I got into this biz because, basically, the sports writers of this day and age are generally lazy. Most grab the low-hanging fruit just to make a deadline or try the Dave Jones approach of "say anything negative you can about your local team just so people listen so they can hate you" no matter how retarded it may be. No I don't want to be a writer (like some other guys I know), I'm well aware of the fact that the English language escapes me ('i' before 'e' except after 'c' and
sometimes 'y' – what the fuck?!?!) but that's not why I'm here. No I'm here to talk about the teams (and things) I love with people of similar (and sometimes different) interests. It's like hanging around with a bunch of guys in a bar talking about sports only our bar is the internet which allows for diverse opinions. But I digress.
Usually when I see a writer (of the paid variety) put out something stupid I just chuckle and move on but occasionally I read something that is so perverse that I have to point it out, after all these people are getting paid for this garbage. Well yesterday I came across one such article in the Clarion News by Ryan S. Pugh (appropriately named). Let's take a look shall we?
With the college football season set to kickoff in less than a month, it is almost time for the Penn State faithful to start their griping about how their team gets no respect in the national polls.
Last season, the Nittany Lions cruised to a 9-0 record and, after they won their first five games in a row, it started. The fan base called radio talk shows, wrote letters and did everything short of flying the American flag upside down to tell the world Penn State was getting no respect.
You need only read a paragraph or two and it's easy to figure out that Pugh is not a Penn State fan by his tone, which is fine if you remain neutral which this guy certainly does not. It doesn't help his cause that he's patently wrong from the start, Penn State fans generally do say that our Lions get no respect but that might have something to do with our four undefeated untied season with no national championships but generally speaking most Penn State fans have not used the "respect card" in this decade because we have no reason to. When you have 4 out of 5 losing seasons to start a period off, you don't have much leeway when it comes to respect.
Back to his ridiculous statement that after five games "it started." Uh, after five games Penn State had only beat an Oregon State team that, at the time, didn't look that good and a flailing Illinois, and they were ranked 6th. I know of no Penn State fans that thought they were getting disrespected and if you were one of them the blue kool-aid must have tasted good that week. Side note: what the Hell does flying an American flag upside down have anything to do with?
As for week 9, Penn State was ranked 3rd behind undefeated Texas and undefeated Alabama, two teams that started waaaayyyy ahead of PSU in the polls. There was simply no reason for Penn State fans to argue that they should leap frog either of those two teams and they didn't.
Neither the Associated Press nor the USA Today coaches' poll had vaulted the Nittany Lions to No. 1 after their 9-0 start and Penn State fans felt that their team was being underrated.
Yeah, like I said, no one was saying that. Now some fans (myself included) were really, really worried that a one-loss SEC team (like Florida) would leap frog Penn State if they ran the table, so yeah I guess you could technically call that the "respect card" but not from his perspective.
Every time the disrespect card was tossed about, Nittany Lion supporters brought up the case of 1969. That's the year in which the Penn State nation believes hey were jobbed by everyone including U.S. President Richard M. Nixon.
Noooooo, actually when Penn State fans bring up the respect card we talk about 1994, most of us weren't around for the 68-69 season. It's widely accepted that PSU got jobbed in 94, some of the Big Ten press and coaches voted against Penn State and the media in general wanted to give Osborne a national title. Even fans of other schools accept this. So you wouldn't go there right?
Penn State fans also grouse about the way the team was shut out of the national title in 1994. Sorry, Nittany Lions fans. No. 1 Nebraska took down No. 3 Miami in the Orange Bowl – Miami 's home field at the time – while Penn State toppled No. 19 Oregon in the Rose Bowl. The only way Penn State was capturing that title was if Nebraska lost.
Oh, fuck off.
That last sentence it totally true, not because it was fair or correct but because the voters wanted it that way. Penn State could have beat Oregon by 135 points (they did cover the spread by the way), the AP and coaches wanted Osborne to win plain and simple and he was going to no matter what Penn State did. This has been argued ad nauseam so I'll just say this: anyone that saw that Penn State team, one of the greatest offenses of all time, and thinks they should not have got a share of the title is either a Huskers fan a moron or both.
Back to 1969.
In 1969, the Nittany Lions played only two teams with winning records during the regular season. Texas , on the other hand, only played two teams with winning records as well but one of those was the aforementioned No. 2 Arkansas team and the game was in Fayetteville .
Never mind the gross grammar mistake (you like chocolate ice cream but I, on the other hand, like chocolate ice cream) but it's tough to make a point when your stats are completely wrong. Here's the two 1969 schedules with the opponent's record in parenthesis:
Penn State 1969 Schedule
Navy (1 – 9)
Colorado (8 – 3)
Kansas St. (5 – 5)
West Virginia (10 – 1)
Syracuse (5 – 5)
Ohio (5 – 4 – 1)
Boston College (5 – 4)
Maryland (3 – 7)
Pittsburgh (4 – 6)
North Carolina St. (3 – 6 – 1)
Missouri (9 – 2)
Texas 1969 Schedule
California (5 – 5)
Texas Tech (5 – 5)
Navy (1 – 9)
Oklahoma (6 – 4)
Rice (3 – 7)
Southern Methodist (3 – 7)
Baylor (0 – 10)
Texas Christian (4 – 6)
Texas A&M (3 – 7)
Arkansas (9 – 2)
Notre Dame (8 – 2 – 1)
Uh, when did having more wins than losses not constitute a "winning record?" By my count, Penn State played four teams with winning records (not including the bowl) and Texas played two. Moreover, Penn State only played four teams with losing records (that's teams that have less wins than losses, I feel I need to specify that) while Texas played six! Penn State's opponents were a combined (49-50), while Texas' were (39-62), a full 10 wins less. Let's not forget the fact that this was on the tail end of BACK to BACK undefeated, uncrowned seasons, do you think that will ever happen again?
While this argument was somewhat salient, he really goes off into tin foil hat land later on.
There is one thing Nittany Lions' fans have to realize: eastern football was not that good in the late 1960's and the early 1970's.
And then this:
When college football in Pennsylvania was in its heyday in the mid-1970's to the mid-1980's..
So there was a tectonic shift in college football in 1975!?!?! Eastern football went from shit to "heyday" in the blink of an eye? What happened? Did a bunch of great high school players move to the east?
Then it just gets really, really weird.
The reason for the shift is mostly due to economics. When college football in Pennsylvania was in its heyday in the mid-1970's to the mid-1980's, there were still jobs in this area to keep people around. Once the jobs left, the people started moving south and west, leaving the area's high schools with fewer and fewer blue-chip football recruits.
What?! It's widely accepted that the recruiting hotbeds are California and Florida, what great mass migration of jobs occurred in those two states? Sure there was the 90's dot-com bubble in Silicon Valley but that bubble burst long ago and I highly doubt there were many engineers and venture capitalists moving from PA to California. As for Florida, if you don't have a job that has something to do with old people or hurricanes then there's nothing there for you.
The final piece of this twisted, psychedelic puzzle is this amazing comment.
Actually, in talking about college football teams getting shafted, Alabama has had a more legitimate gripe than Penn State over the years.
Oh, you mean the team that has 11 national championships with only 6 undefeated, untied seasons? The same team that claims a national title in 1973 because the United Press International poll awarded them one before they got beat by Notre Dame in the Sugar bowl? Yeah they have a lot to gripe about.
I could go on but, well read the thing in its entirety, it's really a rich tapestry of suck.