Monday, July 28, 2008

Sporting News: Penn State No. 29

Yes there was the whole Outside the Lines thing this weekend but I was not able to see it, I'll catch a replay and talk about it later. For now SI.com is counting down its top 50 teams in college football and PSU comes in at 29. Without a doubt, I am severely disappointed in SI's coverage, they usually do a much better job. I'm not arguing Penn State should be something other than 29, no I'm saying this article is terrible. What does SI consider the biggest concerns for Penn State?

The No. 1 story of the offseason has been Joe Paterno's future. How much longer will JoePa coach? The legend enters his 43rd season with just one year remaining on his contract.

Penn State athletic director Tim Curley says there is no timetable for a decision. Paterno concurs. This could be interesting -- and messy.

The No. 2 offseason story: suspensions. There were six of them following a spate of off-field incidents. The program is being scrutinized nationally, including being featured on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on Saturday. According to the program, 46 Penn State players were charged with crimes, including 163 separate counts, from 2002-08.

Paterno's future has absolutely nothing to do with this season. Sure it can be argued that the uncertainty past 2008 may affect recruiting, and I think there's merit to that argument, but when discussing 2008 and trying to determine where the Nittany Lions rank Paterno's contract isn't a factor: he's Penn State's coach, period.

As for the suspensions, outside the program they are a huge deal because they are an easy target for lazy reporters to write about especially in the slow period before summer practice starts. Inside the program the players have resolved the legal issues and Paterno has publicly stated that things are moving forward.

I'm waiting for grades," Paterno said. "They're still in summer school and they're working hard. Most of those guys, I think, will be fine. They've kind of taken their medicine. There's one or two I'm not so sure yet."

So the team has moved on, but it's the media that keeps making an issue of it. The players are focusing on getting better and I'm fairly certain the only time any of this becomes a distraction is when they are asked about it, other than that I highly doubt they even think about it. Even if it is a mild distraction once practice starts this stuff will be forgotten and have no effect on this season.

Once you get past the first three paragraphs and SI actually starts talking about what Penn State can do on the field it gets worse.

Daryll Clark and Pat Devlin will continue to fight it out during fall camp. Each brings different skills to the table for an offense that will feature multiple sets. Clark is a mobile, athletic option cut from the same mold as former Nittany Lion quarterback Michael Robinson. Devlin, a Pennsylvania prep legend, is more of a classic, dropback passer and has a better arm than Clark.

True the two may both get playing time but Devlin is a mobile quarterback, and not a "classic, dropback passer" as SI contends. Devlin played in a spread attack in high school and is much more mobile than Anthony Morelli ever was. The difference is Clark is a little quicker then Devlin but Pat has had the gaudy passing numbers to back up the "better arm" argument. Make no mistake though, both Devlin and Clark can run the spread and run an option.

Both could end up playing, with Devlin being the primary starter because of his ability to stretch defenses through the air and Clark rotated in to take advantage of his considerable running skills.

What evidence do they have that Devlin, the sophomore, would be the primary starter over Clark the junior? Anyone that knows Paterno has to realize that he rewards players who toe the line and Clark has done just that, and there have been reports out of spring practice that Clark was primarily taking snaps with the first team. I would be shocked if Devlin ends up the primary starter come fall.

Penn State also has one of the Big Ten's top tight ends in Andrew Quarless, but he was suspended during the spring. That allowed guys like Andrew Szczerba and Mickey Shuler to impress.

Really? One of the best tight ends in the Big Ten? Says who? Quarless has largely been a disappointment and it started last season when he got in trouble the first time. Mickey Shuler impressed last year and Szczerba showed a lot in the Spring game. When Quarless did get back on the field last season he was awful, he wasn't even the best Tight End on Penn State's team let alone the Big Ten, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

While we can sit here and argue SI's ranking of Penn State (an act I think is pretty futile although fun nonetheless) there is no doubt that there assessment of the actually team is very weak.

Editors Note: Need further proof that SI isn’t really taking this seriously look no further than the team a spot ahead of Penn State: #28 Notre Dame. A team that went 3-9, gave up an NCAA-record 58 sacks, and gave up 357 yards and 29 points a game in 2007 is ranked ahead of Penn State. Oh by the way, they return one less starter than Penn State.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Any college ranking that has PSU outside the top 25 fails to recognize the likes of Maurice Evans, 12.5 sacks last year, and isn't there something called Lineback U? A.Q Shipley anchoring down a greatly improved O-line with Royster finding the holes. If it is not particularly about the past, nor last season, then lets not forget Stephon Green's blazing speed, B-W game was no fluke! I was there when I saw him smoke the 1st team D

Anonymous said...

OOPs, how could I forget the #1 trio of WRs in the Big-Ten, Norwood, Butler and D Will. This season already reminds me of 2005, just need someone to get these guys the ball. Someone cover the slot against THEM please..no blown assignments

Chris said...

I've always thought pre-season rankings are pointless. Too many times, I've seen teams ranked low by the "experts" only to see them have great seasons.

Galen said...

The thing that worries me most about pre-season rankings (pointless as they may be) is that if the people doing the rankings that count aren't putting any thought into them then it's a disservice to college football and implicitly not fair.

Nick said...

Excuse me Galen, Notre Dame is returning the most important college football player in history, JIMMY CLAUSEN!!!!!!! Did you forget already? I can't believe they're not ranked in the top 5 for that alone, also Jimmy should be preseason Heisman front runner.

Chris, preseason rankings are pointless and should have no bearing on the season whatsoever, only the problem is they do.

Galen said...

Yes, I forgot about Jimmy he had such a productive year of throwing 5 yard out patterns, made Morelli jealous.

M1EK said...

The correct terminology is "darkhorse Heisman favorite", if I remember my RSFC correctly.

Paterno Lives! said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOy4NFR-ziE