1. Penn State finished off this season with 10 wins, but lost the only two games that were really in question. What will your lasting memory of the 2009 season be?
You know I had to pause for a second and think about this question, and I don't know if I have an answer. I'd like to be the optimist and come up with something positive from the season but I keep coming back to the two loses at home. In fact there were no good games at all this year. When Penn State won they won big and when they lost they did it FAILtasticly. The Lions closest victory was 11 points and their closest defeat was the same 11 points. Funny how symmetric this season was huh? For me, this season's fingerprint won't be complete until the bowl game: win it and 2009 will always be considered a "successful" season in my mind, lose and it will be a season of FAILure.
Could this be Penn State's season?
2. Though they miss out on a BCS Bowl, the Nittany Lions will face off with a highly ranked SEC opponent in a New Year's Day bowl. What are your initial thoughts about the matchup with LSU in the Capital One Bowl?
I don't know about the rest of the Nittany Nation, but I was one of the ones hoping Penn State didn't end up with a BCS bowl. Plain and simple, Penn State didn't deserve a BCS bowl bid. Sure you can argue that some of the other BCS teams didn't either, and that may be a valid point but one thing's for sure: PSU didn't deserve one. The Lions best victory was over Temple and that's definitely not worthy of a BCS bowl.
Having said all that, I really like the matchup in the Cap One Bowl. You have the SEC-Big Ten intrigue*, two teams that haven't met since I was 1 year old, and two really, really good defenses. By all measures it should be a good game, and isn't that what we want in a bowl game? I mean this game has absolutely zero meaning in the grand scheme of things (as do all bowls not named BCS Championship), so why not go for the best (read: closest) matchup possible, and I think we have that in PSU-LSU.
3. When it's all said and done, where will Daryll Clark rank among Penn State QBs? What will you remember about Clark thinking back on the 2008 and 2009 seasons a few years from now?
Daryll Clark will always be an overachiever in my mind. He started out the prep school route because his grades weren't up to snuff, yet Jay took a chance on him. Realizing he had a future and that he would have to work to get there, Daryll did EVERYTHING the coaches asked him and it paid off. Most schools shied away from him because although he was very athletic he was also very raw at QB. With two years in the system he was not only able to catch but surpass highly touted Uberrecruit Pat Devlin and take the starting role in 2008. He then turned in back to back All-Big Ten performances the first of which none of us saw coming. Sure he struggled in some of the big games and I guess that will always be the knock on the kid, but I will always remember him as a solid, athletic QB who wore his heart on his sleeve and worked his butt off to make a good career at Penn State.
4. Which seniors are you most sad to see go? If you could bring one of them back in 2010, who would it be?
I'm really sad to see Sean Lee go because he really didn't have the chance to have the senior season we had all hoped he would. Coming off a devastating knee injury we had hoped he'd come back and be the dominating force we all knew and loved but injuries plagued him throughout the first part of the season and by the time he was back to full brutal force the season was over. It really wasn't the send off he deserved and it probably hurt his draft status. I'd love to see him get another shot at it in 2010, he deserves better.
5. What are your feelings on the Fiesta Bowl matching up the two undefeated mid-majors, instead of setting up Iowa-Boise State and Georgia Tech-TCU matchups? Does it support a playoff argument?
Pfffffttt… the BCS supports a playoff argument. It's funny, the BCS thought they'd throw a bone to the mid-majors and make everyone happy with this fairy-tale matchup but all they've really done is create a game that very few people care about. If you match the two mid-majors against the bigger conference bullies you have an intriguing matchup of the have's and have-not's. Not one, but two games of David vs. Goliath. But no instead we get this watered down "congrats for going undefeated now kindly go to the back of the bus" contest. Don't get me wrong, a lot of people will watch but when the game is over and one is left undefeated do we really know if the winner could stack up against Alabama or Texas? No, we don't. Thanks again BCS!
1. Do either Bowman or Royster (or both!) skip their senior seasons and enter the NFL Draft?
Bowman is gone, Royster would be dumb but I think it's 50-50 at this point.
2. Who wins the MNC Game, Alabama or Texas?
Alabama – Texas doesn't have it.
3. Will you be heading down to Orlando to watch the Capital One Bowl live? Who wins?
No, and Penn State by at least 11 (hey it's either that or lose by at least 11).
4. Predict the draft stock of the following Nittany Lion seniors:
Assuming they all get drafted which is highly unlikely:
a) [Bowman/Royster] - 2
b) Jared Odrick - 1
c) Sean Lee - 4
d) Andrew Quarless - 7
e) Dennis Landolt - 3
f) Daryll Clark - 5
g) Mickey Shuler - 8
h) A.J. Wallace - 6
* by intrigue I mean: If Penn State losses it's "eeSSSSS EEEEEEE SEEEEEEE RUUULLEESS!" and if they win it will be "what, there was a game? Oh it's just LSU. Doesn't count"