On July 1, 2021, the epoch of college football that began in 1869 with Rutgers and Princeton playing a bizarre combination of soccer and rugby came to a close, and a whole new era began. That might be overstating things a bit, but not much! If nothing else, the advent of name, image, and likeness (NIL) monetization for college athletes marks an end to the NCAA’s increasingly-controversial notion of amateurism as the foundation of intercollegiate athletics, an idea dating back to the early 1900s. One week in, the early returns have included much of the chaos and uncertainty you’d expect from the ruling body’s hands-off, Wild West approach to perhaps the most significant change in its history. If nothing else, on the Miami Hurricanes’ next trip to the national title game, they’ll all be able to afford their own fatigues (although after 16 years in the ACC, maybe they ought to focus on their first appearance in the conference title game to get started). There will plenty of time to assess the new world of college football and plenty more good discussions about it here on the show. For now, we give our early reactions and predictions for how Penn State can navigate this volatile, new landscape.

HOSTED BY: Mike HerrKevin HorneChris Buchignani

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Once upon a time, Joe Paterno’s Penn State Nittany Lions were the new kid on the college football block, struggling to earn respect among the established titans of the sport while battling entrenched stereotypes about the inferiority of “Eastern football.” It felt like a rigged game in which even going undefeated wasn’t nearly enough. Today’s Group of Five conference contenders – Boise State, UCF, Cincinnati – face a similar uphill climb, but the coming expansion of the college football playoff may finally afford these programs and their frustrated fans a chance to escape the on-deck circle. Meanwhile, Old State has long since graduated to the ranks of the bluebloods, and the move to 12 teams has far different implications for the Lions and their current head coach in the pursuit of a coveted national title. From opening doors for the sport’s scrappy underdogs to impacting – positively, we hope – everything in Happy Valley from recruiting to the fans’ psyches, we further explore the near-future of college ball in the chaotic playoff era.

“Taking ‘The Walk’ with James Franklin” by Ben Jones of StateCollege.comhttps://www.statecollege.com/penn-state-football-taking-the-walk-with-james-franklin/

Part 1 of our Playoff Expansion discussions: https://share.transistor.fm/s/b75ef3e6

HOSTED BY: Brandon NobleMike HerrKevin HorneChris Buchignani

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When is losing 9-0 more embarrassing than losing 6-4? When you’re the governing body of one of the nation’s most venerable and popular sports leagues and you’re handed a unanimous legal shellacking by a politically-divided Supreme Court in the most charged atmosphere of partisan polarization in a century. Many Americans have wondered what force could possibly compel us to come together in unity, and that turned out to be the venal cynicism and stupefying incompetence of the NCAA. The organization and its nincompoop president Mark Emmert certainly make fun rhetorical punching bags, and there’s good, clean fun to be had from reveling in their deeply-deserved embarrassment and misfortune. But once the dunk tank is closed, is the new course being plotted for college athletics one that will ultimately please fans and preserve what made it worth caring about in the first place? Are we even asking the right questions to find out before it’s too late?

NCAA Financial Calculator (USA Today): https://sports.usatoday.com/ncaa/finances/

SPRING ’21 Episode 13: The NCAA on Trial: https://share.transistor.fm/s/e0e11d0c

HOSTED BY: Mike HerrKevin HorneChris Buchignani

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Few teams have been more consistently cheated of the chance to prove their worthiness as title contenders on the field than the Penn State Nittany Lions. Joe Paterno famously coached four teams that went undefeated and uncrowned, and as he was for so many of college football’s eventual innovations, Joe was an outspoken advocate for a playoff system to determine a champion. After years of hearing it would never happen, an actual four-team playoff still left the 2016 Big Ten Champion Nittany Lions on the outside looking in. So news that the college playoffs are set to expand to include 12 teams in the near future should be welcome in Happy Valley, where the home team would have made a 12-team field in four of the last seven years. But might moving from four top contenders to 12 teams overall prove “too much of a good thing?” That’s the question we tackle as we begin our examination of the college football playoff’s inevitable expansion.

12-Team Playoff Brackets (2014-20): https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/college-football-playoff-expansion-how-a-12-team-field-would-have-looked-in-each-of-last-seven-seasons/

HOSTED BY: Brandon NobleMike HerrKevin HorneChris Buchignani

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With the announcement that Penn State’s highly-anticipated non-conference matchup with Auburn will kick off under the lights at Beaver Stadium, anticipation is high that the marquee matchup will also see the triumphant return of the Greatest Show in College Football: The Beaver Stadium White Out. While some fans consider this a welcome opportunity to shift the annual (except during global pandemics) White Out off the alternating schedule of Michigan and Ohio State, others see November’s visit from the Wolverines an opportunity to White Out the Beav for a second time, an unprecedented move for highly unusual times. So in this episode, we kick around the question of how much is too much of a good thing and reminisce about some of the greatest night game environments in the history of Penn State football.

HOSTED BY: Mike HerrKevin HorneChris Buchignani

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The guys interview Penn State Football Letterman Lydell Sargeant, a Pittsburgh native who committed to PSU as part of Joe Paterno’s legendary 2005 recruiting class, the only class in school history with two Big Ten titles over their time in Happy Valley. After switching from receiver to defensive back following his freshman season, Lydell saw increasing playing time in State’s defensive backfield over the next several years, culminating in an All Big Ten senior season in which he led the 2008 conference champs in interceptions and pass breakups. That year he was also heavily involved in Barack Obama’s presidential campaign efforts on campus and around State College.

After an NFL career with the Buffalo Bills was cut short by injury, he returned to Penn State to work in Athletics, served on the Football Lettermen’s Club executive committee, and earned a master’s degree in sports management studies from California University of PA. He went on to positions with Marquette, Utah Valley University, and UCLA before assuming his current position as Associate AD for Development and Revenue Generation at Morgan State University, an HBCU located in Baltimore, Maryland.

2008 Oregon State at Penn State: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87JXQGD9_54
2008 Penn State at Wisconsin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UMDDQsVF3o
2008 Penn State at Ohio State: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFKn2d2hYXM

HOSTED BY: Brandon NobleMike HerrKevin HorneChris Buchignani

GUEST: Lydell Sargeant

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Listen to guest Miriam Colvin’s award-winning podcast: https://soundcloud.com/miriam-colvin/competition-with-the-best

With Spring football and the NFL Draft in the rearview, the guys turn their attention to exploring some of the interesting stories and people in and around the Nittany Valley. Penn State freshman Miriam Colvin had only tried producing a podcast once before, but when she decided to document an old family story that tied back to the great Muhammed Ali, the final product – “Competition with the Best” – ended up winning NPR’s national Student Podcast Challenge. Miriam gives an account of her journey from Sunshine State to Happy Valley and achieving this cool recognition.

USMC vet Tom Gathman grew up around Penn State football and Joe Paterno – really – his dad produced Joe’s famous Holsum Milano bread advertising campaign. Now “The Hiking Viking” backpacks all over the world, pitting himself against the elements in long treks far from civilization, but never so far that he misses a Nittany Lions kickoff during the Fall. Sought-after outdoor brand ambassador and die-hard PSU football fan, Tom also produces the weekly Blue & White Brothers Podcast during the season. He checks in with the guys ahead of his next adventure and is set to return for a full episode later this Summer.

The Real Hiking Viking’s website: http://www.therealhikingviking.com/

Miriam on NPR’s “All Things Considered”: https://www.npr.org/2021/04/21/989608753/competition-with-the-greatest-podcast-winner-fact-checked-family-lore

HOSTED BY: Brandon NobleMike HerrKevin HorneChris Buchignani

GUESTS: Miriam Colvin, Tom Gathman (The Hiking Viking)

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Six Penn State Nittany Lions were taken in the 2021 NFL Draft, with linebacker Micah Parsons and edge rusher Odafe (Jayson) Oweh going in the first round. Tight end Pat Freiermuth headed to Pittsburgh via the second round, and three other Lions – defensive end Shaka Toney and offensive linemen Michael Menet and Will Fries – going off the board consecutively in the seventh. Penn State (and LION 90.7fm) alumnus Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic joins the show to evaluate the team fit and professional outlook for all six Staters selected.

HOSTED BY: Brandon NobleMike HerrKevin HorneChris Buchignani

GUEST: Sheil Kapadia

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Which Nittany Lions will hear their names called (and when) in the 2021 NFL Draft? ESPN pro football analyst Matt Bowen joins the show to evaluate Penn State’s prospects in the 2021 draft class, including Micah Parsons, Jayson Oweh, Pat Freiermuth, and Shaka Toney. Matt was a four-year letterwinner as a safety at Iowa, earning second-team All America and first-team All Big Ten during his college career. He was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2000, and his seven-year NFL career also included stints with Green Bay, Washington, and Buffalo. Currently, he serves as an NFL writer and analyst at ESPN, including co-hosting the incomparable NFL Matchup.

HOSTED BY: Brandon NobleMike HerrChris Buchignani

GUEST: Matt Bowen

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Why have one real Blue-White Weekend when you can hold two fake ones instead? Well, for plenty of reasons, of course, but after the last 12 months, you take whatever you can get. After holding an open football scrimmage (or practice or something) for Penn State freshmen a week prior, the Nittany Lions returned to Beaver Stadium for their 15th and final practice of the Spring season and gave University Park’s senior class a send-off under the lights. Intriguing plot lines that emerged during our first peek at the 2021 squad continued to develop, while concerns about the progress of new coordinator Mike Yurcich’s offense may have been at least partially addressed. Chris and Mike the Mailman share their first-hand observations and impressions from their strange, but welcome return to the House that Joe Built.

HOSTED BY: Brandon NobleMike HerrKevin HorneChris Buchignani

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