After totals over ten million dollars in 2012 and $12.3 million last year, THON raised an unbelievable $13,343,517.33 for the Four Diamonds Fund that benefits families battling pediatric cancer.
But who gave 33 cents?
I’m just kidding, but it reminds me of the joke about the father that finds a box full of money under his teenage daughter’s bed. There’s a wad of bills–totaling over a hundred dollars–and a single quarter. Since she didn’t have a job, and suspecting she had stolen it, he confronted her. She broke down in tears and finally admitted that she took the money from guys in exchange for sex. The father hadn’t anticipated this turn of events, and was even more upset. Finally, looking back and forth between her and the money, he demanded, “Who gave you a quarter?!”
Still sobbing uncontrollably, she answered, “they all did, daddy!”
THANKS TO ALL WHO DONATED, and to all the students that devoted their time and energy to THON!
Here are videos of the football team and the award winning swimming team . . .
Penn State announced their new president, to succeed Rodney Erickson.
Welcome back, Eric Barron!
|Here he comes to save the day!|
From USA Today . . .
In Barron, Penn State is getting an administrator who values athletic success on campus. “I really want successful athletic programs because it’s the front door. It’s absolutely the front door to your university,” he told USA TODAY last summer.
Barron also recently faced a college football scandal in Florida. Last November, a year-old sexual assault complaint by a Florida State student against Heisman-winning quarterback Jameis Winston became public and was passed along by Tallahassee police to the Florida state attorney’s office for a full investigation.
At the time, Barron issued a statement urging “a respect for the principle of due process.” At a press conference Monday, he repeated that call. “It’s incredibly important … that we let the police do their jobs and the District Attorney do their jobs, and if it gets to that point, to have the courts do their job.”
Whoa! Wait just a minute! Isn’t the head football coach supposed to handle all that??? (I wish there was a sarcasm font!) Thank God we have a leader that understands that criminal activity is the responsibility of someone other than a football coach! Amen!
When asked how the university should acknowledge the role of then-head football coach Joe Paterno in the scandal, Barron said, “Whatever we do, we have to make sure that we do it with a high sense of dignity and honor, and sometimes that takes time.”
Barron, whose expertise is in climate, environmental change and oceanography, worked at Penn State for 20 years, including four as dean of its College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. He left Penn State in 2006 to join the University of Texas-Austin. He has been president of Florida State since 2010.
Trustees unanimously approved Barron’s appointment, whose experience with Penn State also was welcomed by a group of alumni, students and community members who have been critical of the board in recent years.
And in other news, Penn State fans–especially the student section–were named in the Top 5 among Big Ten schools, followed by Ohio State, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Iowa.
There’s simply no better student section in the country than the one at Beaver Stadium. Penn State students love their Nittany Lions, and they arrive on game days ready to cheer loud, sing songs and wear the right colors. The S-Zone forms a giant blue S on a white background that looks incredible on TV and in person. Students camp out for tickets in the old “Paternoville” (now “Nittanyville”), and the school sold more than 21,000 student season tickets last season.
WE ARE . . . PENN STATE!
With National Letter of Intent Day come and gone, and Penn State coming out with the 24th ranked class according to Rivals.com, let’s step back for a moment to reflect on a few things.
First, it is amazing that Penn State managed to hold on to most of their recruits, and even add to that class–WE ARE . . . BETTER, through the turmoil of a new coaching staff and the residual sanctions. Kudos to Coach Franklin and his staff.
And while Nittany Nation rejoices in having a Top 25 recruiting class, at least according to one of multiple sites that rate such things, what exactly does it mean???
A few years ago, I looked at how recruiting classes matched up against actual rankings and came up with a figure I called a RANK INDEX or RECRUITING INDEX. Basically, I take the Rivals recruiting rank for the past 4 years (2010-2013) for each team and compare that average recruiting rank to where the team ended up at the end of that four year period (this ranking by the USA Today.) The Rank Index is the Average Recruiting Rank divided by the Rank the team actually managed on the field. If a given team was ranked #1 in recruiting for four straight years and ended up ranked #1, their Index would be 1. Numbers above one mean the team outperformed their recruiting rank, that is to say, the numerator would be a larger number such as the 75th recruiting class, compared to a #3 (denominator) ranking in the polls. The Index would be 25 or 75 divided by 3. Conversely, indices less than one indicate a high denominator (lower national rank in the polls) compared to a low numerator (higher or better recruiting rank.)
As an example, here are Penn State’s numbers:
2010- Rivals recruiting ranked 12th
2011- Rivals ranked 35th
2012- Rivals ranked 51st.
2013- Rivals ranked 43rd.
Average Rivals ranking from 2010-2013 = 35.25
USA Today Rank for 2013-2014 season: 49th.
Rank Index = 0.719 which ranks 89th among all teams.
Here is the data in table form:
|Rivals AVG RANK (2010-2013)||USA Today Rank||Rank Index|
|San Jose State||106.00||72||1.472|
|San Diego State||77.75||58||1.341|
|Texas A and M||17.50||18||0.972|
|New Mexico State||101.50||117||0.868|
Michigan State outperformed teams in this four year span, ending up ranked #2, while having recruiting classes that averaged 35th nationally. Conversely, Florida consistently had good recruiting classes, but with a USA Today ranking of 81, they were the worst performing team in terms of talent. Naturally, teams that do not “recruit well” will be higher on the list, such as Northern Illinois, Duke and Ball State because their success this season is beyond what would be expected from the recruiting classes. Meanwhile, powerhouses like USC, THEM, and Alabama litter the bottom part of the list because their top ranked classes did not bring USA Today ranks that are equivalent. Alabama averaged the second best class over the last four years to produce a team ranked 8th. Note the number of SEC teams at the bottom of the list. Also note that Vanderbilt was #31, getting a decent USA Today ranking out of modest recruiting classes.
A similar table can be constructed based on STAR ratings–this is the STAR index. Rivals assigns star ratings to the recruits and then reports an “average” star rating. For Penn State, that was 3.12. For Alabama, that average star rating was 3.79. So what I did was took the star rating ranks in order, such as this abbreviated list . . .
#1 USC (4.04)
#2 Alabama (3.79)
#3 Texas (3.73)
#4 Florida (3.69)
#5 Florida State (3.60)
#6 Auburn (3.58)
#6 LSU (3.58)
#6 Notre Dame (3.58)
#6 Ohio State (3.58)
#10 Georgia (3.49)
#28 Penn State (3.12)
#41 Vanderbilt (2.95)
So for the STAR INDEX, here is how teams fared the past four years compared to their USA Today Ranking on the field:
|Rivals AVG STARS (2010-2013)||USA Today Rank||Star Index|
|San Jose State||2.19||72||1.042|
|San Diego State||2.46||58||0.931|
|Texas A and M||3.28||18||0.667|
|New Mexico State||2.29||117||0.359|
Once again, MSU led the field with a strong USA Today rank (low denominator) and a higher denominator (poor recruiting class compared to other powerhouses like USC and Ohio State.) Vanderbilt out-performed Penn State in both recruiting classes and star indices, with Penn State on sanctions 2 of those years in the period and Franklin coaching Vandy for three of those four years.
Of course, all the variables are based on subjective rankings and do not take into account coaching changes, injuries, or BCS calculations. But it still gives us an interesting way to look at how recruiting class rank translates into wins and losses.
With the State of the Union Address coming up Tuesday, I thought I’d create my own [Penn] State of the University Address. Or perhaps State of the Program would be more concise.
Many people have asked me what I thought of Bill O’Brien leaving, of James Franklin being anointed the next head coach, and of Larry Johnson leaving. My loyal readers probably already know the answers to those questions, but I will address them herein since the recruiting front is shifting too fast and furious to keep up with right now and there is no other football issues to talk about.
I embraced Bill O’Brien. The aftermath of Paterno’s wrongful termination and then his subsequent death to cancer left a power void-and a morality void–at Penn State the likes that had not been seen certainly since before Rip Engle was head coach, if ever. That void is still evident today. Fans and loyalists took up the torch for Tom Bradley, but the reality was such that the situation was never in Tom’s favor. In likewise fashion, Larry Johnson, Sr. may have been the right person too, but alas found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m sorry to see Larry go, but in the words of someone else . . .next man up!
I agreed that the administration was right and justified to look elsewhere outside the program for a replacement for Joe Paterno. Had Paterno wanted Tom Bradley to succeed him, then that succession plan would have been in place. Looking back on it, as much as we all wanted Paterno to come up with a succession plan, his lack of planning was probably a good thing given the circumstances under which his tenure ended.
But that left a big question . . . WHO?
We [the fans] all fretted the decision. And I will be the first to admit that when word came down that Bill O’Brien was to be our next leader, my first reaction was, Bill Who?
Honestly. I was a Steeler fan and never knew that O’Brien was on the New England staff. Wouldn’t have recognized him if he walked right up to me and introduced himself.
But to his credit, he stepped up at a critical time in Penn State’s illustrious football history–a time that was far from illustrious and darker than the losing seasons of 2003-4. He, along with a core of dedicated players led by Matt McGloin and Michael Mauti, kept Penn State’s football program alive when it could have gone flat line.
Sanctions came. Players left. Opposing coaches swept down on University Park like vultures on a dying man in the desert. Remember this scene when I give you my thoughts on the current recruiting situation.
Was Bill O’Brien the best man for the job? Who the hell knows? He did his job and he did it well. He recruited players like Christian Hackenberg and Adam Brenneman. He made Matt McGloin into a starting NFL quarterback. He made Penn State football relevant again, even despite not being able to win championships or play in bowl games. His teams were exciting to watch, even if they didn’t always win.
I still embraced him. I still don’t agree with his decision to leave. I will never know exactly what he said to recruits, and how he broke the news to those he had made promises to, but I will always be a little bit bitter about it. I am, however, coming to terms with it and realizing that it may be the best thing to happen to Penn State since all this began in 2011.
So why am I so bitter? Why do I wish to see him fail at Houston? After thinking about this over and over, and trying to answer it to people who asked, I think I have finally figured it out.
Because Joe Paterno would never have done that to his student athletes.
Read it again, and you know it is true. I have read Paterno’s books about his turmoil when offered an NFL job, ironically enough, with the New England Patriots.
The first chapter of Paterno: By the Book talks about his back and forth ordeal and how he almost left Penn State. Joe is quoted:
Those rumors, which certainly hadn’t started with me, were the last things I wanted my players to fret about. Some of my most promising kids, favorites as both players and people–John Cappelletti (on his way to a Heisman Trophy the following year), Mark Markovich, Eddie O’Neil, others on that good team–had another year to play at Penn State. I couldn’t send them into a major bowl game on national television with feelings of uncertainty about their coach and his future–about their future. For some kids, that’s like worrying about their father walking out on the family. . . .
And look what I was about to give up for money: Suddenly I saw like a circle around me, the life I was selling out for it. I saw the students, the granite statue of the Nittany Lion, the Blue Band, the eager, sweaty tryouts for the squad. I saw squads of the past, gone, and graduated, grown men who write to me, who call on the phone, who come back and tell me what it was for them.
In the end, I guess I’m just disappointed in Bill O’Brien.
And I’m disappointed in myself. For believing that there will ever be another one like Joe. For expecting someone like O’Brien to live up to that standard.
Joe would have wished O’Brien well and cheered for him. But I’m not Joe Paterno either, and I don’t see myself ever hoping to see O’Brien succeed. Neither of us can live up to the ideals of Joe Paterno. I guess I have that much in common with O’Brien.
Regardless of what anyone thinks about O’Brien leaving, the reality is that he has left.
And once again, Penn State fans are left with a void, and the hope that we can fill this position with the next best thing to Joe Paterno. It’s a lofty goal, and one which cannot and will not be met. But in James Franklin, I think we have found a promising replacement to O’Brien, if not a pretty darn good replacement for Joe.
It remains to be seen if Penn State will continue to have high graduation rates. I think we will. It remains to be seen if Franklin truly has found his dream job and will stay for the foreseeable future. I think he will. And it remains to be seen if Franklin’s teams will be as successful on the field as Paterno’s. I think they will.
Some have lamented about how Vanderbilt must feel. Some are concerned that former commits to Vanderbilt have switched to Penn State. And I have seen it typed on a message board that Paterno would not have done that.
Well, we don’t really know, since Joe never coached anywhere else. But these complainers are treating these recruits like property to be bought and traded. Is it really wrong for a kid who committed to Vanderbilt because he believed in Coach Franklin to not want to follow Coach Franklin? And if Coach Franklin wasn’t happy where he was, was it wrong for him to leave?
No one came to Penn State’s aid when recruits left and players transferred. No one shot the vultures. While I do feel bad for Vanderbilt, it ultimately is not Penn State’s fault that James Franklin left.
Paterno stayed at Penn State ultimately because he loved Penn State, not because it was wrong for him to leave. Bill O’Brien left Penn State because he didn’t love Penn State.
I have been very impressed with Coach Franklin so far and agree with everything he has said. I like the reasons he wants to come here. I like his choice of staff. I will embrace this new era at Penn State until he gives me cause to do otherwise.
Because I love Penn State.
For the Glory . . .