October marks the start of Big Ten play for Penn State and it gets underway this weekend at Indiana. Penn State has historically dominated the Hoosiers, owning an 11-0 head-to-head record, but this Indiana team looks to be capable of giving Penn Stet a good run this weekend. This week the folks at Joe Pa's Doghouse cooked up some questions for the Blue White Roundtable, which I am happy to get back to. Here we go.
It isn't much of a surprise that Penn State is undefeated against Indiana thus far. Since joining the Big Ten in 1993, what opponent has produced the most surprising results against Penn State (good or bad)?
The answer here is simple. Iowa, who owns a head-to-head record in Big Ten play of 9-7 in 16 games, has to be the answer. Michigan had their run of wins to build a 10-6 mark and Ohio State is 13-7 in Big Ten play, but at least those numbers sort of make sense with the two traditionally dominating in Big Ten play, but I just cannot explain the ineptitude against the Hawkeyes. Sure, Iowa has their good years but no matter what it seems Iowa has just had Penn State's number.
Penn State has won two straight in the series of course, but the pain extended over a stretch of nine games (Penn State 1-8) between 2000 and 2010 included some of the more painful losses in Penn State's Big Ten era, if not program history. You know the games. It started with a double overtime loss in 2000 and Paterno's running down an official in 2002 following another overtime setback, opens a wound with 6-4 and pours salt n it with 2008's road loss in which the defense all of a sudden disappeared.
I can't explain it. Can you?
Paul Pasqualoni's dismissal was anything but surprising. He's a dinosaur with Penn State ties. Two things that don't bode well for getting a job in football. If you could see one former Penn State staffer get a job, who would it be and where?
I still think Tom Bradley is due for a job offer somewhere. The longtime defensive coordinator and one-time interim head coach is currently doing TV analyst work for CBS Sports Network's coverage of Army football and after two years off the sidelines I can't imagine it will be too long before someone reaches out with a job opportunity somewhere. The coach many of us thought would be a head coach somewhere someday may have to stick to the coordinator game if and when he does return to the sidelines. I don't know whether or not he wants to get back in to coaching, but I would think he probably still has the itch and can help out somewhere. Heck, maybe UConn ends up being the landing spot.
This year, we've seen the ACC and Pac-12 take big steps in challenging the SEC for top conference bragging rights. What is holding the Big Ten back? What can be done to improve the national perception of Big Ten football?
The only way to change the perception is by coming up big in the match-ups against other conferences. The Big Ten has been missing out on taking advantage of these games, whether in the postseason against the SEC, Pac 12 and Big 12 or in some of the early season games we have seen recently (Nebraska vs. UCLA for example). Simply put, the Big Ten needs to win their match-ups against non-conference opponents. The past few years have not been kind to the Big Ten in this respect, between bowl season and games like Michigan vs. Alabama and Nebraska vs. UCLA etc.
I think these things tend to be cyclical so I do feel the Big Ten can strike back, but it could take some time. Penn State can play a role in that once they get back to full scholarships and seeing what Bill O'Brien can do with it. Michigan and Nebraska playing better will help as well.
Obligatory Indiana Question: Hoosiers is an undeniable all-time classic sports movie. What is your favorite sports movie?
I have been known to stop on ABC Family every time I flip through the channels and catch a glimpse of Remember the Titans, but my favorite sports movie may actually be Miracle. Or Basektball.
I have Penn State winning this weekend, but the defense is going to have to make some big stops in the second half.
Penn State 33, Indiana 26