The Circus Comes to Penn State Behrend 

Three-quarters of the Obligatory cast (Kevin was at a wedding) made their way to Penn State Behrend to regale the Lake Erie Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association with their wit and wisdom (and an additional 48 minutes of content) as part of the chapter’s annual steak fry. Kudos to Behrend Campus Catering for a terrific spread. Special thanks go out to campus Chancellor Dr. Ralph Ford for joining us and to partners and friends who contributed to a very fun, successful night: Southern Tier Brewing; Collegiate Athletic Travel; Rock Lion Goods; Peek ‘n Peak Resort. The cast will be at the Station Square Hard Rock Cafe with the Greater Pittsburgh chapter the night before the Pitt game (Sept. 7; 6-9pm). For information and tickets visit:

Want to bring the Obligatory circus to your Alumni Association event, county fair, or insurance adjusters’ convention? Email us: chris or brandon -at-

NOTE: An audio issue with the originally-posted version of this episode has been corrected.

BRANDON: There are five programs in the country right now that can get anybody they want… the Southern schools, and then Ohio State and Penn State, and basically everybody else is fighting for the other kids.

4:08 – Check out the Southern Tier satellite brewery in Pittsburgh & Brewers of Pennsylvania‘s PA Beer Trail

5:54 – Mike the Mailman’s favorite zip code

6:20 – Luke Luther, president of the Lake Erie Chapter

7:00 – “There are an inordinate amount of Pitt grads still working in the telephone book industry.”

14:15 – Lasting memories from Penn State’s triple-overtime Orange Bowl triumph over FSU

16:25 – Some love for Collegiate Athletic Travel (Booking now for Pitt 9/8 and Michigan 10/13)

18:40 – Brandon’s two position groups that will determine PSU’s fate in 2018

21:09 – 10 wins as the dividing line between “reload” and “rebuild”

23:05 – Penn State one of five programs in the country that can get the recruits they want

23:56 – James Franklin & Joe Paterno both recruiting innovators of their era

26:19 – Joe Moorhead: Departed, but still beloved by Lions fans

28:21 – Mailman’s afternoon at Penn State Media Day (more at

31:20 – Penn State’s “new normal” of assistant coach attrition

35:38 – Will player or coaching turnover impact Penn State more in 2018?

37:51 – From football to futbol, former Penn State men’s soccer superstar Nick Scott

43:05 – Why James Franklin & Guy Gadowsky owe Nick a debt of gratitude

43:52 – Translating the PSU experience into business success with Scott Enterprises

HOSTED BY: Brandon Noble, Mike Herr, Chris Buchignani

GUESTS: Luke Luther, Nick Scott

Mood Music:

Chris and Mailman are Ready for Some Football 

With another season of Penn State football (and The Obligatory PSU Pregame Show) right around the corner, the podcast is back (and better than nothing). For this first episode of the show’s Fall 2018 semester, Chris Buchignani and Mike the Mailman kick back on the porch at South Burrowes to talk about Mike’s experience covering Penn State Media Day for, including Trace McSorley’s extensive knowledge of his cookie preferences, plus with Kevin sitting this episode out, Chris got to sneak in some actual football, discussing Manny Bowen’s reinstatement and Michael Menet’s surprising move to starting center. It’s something a little different with only 50% of the cast on-hand, but we hope you enjoy listening to this initial installment of our first full season as much as Mike and Chris did recording it.

CHRIS: Did he really know your favorite cookie is oatmeal raisin, or was that a lucky guess?

MIKE: You know… they say he’s a winner.

2:11 – Excited to join Lake Erie Alumni Chapter at the Behrend satellite branch Commonwealth campus

5:46 – Don’t bother bribing Mike the Mailman, Homecoming float judge

6:50 – Mike, Brandon Noble to join Ki-jana Carter at State College Spikes All-Star festivities

8:45 – Mike’s observations from his trip to Penn State Media Day

9:40 – The legend of Trace McSorley

13:42 – Penn State dealing with expectations while facing talent turnover

15:37 – Smart answers to Mailman’s silly questions for PSU players

18:42 – The unique allure of State College

24:54 – A fan comes to Media Day: Mike’s impressions

27:38 – The return of linebacker Manny Bowen

35:31 – McGovern moves to guard, Menet to center

44:40 – We love the fans of the show and podcast

46:30 – Happy Valley, “the Good Ship Lollipop”

48:36 – The Obligatory PSU Pregame Show returns for App State weekend (check local listings)

HOSTED BY: Mike HerrChris Buchignani

Mood Music:

Senior Week Porch Drinking 

Probably still too much football for Kevin, but not really. With Blue-White Weekend and the NFL Draft behind us and a long stretch of Summer (finally) to go before camp, the guys kick back on the front porch of Blue White Media‘s South Burrowes office and enjoy the slowest, warmest, and best time of year in the best place on Earth. Brandon and Goon swap stories from their days as Nittany Lions on the life of a Penn State football player during the Summer semester, while Kevin and Mike the Mailman (who may or may not have handled a package sent to campus by Ted “The Unabomber” Kacynski) explain how the other half lived. From Mike the Mailman’s bar tours to Marco Rivera’s horrible prank on Brandon, the wide-ranging, alcohol-fueled ramblings are vintage Obligatory. Enjoy!

BRANDON: How does somebody get Mike the Mailman on their bar tour?

MIKE: It’s very easy. Just call me.

4:03 – Summertime is the best time in State College

5:47 – Intersession vs. Intercourse

8:35 – Getting Mike the Mailman on your bar tour

9:59 – How Marco Rivera ambushed Brandon’s 21st birthday hangover

14:32 – What Summer was like for the players (Kyle Brady hung out at the post office)

21:21 – Strength and conditioning, then and now

30:04 – What Summer was like for everyone else

32:53 – Did Mike the Mailman ever handle a Unabomber package?

37:29 – The Wild West of Summer room and board for players

42:14 – Summer Tour Guide: The best gig in town

45:57 – The bittersweet farewell of Penn State graduation

47:14 – Why Come Back to Happy Valley?

HOSTED BY: Brandon Noble, Mike Herr, Kevin HorneKeith “Goon” Conlin

PRODUCER: Chris Buchignani

Mood Music:

From Barrel 21: NFL Outlook for Saquon Barkley & Fellow Draft-Eligible Lions

From Saquon Barkley’s SI cover to the Nittany Lions’ dominance of the Combine, Penn State is roaring into the 2018 NFL Draft. The guys took the show on the road to Barrel 21 Distillery in State College (prior to a performance from Trout Steak Revival) and welcomed special guests Keith “Good” Conlin, starting tackle for the famed ’94 Lions, and Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting to break it all down. Goon explains how much has changed, especially within the Penn State program, from the mid-90’s to present in terms of preparation for the NFL Draft, reflecting Coach Franklin’s emphasis on player development and branding. Eric runs down the profile of every Penn State prospect, including a surprising prediction for the first of the PSU defensive back to go off the board.

“Too much football. Not enough nonsense.” -Kevin Horne

2:45 – Goon talks about his recent work with Blessings in a Backpack, a Penn Stater-founded/supported charity

5:04 – A theory on why State struggled on the field & sending talent to the NFL in the early 2000s

10:13 – Bo Schembechler’s bowl record is an abomination

10:50 – Keith looks back on the process of preparing for the Draft

15:00 – On Joe’s never-ending battles with guys over playing weight

18:15 – How Penn State is handling Draft prep differently today

22:37 – Regional recruiting battles & the most exciting stretch of Interstate 80

26:37 – James Franklin is recruiting & developing quality people

29:28 – Looking back on Blue-White Weekend

38:09 – Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting

43:00 – Saquon Barkley

49:20 – Mike Gesicki

53:10 – Secondary (Christian Campbell, Marcus Allen, Grant Haley, Troy Apke)

55:53 – DaeSean Hamilton

58:11 – Saeed Blacknall

1:00:49 – Jason Cabinda

1:04:26 – Optimum’s rankings for top 5 QBs in the Draft

1:05:16 – Steelers & Eagles draft scenarios

1:08:24 – Your Call Football

1:11:50 – Kevin recaps the Lettermen’s last night at the Rathskeller & the State College bar scene

1:20:00 – Rate us 5 Stars, tweet us proof & get a personalized “thank you” video from Mike the Mailman

HOSTED BY: Brandon Noble, Mike Herr, Kevin Horne, Chris Buchignani

GUESTS: Keith “Goon” Conlin, Eric Galko (Optimum Scouting)

An #LBU great on his youth all star game, Paterno to Franklin, and more

As Mike the Mailman might remind us, neither rain nor sleet nor snow will hold back one of Happy Valley’s best traditions: Blue-White Weekend. To celebrate our quick dip in the barren offseason’s football oasis, Brandon, Chris, Kevin, and Mike were psyched to welcome LaVar Arrington to the podcast. LaVar is back in town hosting the A11 Stars Bowl 2018 at Beaver Stadium prior to the Blue-White Game to benefit his non-profit Xtreme Prevention and THON. He talks about the game and what it took to bring it to Penn State, his observations about this year’s team (including State’s latest LB to wear 11), and the process of transitioning from Joe Paterno’s old school approach to the James Franklin era.

“Joe would’ve cussed everybody out… he would have been mortified.” -LaVar Arrington on Penn State’s new facilities

3:41 – Mocking Michigan is as easy as it is fun

5:49 – The Blue-White tailgating experience

9:00 – Some love for Collegiate Athletic Travel (Booking now for Pitt 9/8 and Michigan 10/13)

10:40 – LaVar Arrington joins Brandon, Kevin, and Mike

11:50 – The A11 Stars Bowl to be played in Beaver Stadium at 10am Saturday before Blue-White

14:24 – Philosophy & process behind the game; focusing prospects on academics early

20:00 – LaVar entering his first year as a high school head coach

25:27 – On taking inspiration from James Franklin

26:56 – LaVar’s observations on the progress of the program

29:43 – “Stars plural;” draft prospects for Penn Staters headed to the NFL

32:08 – Trace McSorley and returning leadership/talent on the 2018 squad

34:38 – What would Joe think about Penn State’s facilities upgrades? Differences between then & now

39:22 – On Micah Parsons and the legacy of 11

44:01 – What will it be like for Saquon Barkley being picked high?

49:40 – The drawing power of Happy Valley & his relationship with Joe Paterno

1:02:50 – On the value of LaVar’s perspective on the program’s evolution

1:08:01 – State of the program, coaching situation heading into 2018

1:17:53 – Keeping the Blue-White Game in proper perspective (come for the tailgating)


HOSTED BY: Brandon Noble, Mike Herr, Kevin Horne, Chris Buchignani

GUEST: LaVar Arrington

Jeff “Ironhead” Byers on Cael Sanderson’s Latest Championship Masterpiece

Incredibly, Penn State’s wrestling team has just completed its seventh national title run in the last eight years, crowning four individual champions and besting a stacked Ohio State squad in dramatic fashion before a raucous home crowd. Brandon, Chris, and long-time wrestling superfan Mike the Mailman sat down with Jeff “Ironhead” Byers, who has been the unmistakable voice of Nittany Lions wrestling for the last three decades, to break down another championship season and talk about the team’s remarkable dominance under Cael Sanderson. Jeff has had a front-row seat for the rise of an all-time NCAA powerhouse in Happy Valley, and he shares his insights into what is making this program so unbelievably special.

CHRIS: “How are these kids even real? I hear some of these stories about guys Cael Sanderson’s brought through the program, and it’s like, ‘C’mon.’ But it’s legit.”

4:09 – Ironhead’s background broadcasting for Penn State’s most intense fans

8:20 – Current state of college wrestling & ways to grow the sport

11:47 – Appreciating the greatness of Penn State right now

18:00 – Win or lose (but usually win), the kids are genuinely having fun

22:40 – On Zain Retherford’s remarkable Penn State career

26:54 – Cael Sanderson is recruiting great wrestlers and better people

28:40 – Recounting the thrilling comeback title win over Ohio State

32:26 – Bo Nickal’s win-or-go-home win by pin & his WWE-worthy mic skills after

43:46 – Where 2017-18 ranks among the Sanderson championships

46:55 – Ohio State set to chase Penn State for the long haul

51:00 – Why Title IX didn’t “kill” college wrestling & why Penn State was ahead of its time

54:16 – Many Penn State fans love wrestling & many more love Penn State winning in general

56:00 – The impact of MMA’s popularity on college wrestling & a random Phil Taylor reference

1:01:01 – Where will Saquon get drafted?

1:08:18 – Tommy Stevens announces he’s staying with help from some “grown-up words”

1:09:05 – Prospects for the 2018 football season

HOSTED BY: Brandon Noble, Mike Herr, Chris Buchignani

GUEST: Jeff Byers

The Messy Gray Area of College Recruiting

Unparalleled success in attracting top recruits has been a hallmark of James Franklin’s tenure at Penn State, with the fifth-ranked class of 2018 representing the program’s most talented group yet (probably its best in the modern recruiting era). Chris, Kevin, and Mike the Mailman get schooled on the process by Brandon, who was a star recruit himself once upon a time. As someone who spent the next couple decades playing college and pro football and then coaching in the college ranks, he reflects on how recruiting has changed in 20 years and how big the business has become. Join the whole Obligatory cast on a trip down the rabbit hole of college football recruiting.

BRANDON: It’s a group of people that haven’t had to change at all, for however long that was.

KEVIN: Hell, we had the same damn mailman for how many years?

4:09 – The “new normal” at Penn State & Brandon’s experiences at the PA high school coaching clinic at PSU

5:45 – Which two PA schools have shown the most recruiting interest in Brandon’s son?

8:10 – Franklin’s emphasis on National Signing Day & what it signifies

9:54 – The impact of early Signing Day

16:38 – Increased attention on recruiting & does it make the experience better?

22:18 – The business of recruiting & the illusion of star rankings (great Brandon story at 22:55)

26:15 – Increased focus on getting players to the NFL & how it manifests at Penn State

28:29 – Do “stars” matter & why?

32:17 – How has awareness of recruiting changed since Brandon’s playing days?

36:44 – Remember Ron Powlus? What about other disappointing Notre Dame QB recruits? (featuring a Christan Hackenburg moratorium)

41:42 – Coaching movement, at Penn State and elsewhere, and how it lines up with early Signing Day

48:04 – The process of targeting and bringing in recruits

52:42 – How effective are the NCAA rules & do they have any redeeming value at this point?

59:49 – How new coaching staffs clear out the previous regime’s players

1:03:23 – The greatest fullback/mustache duo in college football history

HOSTED BY: Brandon Noble, Mike Herr, Kevin Horne, Chris Buchignani

Penn State Basketball feat. John Patishnock

Call it bold, unconventional, misguided, or just stupid, but Chris and Kevin dare to dive right into the quagmire of misery and indifference that is Penn State men’s basketball for episode 2 (blame Chris). They welcome John Patishnock of the Penn State Alumni Association and who covers the team courtside to bring some level of earnest seriousness to a topic they sometimes struggle to discuss without cynicism. Recorded just prior to Penn State’s win over Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament (its third against the Buckeyes this season), this conversation takes a wide view of the 2017-18 season and the current state of the program. John will come back for a final debrief in the offseason, but this episode provides a fun, relevant, and evergreen look at the frustrating enigma of PSU hoops.

“For better or for worse, or maybe through indifference, Penn State has said, ‘Pat Chambers is our guy.'” -John Patishnock

3:10 – “At least one person capable of taking the program seriously,” introducing John Patishnock

5:10 – Chris secretly wishes he could be the villain, but Kevin just does it better

9:07 – Watching the team at (and breaking into) Rec Hall

13:00 – Two conflicting views of this season & Pat Chambers

20:03 – NBA prospects on the current roster; should Tony Carr make the jump?

21:50 – Gabe Norwood (Jordan’s brother) is “the Lebron James of the Phillipines”

26:50 – “I cannot in good conscience participate in… suggesting that Penn State will be a top 25 team next year. (It) feels like Amway sales.”

28:49 – Is the talent on this year’s roster the best in the Big Ten era?

39:11 – Kevin tells a funny story about fans storming the court after Ohio State

42:20 – Implications of this season’s results for Pat Chambers’ future

50:00 – Bill O’Brien still had an easier job than Pat Chambers


HOSTED BY: Kevin Horne, Chris Buchignani

GUEST: John Patishnock

Penn State Football: 2017 Year in Review

It’s the inaugural episode of The Obligatory PSU Podcast, the new companion podcast produced by the cast of The Obligatory PSU Pregame Show – former Penn State and NFL defensive tackle Brandon Noble, campus legend Mike “the Mailman” Herr, and authors/superfans Kevin Horne and Chris Buchignani. On Saturday of THON 2018 weekend, Brandon, Kevin, and Chris joined Mike for morning Mail Call at the Bryce Jordan Center and then regrouped at the BlueWhiteTV “living room” studio to look back on Penn State’s 2017 football season.

“Every time you hit Like and Subscribe, Mike the Mailman smiles.” -Kevin Horne

3:00 – “There have been 300 #MiketheMailman hashtags today.”

3:13 – Visiting THON & its humble beginnings in the White Building

4:36 – Overview of the podcast

6:30 – Cast introductions

11:00 – A magazine “is like a website you can carry around with you anywhere on paper”

11:20 – On the first season on statewide television

16:49 – The divisive legacy of the 2017 season

19:42 – “It’s hard to win ’em all.”

21:18 – Was the season a “disappointment?” (guys really get into the groove here)

25:22 – What will stand out most to you from 2017?

31:25 – How expectations change perceptions

35:00 – James Franklin ices the Georgia State kicker, the team debuts its throwbacks, GameDay comes to Old Main Lawn; the small moments of 2017

36:43 – Mike takes full credit for the team’s success

HOSTED BY: Brandon Noble, Mike Herr, Kevin Horne, Chris Buchignani

Just like the show, which began with complete strangers drinking beer and talking football on the back porch, this podcast will evolve (sort of… at least a little bit), and that includes everything from the format to the content to the show notes. Come along for the ride, and let us know what you like best.


post_logo_2017Can you believe they actually let us make 15 of these things? and then aired them?? It’s the end of the line for a roller-coaster campaign for the Nittany Lions and an unbelievably fun first season of Obligatory on PCN. The guys close out the year at Champs Altoona, and not even Mike the Mailman’s (most definitely not in any way gambling-debt-related) neck injury can stand in the way of one final game preview. Leatherneck Leader is Saquon Barkley, an all-time great down to his last games in Blue and White.