5/21/2012

We'll Tumblr 4 ya.

No, we're not abandoning ship for the trendy life over on Tumblr. But, as you may have already guessed, we have been experimenting with some meme fun over there.

Check it out - I, personally, find it to be hilarious - if a bit cliché.  http://2thelionfootball.tumblr.com/




5/20/2012

5/14/2012

Breaking: Bill O'Brien Gets to Hold the SuePa Bowl Trophy!

Our great and good friend Karen, winner of the first annual 2theLion Blue/White Drink contest, and recipient of the SuePa Bowl Trophy, raised the bar of fandom when she decided to go to the New Jersey stop on the PSU Coaching Caravan tour.

She didn't go empty handed; oh no. She took along her newly (re)minted SuePa Bowl - and not just as an attractive accessory. She had our new football coach, Bill O'Brien, sign the bowl!


So, while it may not have happened during his pro-career, O'Brien can now say his name is on the SuePa Bowl Trophy.


You Know It's The Off Season When...; We're recycling posts!! Playoff Edition!

So, it's the off-season - as you know - and there has been a deluge of playoff talk now that the Powers that Be (read: Jim Delany) have decided that what the BCS and Football Bowl Subdivision needs is a four team playoff.

This could be the trophy.

There's been so much discussion on who should or shouldn't be included and where and when - I thought I'd revisit the plan I posted, back on June 28, 2007, as part of a round-table discussion.

Santa, all we really want for Christmas is a viable playoff system.

Let me know what you think...

I’d use a “formula” based on an average of rankings, recalculated (actuary powers activate!) strength of schedule, cutest quarterback, etc. Regardless of Conference alliance - the top 8 (or 16) teams would be invited. (then again, I may change that - with all those SEC teams playing each other in southern venues - the speed on the field might be too great for digital and HD tv signals to keep up)

All non-invited teams would be free to play in the non-participating bowl games. Bowl games would be scheduled as usual.
In the beginning - there would be 8 teams. 4 round one games 2 round two games and 1 championship game. The games would be played at the following bowl sites - 
Permanent venues (can you guess?):
Fiesta Bowl
Orange Bowl
Rose Bowl
Sugar Bowl
Rotating sites:
Citrus Bowl (yes, we’re going old school)
Cotton Bowl
Peach Bowl
Holiday Bowl
Gator Bowl
Liberty Bowl
Any bowl game that is scheduled for a round one game has the option to “pass” (in a timely manner) on hosting the game that year to host their “regular” bowl game instead. In such event an alternative site will be designated.
Once the masses have accepted their fate - we’ll expand it to a 16 team (not 88) field - with the first round being played at the higher seed’s home field (brrr it’s cold out here).

5/10/2012

You Know It's the Offseason When...; We Have 3 New Trustees.

In an off-season like no other in the history of Penn State - we have found, and will find, ourselves contemplating ideas and participating in events we never imagined possible or necessary. Sure, many things will stay the same, but a lot will not.

One that was historical was the 2012 campaign for the Alumni voted members of the Penn State Board of Trustees.

PSU currently has a 32 member board, with 9 of the members being voted in by Alumni. On a 3 year cycle, 3 such spots are voted for each year.

For 2012, one incumbent board member, Anne Riley, sought re-election, and 85 fellow alumni joined her on the ballot.

Yes, 85.

In 2011, 6 people ran for the 3 alumni spots - but then, quite a bit has happened since May, 2011.

Regardless of one's position on anything that has happened at Penn State in the past months (or 20 years), the sheer number of individuals who were able to get on the ballot (each candidate required 50 nomination votes) and that over 35,000 alumni ultimately voted shows that most people were looking for a change.

Each voter (who had to be an alum, registered with alumni association or requested a ballot) was able to vote for (up to) three individuals.

Despite the pretty much ridiculous number of candidates, the final voting was not overly diluted. The top 2 candidates each received over 10,000 votes and the third received over 4,000.

So, Penn State's new alumni trustees are:

Adam Taliaferro (05) receiving 15,629 votes;
Anthony Lubrano (82) receiving 10,096 votes; and,
Ryan McCombie (70) receiving 4,806 votes.

The board re-elected business and industry trustees Kenneth Frazier and Edward Hintz.

Delegates of "the agricultural societies" elected incumbent, Carl Shaffer, and new trustee, Donald Cotner.

I'm not going to get into the politics of all this and investigate procedures or backgrounds like the fact that Cotner's only political contribution in 2010 was to Tom Corbett, but I do challenge the new trustees, mainly the new alumni trustees, to do what they can to clear the atmosphere and culture of secrecy and disjunction.

3 new Trustees (sorry Don) are not going to change anything that has happened in the last 12 years 6 months, but they can strive to update the structure and procedures of the BOT - what they can do right away is:

  • ask questions and expect answers
  • participate
  • research proposals/individuals
  • follow up
So congratulations to the new Trustees and good luck to you all.


$$$$$UPDATE/EDIT$$$$$$

Need to disclose that, upon my further not digging any deeper into any of this, it has come to my attention that Mr. Cotner is not the only new Trustee who wrote a check to our esteemed governor's 2010 campaign. Mr. Anthony Lubrano also supported Corbett, at least monetarily. I will also mention that neither Mr. Cotner nor Mr. Lubrano come anywhere close to the amounts contributed by other (now) big name PSU donors (and their affiliations) - but it's just interesting. Right?

5/09/2012

You know it's the off season when...; I even notice what's in the WSJ

So my co-worker sent me the link to Buzz Bissinger's "sports" column in the Wall Street Journal where he asserts that College Football Should Be Banned.


I'd seen the article - but didn't really think it was worth a response - my intention had been to reply with a one line response - here's what it morphed into...

yeah, i saw that. whatever. 
it's a rather vague opinion piece just trying to get attention, imo. I mean, there are a lot of other things you could whine about - both with respect to college athletics - or just football - and the university system. 

Butch Davis hasn't been unc's coach for what 2-3 years now? and to lump PSU in just for the sake of "scandal" is just lazy writing (because this isn't journalism) - because, while some will argue that the mess at PSU is because of football, everything that he is saying is wrong about college football isn't happening at PSU (yet). PSU athletics does promote academics - the students, lettermen and campus buildings reflect that, and to suggest that athletics as a whole serve no academic purpose is just inane. PSU football does make money and it bank rolls the entire athletic department, and creates jobs and revenue for so many in the area (and beyond!). With respect to the NCAA, football practice/workouts/playing time is STRICTLY regulated (ask rich rodriguez) - if you want to cry about athlete time commitment - do an article on college baseball/softball. Tuition increases have nothing to do with the athletic departments - $ raised/earned there can't, usually, be part of the general fund - plus, are you really going to boo-hoo about Oregon's tuition, or is this just an angle to mention Nike and the ACADEMIC center? Oregon's in-state tuition & fees cost is... under $4K a semester (ranging $2,425 for 12 credits up to $3,937 for 21 credits), even adding the 9% increase, I think most of them will be able to cope. *By way of comparison, Penn State students at the University Park campus pay double what Oregon students do - undergraduate tuition & fees costs range from $7,900 to $10,100 per semester, depending on major and year; and they face a 20% cut in state funding, following a 30% cut last year. 

Also, if you want to attack a college sport for being nothing more than a cash-cow farm system - write about basketball.

Anyway - i was going to send a 1 line response - but...

*added to original email 

5/02/2012

The First Ever Big Drink Recipe Contest; We Have a Winner!

If you follow along on Facebook or Twitter, then you know that the Billini was crowned winner of our Big Drink Recipe Contest; if you don't, well then, forget what you just read.

We had a great time going through the entries for the Big Drink Contest - it was particularly fun seeing how our fellow fans had interpreted PSU's new coach, Bill O'Brien through drink.

Some entries were off the wall - AmandaKT - "blue hawaiian punch to taste?"- and some were a bit complicated (read: expensive) - but our 3 contenders fit every condition - expandable to large quantities, fun, inspired, and good.

First, the Billini. Submitted by Dance Mom, Tailgater and Candidate Extraordinaire, Karen Weaver, the Billini was a take on the popular champagne drink. Taking a bit of artistic license with Karen's original recipe, we used, prosecco, peach vodka, orange juice/drink, peach juice, and peach soda - it was peachy.


Next we had the blue Bill O'Margaritatini - brought to us by tailgating legend Carol Pilgrim, it was a traditional lime margarita with blue curacao and lemon-lime soda. I admit, I did throw in a splash of orange juice.


Finally, the Cape Bob. A spin on the traditional vodka-cranberry drink, we made the Cape Bob with vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice, and blue curacao. The resulting color was rather remarkable.





As has been said, each drink received a lot of votes - the tally was tied, or at least very close, throughout the day. However, taking into consideration the fan vote and our own super subjective opinions, the clear winner was the Billini.


The SuePa Bowl has been sent (reportedly twice) and Karen can now boast that she has done what Bill O'Brien couldn't....

SHE WON THE SUEPA BOWL!!!!!!


5/01/2012

They've Been Everywhere, Man; PSU 2012 Coaching Caravan - Philadelphia

So, the reported brain child of PSU's new head coach, Bill O'Brien, the Penn State Coaching Caravan Tour kicked off yesterday with a lunch in Center City Philadelphia. The Caravan will be traveling for 9 days, making 18 stops to meet and greet with Alums and Fans.

Coach O'Brien will be on the whole tour, and will be, at different stops, joined by a variety of PSU athletic coaches. With O'Brien at the Philadelphia event were Field Hockey Head Coach Char Morett and Men's basketball coach, Pat Chambers.


With Morett's 25 year tenure eclipsing her fellow Caravaners combined experience ten-fold, she spoke first (of course this is why) - She mostly spoke about "Obie" and Chambers, complementing them and talking them up. She made one brief reference to Coach Paterno, but he was definitely not the subject of the day.

Once she sat down, the other speakers reminded us of how decorated she and her teams have been over the years, winning 5 conference championships and that she is a 2 time olympian herself.

Chambers was entertaining. He spoke about the team and the future. He played to the crowd, blostering up Penn State (as did all the speakers).

O'Brien spoke last. His message was mostly how honored he is to be coach and that while he's going to keep many of the traditions engrained in the Penn State Football system, he will be introducing many different "looks" on and off the field. He was pretty gracious through the speech (and questions) - as a head coach you need to be a politician too - and he did a decent job.

One of the new "traditions" he's going to introduce is having the team sing the Alma Mater after the games with the Blue Band - not sure of the logistics as the Blue Band is regularly on the field after games - but we'll see. Also, I would have suggested they sing "The Nittany Lion" (or at least the chorus) - but hey, that's just me.

The questions from the crowd after the speeches were mostly directed to O'Brien (some to Chambers) - they were rather tame - without much angst or reproach. It was a rah-rah event - so it makes sense.

Chambers and Morett did let us know that both Mens Basketball and Field Hockey will have games in Philadelphia this fall - so that's something to look out for.

After the lunch, I introduced myself to Kevin McGuire of the Examiner (and so many other sports news outlets) and Adam Taliafarro, who had both been in attendance.

Am I glad I went? Yes. Were any real questions answered? No. So I left the Doubletree Hotel in a reasonably good mood, but still hungry.

But, as I was waiting to make my trek back to the wilds of Northwest Philadelphia, the Coaching Caravan passed by for one last wave.



Annual Surprise Birthday Post for Dear Old Dad



A little indulgence on this May Day...
You were born in Central Islip, NY. Your parents had recently moved from Worcester so that (as he would later be known as) Gramps could run a nursery on the North Shore of Long Island. You grew up in St. James, and went to high school in Smithtown.
College, the Army, and different jobs saw you travel to different places, but family obligations found you back on the island, where you went to work for Fairchild Camera.
It was that job that eventually led you, and two of your life-long friends, to State College, Pennsylvania, a sleepy little college town in the hills - that’s where the boy who grew up on a farm on Long Island, by the water, fell in love with the mountains.
You always said that it was the mountains that kept you in Central PA, but I think that the pretty waitress may have had something to do with it as well.
And then there were the Nittany Lions.
You had always loved sports; although a better commentator, manager or spectator, you valued competition and just the pure mechanics of sports. Your high school yearbook evidences your involvement on nearly every team - and your diverse admiration for sports continued throughout your life.
But, eventually, sitting in the stands at the new and often renovated Beaver Stadium, it was football, and Penn State, that was your true passion. You and the guys from work (one of whom was the "Grock" in the "Annual Grock/Martin Surprise Birthday Party" celebrations) were treated to some pretty special teams during the last years of Engle’s tenure, and when that upstart Paterno took over the team.
You had grown up rooting for the Brooklyn Dodgers and later followed the Mets; that history, coupled with the national polls and media cemented your tradition of always rooting for the underdog and your adage that Penn State is always the underdog. 
You were involved with the different clubs and organizations in town and through the University that supported the team and the athletes. Your demeanor was (almost) always casual, but I know that you cherished your interactions with and souvenirs from the teams. 
Growing up with you gave me an appreciation, yes for Penn State specifically, but for everything that a university and education could offer. The breadth of your interests and knowledge were (and still are) inspirational to me - you could talk to anyone, about anything, anywhere. Always reading, listening, and learning - and also sharing - you taught me to never stop being a student. Oh how you would have loved Wikipedia. I know there were times when I thought it was boring to go to the orchestra or lame to go to another art exhibit - but thanks for making me go.
One place you never had to force me to go (except for those 2 seasons when I sold sodas in the stands) was Beaver Stadium. These past months have shown me how much I love that silly little team, and although I have no idea what the future will bring, my memories will guide and strengthen my resolve. We’re determined to see Penn State be what it can and should be - both on (and in) the field and off.
So Happy Birthday Daddy. Every day without you is a little less, but every day because of you is so much more.