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Posts Tagged ‘Penn State’

Pick 10, F.B.S. Notebook: Week 3 (Sept. 15)

Do you remember the last time Notre Dame took a trip to East Lansing? You might not remember the game’s first 60 minutes and change, but that’s fine: things didn’t get wild until overtime, when Michigan State answered a Notre Dame field goal with the most audacious coaching decision of the 2010 season. Now you remember, right? Dan Conroy is lined up for the potentially game-tying 46-yard field goal; Aaron Bates, the punter and team captain, was the holder; tight end Charlie Gantt was lined up one spot inside from the edge to Conroy’s right. The call: “Little Giants.” The snap went to Bates, as expected – and then came the unexpected. You’ll see the rest of the play later tonight, when the Irish and Spartans meet in one of the day’s marquee games. Let’s run down the entire weekend’s action.

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    P.S.R. 1-124: Week 3 Re-Ranking

    With the weekend in the books, here’s a look at how the country ranks — using the original rankings as the starting point, with the season’s results as rationale for any movement. The top 25 teams land a one-sentence breakdown. The rest? Not so much. Part of the perks of being one of the best. Think your team is too low? Feel another team deserves more credit, less credit? Let’s hear it below. It’s a delicate ranking process, particularly with only two weeks in the books, so you may see one team ranked below a team it just beat — see Louisiana-Monroe and Arkansas, for example. Don’t be alarmed. Everything will become clearer by the end of the month.

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      Pick 10, F.B.S. Notebook: Week 2 (Sept. 8)

      Let’s not beat around the bush: this isn’t a great week. I mean, it’s great – better than what we’re used to, better than any non-football weekend – but it’s not great, all things considered. There’s no Michigan and Alabama to end the night; there’s no prime-time game on ABC at all, in fact. Instead, we’ll close our night with Nebraska and U.C.L.A., Georgia and Missouri and, later on, Arizona and Oklahoma State. Very, very intriguing games. But with perhaps the exception of Georgia, depending on how highly you think of the Bulldogs, these games don’t carry any title implications. That doesn’t make the games any less interesting – or change the fact that every game, especially while teams find their footing, carries some level of importance. Let’s run down the entire weekend’s action.

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        Five New N.C.A.A. Rules Are Felt Early

        Each of the five new rules instituted over the summer by the N.C.A.A. were visible over the season’s opening weekend, though no one change more so than the alterations to the existing kickoff rule – kickoffs now take place from the 35-yard line, and instead of being spotted at the 20, touchbacks are now moved up to the 25. When it was first announced, the rule suggested one of two alternatives: teams could either kick it deep, going for the touchback, or kick it high and short, hoping that their coverage squads could get downfield in time to prevent a return from reaching the 25-yard line. So what route did most teams take through the first week of games?

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          Good Times End for “Sweet Caroline” at P.S.U.

          Penn State will have a new head coach for Saturday’s opener against Ohio, as well as names on the backs of players’ jerseys, with both changes bucking decades of program tradition. Fans familiar with the university’s game day operations might also notice that unlike in the past, Penn State’s players and coaches will arrive at Beaver Stadium at 9:15 a.m., in street clothes, and not in full uniform, 90 minutes before kickoff.

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            It’s Open Season on Penn State’s Roster

            It’s open season on Penn State’s roster. We’ve seen this before, in the early days of the sanctions assessed on U.S.C. three years ago and, if you can think back far enough, in the weeks following the penalties levied onto S.M.U. in 1987. There’s something different about this raid, however. One reason may be the fact that everything will be done in the open: Jim Delany, the Big Ten and the N.C.A.A. have essentially turned Penn State’s players into recruits, turning back the clock to those days when, as high school recruits, these same players were available to any school that would have their services.

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              Penalties Rock P.S.U.’s Past, Present, Future

              When given no other option, when an error-prone program shows little sign of remorse, waylays an ongoing investigation or hides pertinent facts and figures, the N.C.A.A. assesses penalties focused on the program’s past, present and future. In this vein, Penn State’s penalties fall right in line with those dropped on U.S.C., a recent transgressor against which the N.C.A.A. levied a series of potentially crippling punishments.

              The N.C.A.A. impacts the past by vacating wins; it impacts the present by allowing any current player to transfer without penalty, a wonderful rule, and by levying a postseason ban; it impacts the future by instituting scholarship reductions. Penn State is no different – except in the magnitude of the penalties, which, to cite the buzz word surrounding the ruling over the last 24 hours, were absolutely unprecedented.

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                No. 51: Penn State

                According to Robert Caro, rationalizing the unscrupulous methods that governed Lyndon Johnson’s political life required an unorthodox mindset: accepting a “morality that was amorality.” In short, Caro’s theory was that Johnson validated his lies and deceit – a “morality in which nothing matters but victory” – by claiming that the ends justified the means; to Johnson, there was nothing wrong with saying one thing and doing another, as long as the end result validated the methods used to reach one’s goal. For Johnson, the deceitful tactics he used to rob Coke Stevenson of a Senate seat in 1948, the clear theft of votes in South Texas and ensuing cover-up, prolonged a political career that would later lead to the White House. This is the duality of public life: There’s the public persona and the private person, what one says and what one does, and rarely do the two occupy the same zip code. The ends justified the means – to Johnson, and his supporters, and those that believed in the legend, and those that, to the day they died, believed that Lyndon Johnson was the man he made himself out to be. The truth? Johnson was a braggart, a liar, a cheat and a coward. He was a human. The only thing that made him special was his willingness to make the amoral moral, if only for his own benefit.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.