Or, How to Avoid Being Switched from D-Lineman to Center
The guys try a bit of role reversal this week, giving Brandon a chance to be the “guest” and talk about the journey that took him across the country – from Southern California to Virginia Beach – and eventually to Happy Valley, suiting up for some of JoePa’s best teams in the mid-1990’s. In this first interview, Brandon talks about the recruiting process, choosing between Michigan and Penn State, and his first three years in the program, which included plenty of adversity and adjustment as well as a chance to play for an undefeated Big Ten and Rose Bowl champion in State’s second year of membership in the conference. A future installment will cover his role as a key starter at defensive tackle in 1995-96 and the roller coaster ride through the professional ranks that followed.
Or, “Gritty” — Not Just a Creepy/Lovable Mascot
A long and bitter recruiting fight ultimately went against the Nittany Lions when 5-star “can’t miss” (JINX!) 2020 wide receiver Julian Fleming of Catawissa, PA made a sudden heel turn in choosing Ohio State. Wailing and gnashing of teeth predictably ensued, but how much of a problem is losing out on such a highly-regarded in-state recruit for James Franklin and his staff? Maybe a big one. The guys welcome Frank Bodani of the York Daily Record to break down the disappointing turn of the events and its wider implications for #DominateTheState from the pessimist’s view and the “glass half-full” perspective. Brandon questions the current team’s grit, while Kevin questions whether grit exists beyond sports cliches.
Check out Frank Bodani’s column on Julian Fleming’s commitment to Ohio State: https://www.ydr.com/story/sports/college/penn-state/football/2019/05/28/penn-state-football-recruiting-what-if-julian-fleming-picks-ohio-state/3745467002/
GUEST: Frank Bodani
Or, The 2 Return Trips All Penn State Alumni Should Make
The whole gang is finally back together, and in classic Obligatory fashion, the conversation quickly skews into a digression from which it never fully recovers. Brandon, Kevin, Chris, and Mailman relax by the banks of Spruce Creek at Voodoo Brewery’s State College location, waxing philosophical on a range of topics including: Beer (of course), Summer in Happy Valley, Penn State graduation, the end of “Senior Week,” Penn State’s two law schools, the street value of a Brandon Noble autograph (and your chances of receiving one in the mail, upon request), and Chris’ two pieces of essential advice for every PSU alum planning a trip back to State College:
- Pick and non-event weekend in the Summer, and come back for a relaxing weekend to experience town, campus, and the surrounding areas (experience Mount Nittany!) during the slowest-paced time of year.
- Plan a Fall football trip far enough in advance to take the extra time off and arrive mid-week. Experience town and campus on the Thursday and Friday leading up to the game, and make some time to walk through the surrounding neighborhoods to appreciate what a great college atmosphere we have at Old State.
Or, Kevin’s Antebellum Adventure
The Nittany Lions had a very respectable six players selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, with fan favorite Trace McSorley coming off the board in the sixth round to Baltimore. A total of four Penn Staters (two draft picks, two undrafted free agents) will remain in-state to suit up for the Eagles. Brandon, Chris, Kevin, and #Obligatory newcomer Paris Palmer (Penn State OT ’15-16) eventually get around to talking about the draft, the decision process around leaving early, and whether declared underclassmen who aren’t drafted (like PSU’s Ryan Bates and Kevin Givens) should be able to return to school. But first, Kevin returns to the show in rare form, giving a great lesson in craft beer appreciation along with a recap of his tour of several college campuses in SEC country. Mike the Mailman is on assignment.
Or, Let’s Talk Game of Thrones
We are super serial, you guys. MAJOR SPOILERS for Game of Thrones up to and including Season 8 Episode 3 plus some sundry, semi-spoilery references to Avengers: Endgame. If you haven’t watched yet, come on back after. If this pop culture stuff isn’t for you, no worries – another episode wrapping up Penn State’s big NFL draft weekend is on the way.
In the spirit of Obligatory’s best digressions, Brandon and Chris venture far beyond the Wall to review the most hotly-anticipated television event since last season’s Obligatory PSU Pregame Show finale. The show’s production and technical guru Jonnie Baker comes along for the ride as do Steve and Tim of the Let’s Talk Penn State podcast. Did “The Long Night” live up to the ridiculous hype, or was it at least a bit of a disappointment? Enjoy this bonus episode, an let us know what you think of the guys ranging off into other topics from time to time.
Or, Tommy Stevens Predictions Sure to Go Wrong
Mike the Mailman swings back through State College amidst his whirlwind tour of Alumni Association speaking engagements, and just in time to join Chris and Brandon in discussing the surprising twist in Penn State’s 2019 quarterback battle – fifth-year senior Tommy Stevens’ decision to enter the transfer portal and finish his career elsewhere. Meanwhile, another sizable crop of Nittany Lions will look to hear their names called in the 2019 NFL Draft. Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting joins the show to offer insight on the pro prospects of Trace McSorley, Miles Sanders, Amani Oruwariye, Connor McGovern and several others looking to become the latest Lions to play on Sundays. If all that’s not enough, learn the incredibly idiotic game Brandon and former Penn State OT Keith “Goon” Conlin played during their college days that led to dental surgery later in life.
GUEST: Eric Galko
Or, Happy Valley Voodoo of Slab Cabin Run
Mike the Mailman is on assignment (playing cards), but the rest of the gang – Penn State and NFL defensive tackle Brandon Noble, former Onward State managing editor Kevin Horne, and aspiring virtual lion tamer Chris Buchignani – are all on hand for the triumphant return of the Obligatory podcast. The guys kick back along waters of Slab Cabin Run enjoying the hospitality of Voodoo Brewery and cover a range of topics in this return episode – the forgotten tradition of “not walking on the S” and the importance of ritual, the family-friendly (and less so) aspects of Blue-White Weekend, the killer instinct of local birds of prey, and the cultural phenomenon that is Game of Thrones (Brandon and Chris even sneak in some football talk while Kevin gets a refill). It’s good to be back!
This was recorded 24 hours before Tommy Stevens entered the transfer portal. Enjoy this break from pointless speculation and stale takes and thank us later.
Or, The Jersey Not-So-Special
If nothing else can be said of it, Penn State’s win over Rutgers was just that, and so the Lions move to 8-3 and look ahead to a Senior Day home finale versus a surprisingly pesky Maryland team and the not trivial shot at their third straight trip to a New Year’s Six bowl that victory would bring. On a chilly morning in an empty State College, Brandon, Kevin, and Mailman (sans Chris a.k.a. Steve Jobs) start off Thanksgiving week by attempting to make sense of Penn State’s uneven season, leaving room for their usual digressions into topics like the magic of McSorley’s (no relation) Tavern in New York City and Kevin’s 30 days of sobriety.