cropped-web_logo_1.jpgOn this first episode of our third season, the guys talk heightened expectations and looming questions marks. Will increased depth and skill from improved recruiting make up for the loss of experienced players and key assistant coaches? Also this week, Mike the Mailman speculates about the impact of legal sports gambling on college football, the guys welcome  former Penn State starting center Barry Tielsch (1992-97) and join Penn State professor of “Booze and Culture”, Kirk French in a little lesson on moonshine.

Deep Thoughts on a Beautiful State College Night 

Upon returning from their trip to visit the Lake Erie chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association, Brandon, Mike, and Chris kicked back on the front porch rocking chairs at Blue White Media HQ and rolled through a variety of topics, from the profound to the inane. If you’ve ever wondered what sports Mike played in his youth, what coaches and players think about the media, XX, or how much more Brandon knows about football than anyone else on the show, then this one’s for you. It is vintage Obligatory; guys who love Penn State enjoying a wide-ranging, free-wheeling conversation on a warm Happy Valley evening. We’ve got several more of these saved up and will be sharing them

In future installments, we’ll have plenty more random banter with the full Obligatory cast left over from the run-up to kickoff, and our next episode will feature more from one of our first TV guests of the season, former Penn State starting center (and Brandon Noble roommate) Barry Tielsch. Next Friday, 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:

CHRIS: “Once you hear it, you can’t un-hear it.” (on Brent Pry sounding like George W. Bush)

3:25 – Mike’s degenerate “book club”

7:14 – Brandon & Mike ponder the road less traveled

11:57 – Summer camp & the vanishing era of two-a-days

23:43 – Mailman’s hoops & gridiron heroics

28:44 – James Franklin has opened up media access to the program

30:48 – Brent Pry sounds exactly like George W. Bush

33:38 – No Kevin = Brandon gets to talk football

41:45 – Brandon on his relationship with media as a college/NFL player

48:00 – The transition from Mike, a mailman, to “Mike the Mailman”

50:44 – Gearing up for tailgating season (again, no Kevin)

58:05 – Commonwealth campus nomenclature & more

1:03:27 – Legal and logistical implications of move-in week

HOSTED BY: Brandon Noble, Mike Herr, Chris Buchignani

Mood Music:

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