet - but they’ve definitely gotten less entertaining since Craig James came to town (what?). Regardless, gotta stick with the B1G on this one - besides, Fitzy is one of the best looking coaches out there. So let’s go Wildcats. Oh, and thanks for 400, btw.

Outback
Penn State vs Florida
Tampa, Fla.
Raymond James Stadium
Jan. 1, 1 p.m.
ABC
Nittany Lions vs Gators
AKT: So I am not sure if you guys have heard or not, but there’s this hockey game in Pittsburgh during this game. Seriously, who planned this crap? Clearly NBC and/or ABC hates me. My goal is to find a bar, one tv on the hockey game and another tv to this game. Pens and Lions win!
PG: I don’t think there’s any question as to where our loyalties are going to lie. 100% Penn State. The last time the teams met in a bowl game I was so unhappy with the Lions that it made me dislike florida and their (then) coach even more because it should have been a competitive game. I know that Amanda is weeping softly into her pillow every night because she misses collegiate Timmy Tebow so; all the more reason to root against them now. PENN STATE FOREVER!!!!!!

Capital One
Alabama vs. Michigan State
Orlando, Fla.
Florida Citrus Bowl
Jan. 1, 1 p.m.
ESPN
Crimson Tide vs. Spartans
AKT: Who remembers the Mud Bowl from last year? Ahhh good times. I heard that they replaced the field. That makes me sad. I really like Bama, especially after our game. However, Sparty manages to find a way to win. They are going to be Legends after this game (who sees what I did there?)
PG: Yeah, gotta go with MSU for this one. Bama’s a fine team and they have some great fans, but we have to stick with the B1G.

Gator
Mississippi State vs Michigan
Jacksonville, Fla.
Municipal Stadium
Jan. 1, 1:30 p.m.
ESPN2
Bulldogs vs Wolverines
PG: People will tell me that I’m supposed to root for B1G teams when they play out of conference games, but I would be happy to see Fighting RichRods lose to Miss State. Mississippi State’s fan tradition has been (for years) to ring cowbells at football games. It’s what they do - it’s what they’re known for, and the SEC is taking steps to (enforcing a long standing rule) ban cowbells in the stadium. I think we all know how I feel about a cowbell (although I will say that cowbells should only be rung to celebrate and acknowledge exceptional effort and achievements) so ring your cowbells Mississippi State, ring on.


Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO
Wisconsin vs. TCU
Pasadena, Calif.
Rose Bowl
Jan. 1, 5 p.m.
ESPN
Badgers vs. Horned Frogs
PG: I remember Penn State playing tcu way back when (in the olden days) the horned frogs have certainly come a long way - and the prestige of their program has definitely grown over the years. But they will not be adding a Rose Bowl victory to their list of accomplishments. Badgers uphold tradition and win.

Tostitos Fiesta
Connecticut vs. Oklahoma
Glendale, Ariz.
U. of Phoenix Stadium
Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m.
ESPN/ESPN3D
Huskies vs. Sooners
PG: This should be a sad game. It would be great football if the Huskies are able to make it competitive, but common sense says that there isn’t a chance. Not a big fan of the Sooners, in general (stirs a little bile), but my main bias here is not against or for either of the teams, but against the system. I really hope that O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A embarrasses the series as much as this match up does on paper.

Discover Orange
Stanford vs. Va Tech
Miami
Sun Life Stadium
Jan. 3, 8:30 p.m.
ESPN
Cardinal vs. Hokies
AKT: I had to do a double take when I saw who was playing this game. I thought the Hokies had killed themselves way earlier in this season. Have you seen the new Pac10/12 logo. Pretty sweet. Delany should have hired that guy. Stanford wins—how could they not with a soccer logo.
PG: Wow, I really dislike michigan, and John Elway. I’ll be rooting for the Hokies on the 3rd.

Allstate Sugar
Ohio State vs. Arkansas
New Orleans
Louisiana Superdome
Jan. 4, 8:30 p.m.
ESPN
Buckeyes vs. Razorbacks
PG: As we all know by now, 5 tosu players will be playing in this bowl game, knowing that they will be facing game suspensions next season. Despite having been deemed to have violated NCAA rules - their school and the NCAA has decided that they are eligible to play in the BCS bowl game. So, whatever, who cares - not me - I’ll still hope they beat arkansas.

GoDaddy.com
Middle Tennessee vs Miami (Ohio)
Mobile, Ala.
Ladd-Peebles Stadium
Jan. 6, 8 p.m.
ESPN
Blue Raiders vs Red Hawks
PG: Blue Raiders and Red Hawks huh? Tennessee v Ohio huh? By the way, a “Blue Raider” is a flying horse that whinnies lightning bolts. I just really can’t muster much of a bias either way for this one. My guess is people who tune in will be more interested to see if there are any Danika Patrick commercials than the actual game. I’m going to go with Middle Tennessee (State) - because they’re blue. That’s all.

AT&T Cotton
Texas A&M vs. LSU
Arlington, Texas
Cowboys Stadium
Jan. 7, 8 p.m.
FOX
Aggies vs. Tigers
AKT: SEC vs Big12. All offense. No defense. Historically SEC wins this. The Aggies lose this game way more than they’ve won. Tigers win.
PG: My dad always like the Aggies because of the “12th Man” thing (the Sherrill years were an exception). Goooo Aggies! Poo poop dee doop!

BBVA Compass Bowl
Pittsburgh vs Kentucky
Birmingham, Ala.
Legion Field
Jan. 8, Noon
ESPN
Panthers vs Wildcats
PG: For some strange reason I’m leaning toward the panthers - insanity, I know it. But Kentucky just isn’t a football school - so how can you pick them? Okay - bizarro world - panthers. Oh, and so sad about your new coach...

Kraft Fight Hunger
Nevada vs Boston College
San Francisco
AT&T Park
Jan. 9, 9 p.m.
ESPN
Wolf Pack vs Eagles
PG: Nevada has had a heck of a season - beating Boise State and finished the season 12-1. BC has had a tougher road, but they did finish the season strong with a 5 game win streak to be bowl eligible. Although I find their coach’s name to be entertaining (Spaziani), Boston College is Doug Flutie’s alma mater, (strike 1), they wear gold and burgundy (strike 2), and they’re in the ACC (they’rrrrre out!). I’ll be rooting for the navy blue wearing Wolf Pack.

Tostitos BCS National Championship Game
Auburn vs Oregon
Glendale, Ariz.
U. of Phoenix Stadium
Jan. 10, 8:30 p.m.
ESPN/ESPN3D
Tigers vs Ducks
AKT: I’m really happy about this game. It does not include Florida and/or USC. Who wants to guess how many more allegations about Cam Newton appear before the coin flip? Have you seen the highlighters Oregon will be featuring on their feet? I don’t think anything stops the Ducks. Quack Quack!
PG: Can I just say blah? Don’t like auburn - don’t like oregon. Found auburn fans to be rude and poor sports in “real life” and I despise the ducks’ uniforms and general evolution. Not too secret that I would have preferred to see a “BCS Buster” in the title game - but it is what it is. I think I have to go with Auburn, I just can’t root for Oregon. Plus, it’ll be more exciting for the sports writers when they have to vacate the championship anyway.