Posts Tagged ‘Joe Paterno’

New Year’s Day = College Bowl Games!

If you’re a football fanatic like us, New Year’s Day is synonymous with college football and the tradition of bowl games.  There are some lesser known games today, like the TicketCity Bowl featuring Northwestern and Texas Tech.  There are also some “ho-hum” games, like the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl with Connecticut and Oklahoma that we just cannot seem to get too excited about.  But thankfully there are also some great bowl games, which we highlight below. 

Outback Bowl – Featuring Penn State and Florida, 1 PM  EST, ABC

Two college football coaching giants meet in Tampa today – Joe Paterno, the legendary icon who, at 84, dismisses all ideas about retirement and Urban Meyer, who has announced (for the second time) that he is retiring from the college gridiron. 

While both teams are 7-5 and have had mediocre seasons, it should still be a great game to watch.  Here’s our take on the contest..

If the Gators play inspired football, determined to win one last game for their outgoing coach, they can probably pull off a victory.  What will the Gators’ attitudes be like?  It is hard to say, but even Urban Meyer himself recognizes that it is a key component of the game.  This week, he said, “I think the older players will play like there’s no tomorrow; they’re the invested group. I hope the younger guys carry the torch.”  He went on to say that this season is the first time in 10 years, “we have not followed the plan to win.”  All season long the Gators have played uninspired football, so it is a real concern for Meyer and a possible make or break factor in the game.

Another major element in today’s game is the injuries that are plaguing Florida.  Florida will be missing 5 starters, most notably corner Janoris Jenkins, which should give Nittany Lions QB Matt McGloin an offensive edge.   Even without all the injuries, Florida’s pass defense was poor.  The Lions will have to exploit this weakness if they want to pull off a victory.

Neither team has any superstars, which means the game may come down to the intangibles.  Motivation is certainly one intangible, but weather is another.  With game time temperatures expected to be in the upper 70s, Penn State may struggle keeping up with Florida’s speed. 

Prediction:  Florida 24, PSU 17

Capital One Bowl – Featuring Alabama and Michigan State, 1 PM EST, ESPN

Alabama began the season with high hopes.  A national championship seemed a real possibility as the Crimson Tide started the season with a 5-0 record and a #1 ranking.  In the last 6 games against Division I opponents the Tide went 3-3 and they found themselves out of national championship contention and relegated to a bowl game they are not very excited to be part of.

On the other side of the field, Michigan State ended the season as Big Ten champs (sharing the title with Wisconsin and Ohio State).   The 11-1 Spartans feel slighted since they were not invited to one of the elite BCS Bowl games and would love to walk away with a victory against the defending national champions.

Will Michigan State’s desire to prove they belonged in a more prestigious bowl game be enough of a motivator to win?  Or will Alabama look at this game as a way of salvaging a disappointing 9-3 season?  I think Alabama’s offense will be the deciding factor in this matchup.  QB Greg McElroy has thrown for nearly 2800 yards and just 5 INTs this season.  The Spartans will have to respect the run and crowd the line of scrimmage to contain last year’s Heisman winner Mark Ingram and running back Trent Richardson.  That will give McElroy the opportunity to showcase his arm.  Look for wide out Julio Jones, the Tide’s leading receiver with over yards this season, to be a critical factor in the game.

Prediction:  Alabama 30, Michigan State 21

Gator Bowl – Featuring Mississippi State and Michigan, 1:30 PM EST, ESPN2

The bowl season just wouldn’t be complete without one of our very favorite college players – Michigan QB Denard Robinson.  One last chance to see this dynamic, dual-threat player with the untied cleats is simply irresistible!

The game plan for Mississippi State is basic and simple – STOP DENARD ROBINSON.  The 8-4 Bulldogs have a strong run defense, but have struggled against the pass.  Expect Robinson to show that he is not merely a running, scrambling QB (over 1600 yards and 14 TDs this season), but an efficient passer (over 2300 yards and 16 TDs) as well.

Robinson enters the game rested and healthy.  Since he is the workhorse on the team and carries much of the offensive load, he takes a lot of hits and suffered various injuries this season.  A healthy Robinson will likely put up points for the 7-5 Wolverines, but it may not be enough to win the game.  The Michigan defense has struggled all season and were ranked 102nd in points allowed and 108th in yards allowed.  Statistically, it was the worst defense in the history of Wolverine football. 

The Bulldogs offense is solid and will be a challenge for the Wolverines.  MSU lost by only a field goal to #1 ranked Auburn and their other losses were to ranked opponents.  For Michigan to win, the Wolverine defense will need to finally step up this season.  

An interesting aspect of today’s game is how it may impact the future of Wolverine Head Coach Rich Rodriquez.  He has been on the hot seat all year.  In his 3 seasons at Michigan, he has a 15-21 overall record and is an embarrassing 6-18 in the Big Ten and 1-10 against ranked teams.  In addition, under Rodriquez the team had a number of NCAA violations related to practices and offseason workouts.  The outcome of today’s game may very well determine whether Rodriguez will return as the Michigan Head Coach.

Prediction:  Mississippi State 31, Michigan 27

Rose Bowl – Featuring Wisconsin and TCU, 5 PM EST, ESPN

Unbeaten TCU enters the Rose Bowl, referred to as “The Granddaddy of them All”, looking for validation.  As a Mountain West team playing in one of the elite BCS games, and after losing in the Fiesta Bowl last year to Boise State, TCU wants to prove it can play with the “Big Boys”.  Indeed, the 11-1 Badgers have a roster full of big boys.  Their offensive line is gargantuan with every starter over 300 pounds and at least 6’ 4”.  This massive line has allowed 3 different Badger running backs to rush for at least 860 yards each this season. 

Will this offensive line prove to be too enormous for TCU’s defense?  While the Horned Frog defense IS smaller, they are also renowned for their speed.  Combine that with solid tackling and leverage and TCU may just be able to handle the big boys.  After all, TCU has the top ranked defense in the nation!

While the Badgers’ ability to put up big points (averaging 43.3 points per game) is notorious, TCU’s offense is powerful as well and ranks 4th in scoring and 9th overall.  In fact, TCU’s offense also averages 43.3 points per game!  Both teams have scored an identical number of points – 520.  The Badger’s defense will be challenged with this dynamic, balanced offense led by senior QB Andy Dalton, who can both pass AND run.

With the Badgers ranked #4 and the Horned Frogs #3, today’s Rose Bowl looks to be the marquee matchup of the day.  These eerily, evenly matched powerhouse offenses will undoubtedly provide an exciting contest.  But games like this are won in the trenches, which should give the Badgers the edge and their 4th consecutive Rose Bowl victory.

Prediction:  Wisconsin 38, TCU 27

Sit back and enjoy today’s games.  With less than two weeks of college football remaining, soak up every moment you can! 

Happy New Year! 

From Your Gridironglamourgirl Team!

Advertisements

A November to Remember

It’s been a November to remember on the gridiron.   As we look back on this month, here are five of our favorite unforgettable football moments…

#5 – Peculiar PAT attempt

The picture of 307 pound defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions lining up for an extra point attempt against the Jets is an image burned in our minds. Suh is on track to earn rookie of the year for his dominating defensive performance this year, but his PAT attempt has made him a YouTube star!  

#4 – Joe Paterno Earns his 400th Victory!

On November 6th, Penn State Head Coach Joe Paterno earned his 400th victory.  The 83 year old football legend joined the exclusive 400 club after a comeback against Northwestern, where the Lions were down 21-0 at one point.  The Nittany Lions have a young squad (almost 5 dozen freshman and sophomores and just 8 senior starters), but were able to rally to give JoePa this milestone victory!

#3 – Mental Meltdowns and On the Field Brawls

In addition to the great gridiron this month, there was lots of unscripted action that was not drawn up in the playbook.  Vince Young’s temper tantrum, where he threw his shoulder pads into the bleachers and stormed from the locker room, is just one more memorable moment in this action-packed month. 

Another unforgettable sight was the on the field fight between Houston receiver Andre Johnson and Tennessee Titan cornerback Cortland Finnegan.  At a time when the NFL seems to be trying to squash intensity and emotion, these two players showed that football is a game of adrenaline and passion that is sometimes impossible to contain.

#2 – Michael Vick

Returning to the NFL after serving 21 months in federal prison, Michael Vick’s 2010 season has been phenomenal.  His Monday Night Football performance in a game against the Redskins – 333 yards passing, 80 yards rushing and six touchdowns (4 passing, 2 rushing) – was one of most exciting moments of November.  While this past weekend may not have been his best performance (he threw his first interception of the season and committed a few fumbles), his QB rating is 106 and he remains one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in the NFL. 

#1 – Twitty Tweeter

Buffalo Bills receiver Steve Johnson dropped a potential game winning touchdown pass in overtime on Sunday.  After the Bills went on to lose to the Steelers 19-16, a distraught Johnson tweeted the following.. 

There are plenty of players who raise their heads up to praise God after a great play, but Johnson putting the blame on a higher power is certainly unique.  Twitter has given football fans a new form of amusement. Throughout the NFL players send off their latest thoughts, often without fully considering the consequences!  Johnson’s twitty tweet is simply priceless!  It’s moments like these that make football the best sport on earth and definitely made this a November to remember.

Breaking News!! JoePa Wins #400!!!

Penn State’s Joe Paterno made history today with his 400th victory!  In a wild game against the Northwestern Wildcats, where PSU trailed 21-0 at one point, the Nittany Lions were determined to deliver a win for their beloved JoePa! 

Trailing 21-0, the Lions put together a 9-play, 91 yard scoring drive just before halftime to make it a 21-7 game.  The Lions came out in the second half looking like a different team!  Building on the momentum before half time, walk on QB Matt McGloin orchestrated a 14-play, 84 yard drive to make the score 21-14. 

The Lions defense stepped up and prevented Northwestern from scoring in the second half.   The Beaver Stadium crowd could sense the come back and helped rally the Lions. A touchdown pass to receiver Derek Moye tied the game at 21-21.  A Silas Redd touchdown run gave the Lions a 28-21 lead late in the 3rd quarter.  Evan Royster ran for a touchdown in the 4th quarter, making the final score 35-21.

After the game, in typical JoePa form, Paterno attempted to downplay the milestone victory.  Instead, he said he prefers to look ahead, not back.  So, for about 30 seconds, the legendary coach allowed himself to absorb the frenzy in Happy Valley, as fans stayed to celebrate Paterno and his incredible 400th win.  Meanwhile, Joe was already concentrating on his next game with the Ohio State Buckeyes!  Congratulations, JoePa!!!

400 Fever at Beaver Stadium!

On Saturday Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, affectionately known as JoePa by any true PSU fan, has the chance to get his 400th victory.  There are only 2 other coaches who have achieved such a milestone.  John Gagliardi of Division III St. John in Minnesota has 476 wins and the late Eddie Robinson of Grambling had 408.  In typical JoePa style, the 83 year old legend dismisses the hype and media build up that surrounds this weekend’s game in Happy Valley.  Instead he puts the focus on his players and the game plan against Northwestern.

JoePa’s commitment to his players and to Penn State is well-known.  He has remained true to his old fashioned values in a world that often has a “me first” mentality.  PSU players do not have their names on their jerseys, as Joe stresses the importance of team, not individual, play.  Perhaps that is why he easily shrugs off questions about joining the exclusive 400 club. For Joe, it has always been about the team, not his personal achievements.

As his 400th victory looms near, we want to highlight some of Paterno’s remarkable accomplishments.  He has been the Lions head coach for 45 seasons and before that was a PSU assistant coach for 16 years. How is that for dedication? Since he became head coach in 1966, there have been 860 coaching changes among head coaches in major college football!

 JoePa is older than every major college football conference except the Big Ten, which was established in 1896.  He is also older than the Heisman Trophy!  At 83, Paterno still impatiently paces the sidelines and runs on and off the field with his young players.  Watch him during a game and it is evident that this Brooklyn native’s passion for the game still burns bright.

That drive and commitment has brought Penn State great success.  Here are just a few of Paterno’s accomplishments…

  • Under JoePa, PSU won two national championships (1982 and 1986)
  • He is the only coach to have won each of the four major college football bowls – Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta
  • Paterno holds the record for the most bowl wins (24)  and most bowl appearances (36)
  • PSU has had 5 undefeated seasons and 3 Big Ten championships under Paterno’s leadership
  • The American Football Coaches Association awarded Paterno Coach of the Year 5 times

 

These football achievements are remarkable, but what makes JoePa a football icon are the feats he has performed for others outside of football.  Paterno and his wife have personally donated over 4 million dollars to the university.  They are actively involved in the Special Olympics and each June hold the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games on campus.  The Paterno’s have recently announced a 1 million dollar contribution to the area’s local hospital, the Mount Nittany Medical Center.

Joe’s influence on his players extends far beyond Beaver Stadium and the locker room.  Paterno consistently stresses the importance of academics to his student-athletes. The NCAA’s latest Graduation Success Rate report lists PSU football player’s graduation rates at 84%, well above the national average of 67%.  He initiated a campaign that raised nearly 14 million dollars to expand PSU’s aging Pattee Library, yet another sign of his commitment to academic excellence.  Paterno has coached 45 Academic All-American players, with PSU ranked third in Academic All-Americans among major college programs and first in the Big Ten.

Paterno’s refusal to compromise his principles has made PSU one of college football’s elite programs.  He expects his players to be respectful and emphasizes integrity and other life lessons that help players long after they hang up their cleats.  After four decades as head coach, he has coached 26 father-son combinations, a real tribute to the trust former players place in him to help guide their sons. 

One of his Joe’s notable quotes, “success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won’t taste good” truly epitomizes his philosophy.  Unlike many other top football programs, Penn State has never been on probation and has never violated recruiting regulations.

Joe Paterno’s contributions to Penn State are so vast they are simply immeasurable.  What can be measured, though, are his wins.  So as Pennsylvania experiences 400 mania, we pay tribute to this legendary coach in the rolled up khaki pants, black sneakers and thick, black-rimmed glasses.  Although he will attempt to disregard the attention that 400 wins will bring, there is no hiding the legacy that Paterno has built in Happy Valley.

%d bloggers like this: