The Blues Tailgate! PSU v Ohio

"The Blues" is the nickname for Chelsea's soccer club - and, well, yes, it does serve well as a play on words this week/season/life.

HOWEVER, that's not going to stop us from having a great time on Saturday as we welcome the 2012 football (and tailgate) season.

The ohio bobcats have worn green and white since 1896 - before then they wore... blue and white. And, out of respect for and in honor of the victims of child abuse, the ohio players will be wearing a blue ribbon on their helmets for this game.

Ohio has a solid team. They won the East Division MAC(tion) last season and finished in the top 45 nationally of all major categories: Passing (43rd); Rushing (24th); Points for (41st); and, Points against (32nd). To compare to PSU, they scored 35 points agains Temple. The retooled PSU offense is going to have to be sharp as is the Lions' strong but (arguably) shallow defense. While most of the coverage (in the world) has been on PSU for this game, many pundits consider this to be the toughest (on the field) home opener PSU has faced since 2005 (South Florida). So our Lions are going to need every ounce of support we can muster!

Game time is at 12pm - so the lots open at 7am. We're parking in Green this season.* It's the lot on the west (pressbox) side of the stadium - between Curtin (BJC) and University Park Ave (IM fields; Devil's Doorknob). We're in the middle of the lot - closer to Park Ave.

We'll be flying the blue flag of Chelsea and a PSU flag - so keep an eye out for the Lions.

The current accuweather forecast is high of 84 (with high humidity; surprised?) and partly sunny. The chance for rain has been reduced to a slight possibility for a thunderstorm - but it's always smart to be prepared. High temperatures and humidity increase the chances for heat related illness - so make sure you dress appropriately and stay hydrated. Sunscreen is a must, even if it's hazy.

Have a great time on Saturday, and, if you're able, stop by to say hello (or to stay awhile). 

*As this is the first game of the season, there is always the possibility of there being issues with the parking/location, etc. If we run into any issues, we will contact those of you that we can and will post to the facebook page and twitter.


It's TIME! Penn State Opens the 2012 Football Season vs the Ohio University Bobcats

It's finally here; it's finally time to strike up the band, because... It's Penn State Football time! (if you're near Tailgate Maven when she reads this, you might see she's dancing)

The first game of the season is less than 2 weeks away - PSU hosts the Bobcats of Ohio for their season/home opener.

Completely ignoring the off-season for the moment, we are looking forward to the start of football and yet another superb tailgating season.

For the Ohio tailgate we are drawing on some of the energy and spirit of the other football: soccer. Specifically, the British Soccer Club, Chelsea. "The Blues" defied all logic and overcome extreme obstacles to win the Champions Cup this past Spring - as the ultimate underdogs - and we find that somewhat relatable.

So with a nod to jolly old, and quite a bit of biting of the thumb, we will be serving a variety of traditional British flavors as adapted for the carpark (and with a dash of hooligan, here and there).

Bits and Bobs: curried chicken salad wraps; pork&turkey cottage pie; pepper steak pies; shandy cupcakes; an assortment of HP & beer infused bites; celery; and, much more.

The bobcats wear green - but we'll still make best efforts to recycle.

All are welcome. As always, contributions of food and drink are appreciated, but not necessary. We do ask that if there is something that you really want/need, that you either let us know so we can make sure to have it, or you bring it with you.

This year (unless noted otherwise) we will be parking in the Green (West) parking lot, behind the pressbox. Our spot is in the corner, near the soccer pitch (ha!). Let us know if you plan to join us; you can contact us via email, phone, dm, facebook or twitter, and contact us for specific directions, as necessary.

We'll be flying the flag of ChelseaFC, and keeping the blue flag flying high!


The Going Rate; An Addendum.

So, the word on the feed is that Ryan Nowicki, who's status had gone from "going" to "gone" to "on the fence" is transferring to Illinois. This is the first PSU player to announce that he will be transferring to a Big Ten school, and will, assumedly, suit up against the Nittany Lions, at some point.

For your reference Illinois' graduation rates are:
GSR - 76
FGR - 59

The Going Rate; A Look at the PSU transfer schools.

I’m trying to stay positive about the whole situation at Penn State - and I’ve been trying to piece together my thoughts on what has happened in the past 8 months - especially the last few weeks.
For a community that has, over the years, had to deal with very little “big news,” the onslaught of exposure and commentary and (literally) life-altering events has been, at the very least, overwhelming.
But, instead of wading through all the stuff we’ve not commented on (on which we have not commented) - I’m going to start at the end (ie the most recent events) because I feel compelled to write about one aspect of this deluge to which you can actually look at numbers and “facts.”
As a result of the sanctions imposed on the Penn State Football team, the transfer rules enforced by the NCAA have been reduced to, nearly, nothing. Typically when an athlete transfers from one FBS (div 1A) school to another, he must enroll in the new school and sit out one academic year of competition. This rule has been eliminated with respect to PSU players for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Any school can contact the currently enrolled players to discuss their program(s) and extend offers; each player is permitted to visit (on the inviting school’s dime) up to 5 schools. Which seems a little crazy as PSU practice starts next week, but the NCAA has “ruled” that transfer recruitment of PSU players is allowed until PSU fall semester begins (August 27th). In addition, the NCAA has lifted scholarship requirements for any school accepting the transfer of a Penn State player. What that means is even if a team is at their scholarship limit (85), they can add the PSU scholarship player to their roster without any penalty. The rules regarding rosters are a little different for teams that are currently on probation/have scholarship reductions, but that is the only limitation. The NCAA has also announced that they will accelerate the paperwork process for any transferring player, thus allowing the immediate transfer of any players wishing to do so.
Basically, the NCAA has created a “free agency” situation with regard to the availability of PSU players. They have, little by little, removed any barriers that might have been placed in front of those students wishing to transfer and those programs wishing to talk to them about it.
The list (to date) of the athletes choosing to transfer is as follows:
Tim Buckley - NC State
Kevin Haplea - FSU
Silas Redd - USC 
Rob Bolden - LSU
Kahiri Fortt - Cal
Jamil Pollard (2012 recruit) - Rutgers
Anthony Fera - Texas
In the Mill:
Justin Brown - Oklahoma 
Akeel Lynch - Iowa
In his presentation of the sanctions levied against PSU football, the president of the NCAA stated that Penn State needs to change its “win at all costs” culture - and focus on academics. 
But I ask you - exactly how does Penn State focus MORE on academics?
Penn State athletes have posted standard setting graduation rates over the years. The PSU football team’s graduation rate is annually among the highest recorded for not only public (related) institutions, but all FBS programs. 

The value of an education or major or class choices is, again, a more subjective matter and I realize that graduation rates alone do not prove that one program emphasizes academics more than others (really?); however, they are a good indicator as to why the players themselves might choose a school and what they are doing while they attend. 
Through my experiences I have come to the realization that very little of what is reported or written down is “fact.” Nearly everything is subject to some element of opinion or influence. Even numbers can be skewed depending on the researchers’ objective - and the same can be said for graduation rates. 
There are 2 different graduation rates that are published for college athletes: the Federal Graduation Rate (FGR); and, the Graduation Success Rate (GSR). Both rates calculate graduation percentages, every school year, for each school, based on the number of student-athletes that complete their degree within 6 years, but they differ in how they account for athlete mobility. 
The Department of Education calculates the FGR based on the players who matriculated to the subject school 6 years prior to the “graduation year.” So, basically, if 10 freshmen join the Boise State field hockey team, and 6 years later, 8 of them have earned degrees (from BSU), then the field hockey team has an FGR of 80%. The NCAA Critics complain that the FGR does not take into account students that transfer from (to another accredited program/school) or into the school, but still graduate within the 6 years.
The NCAA developed the GSR to factor in the transfers of students to and from the schools. Without getting too much into the “numerator and denominator” bit, basically, the GSR calculates graduation rates by removing athletes that transfer away from a school (while in good academic standing) and adds in athletes that transfer into a school and go on to graduate.
It’s a tricky game and my purpose here isn’t go get into a discussion about math - but, before we get to the “transfer numbers” let me say 2 things: (1) over-signing; and, (2) JUCO. 
Okay. So, now turning specifically to football, let’s look at GSR and FGR (2010-2011) for the schools that have accepted transferring PSU students and see if the NCAA has afforded them a chance to escape the “football culture” that Penn State permeates. I’ve added PSU’s numbers as a typographical biting of the thumb comparison. And I’ve added Pitt and U Washington just for fun.
*data via NCAA.org

Kudos to Rugters and Iowa on their high GSR, but the stark contrast between the majority of the “accepting” schools and PSU is laughable, if not cryable. There is no credence to any argument that Penn State failed to focus on academics. Perhaps these PSU transfers can assist their new schools’ GSR in years to come.
Let me be very clear, I do not wish ill will on any of the players/students that are transferring, they have been through an unimaginable upheaval this past year (8 months) and the fact that any of the kids are staying is quite remarkable.
But what I do wish ill will on is the facade of academic sensibility spewed about by Dr. Mark Emmert in an attempt to legitimize the NCAA overstepping its bounds.
And as I’ve said elsewhere - these relaxed (and ever changing) transfer rules are not to help the players, or even to twist the knife a little more in PSU’s back, it’s to reduce the cause of action that the players might have against the NCAA; it’s all business.