We here at EDSBS would personally like to thank Joe Paterno and the Penn State Nittany Lions for their victory over the Florida State Seminoles early, early, early this morning. We stayed up and watched the entire thing, which is why we're freebasing coffee beans in the bathroom this morning and periodically allowing our drooping head to slam on the desk in order to jolt ourselves awake. (Loud, but effective.)
A few notes:
1. Joe Pa is the angriest man we've ever seen at that age. If he lived next to you, he'd fire a bb gun at dogs who shit on his lawn and chase kids off with pepper spray and rubber bullets. But to see him argue with Michael Robinson on the fake FG goal--and then actually listen to his players and change the call--is a staggering example of open-minded thinking at an age when most people are afraid to switch brands of mustard. It's also a testament to the testicularity of Michael Robinson; we wouldn't ask Joe Paterno for change for a dollar if he was sitting on a pile of nickels, and Robinson's out there lobbying the guy and trying to change the call.
2. Credit must go to Paterno's optometrist, too, since not every coach in his late 70s has the specs to see what's going on during the game. By that we mean Bobby Bowden, who clearly can't see very well anymore. The state trooper who stands to his left was caught on camera twice last night informing Bowden of the result of the play. Credit ABC, who kept a wide angle on the coach so the exchanges were apparent and very, very lip-readable. ABC also did a great job following Bowden as he wandered the sidelines asking who's responsible for defensive substitutions, which he apparently didn't know. Fine work, and further evidence of just how uninvolved Bowden is in the program at this point.
Bowden: He can't see very well, there's a boat on the reef with a broken back...be he can't see it very well.
3. A finer officiating job will not be done this year. The Big East crew called an airtight game,
which officiating as a whole needed badly following the debacles of the Alamo and Outback Bowl. (Hey, like Joe Pa says, "either team coulda won, but we'll take it.") More importantly, they practiced judicious process officiating, where both teams were allowed to correct behaviors or suffer the consequences. Officiating isn't a static process during the game; it evolves and develops its own dynamics, with certain styles of play governing what gets called and what doesn't. What the fuck are we talking about here? FSU's "echo of the whistle" hits on the quarterback is what we're talking about, which the officials gave ample warning to Florida State throughout the game before calling a potentially damaging 15 yarder on Kamerion Wimbley on the final drive of regulation for Penn State. It kept a drive alive, and set up the kick for the win that State missed. The refs didn't decide the game, they let players play physically, and they gave ample warning before lowering the boom on the big no-nos. Superb work on their part.
4. Mickey Andrews has Tourette's, or enjoys chewing balls of cat hair during the game. The whole broadcast should have been upgraded to a TV-MA rating based solely on the profance, stomach-churning things the FSU DC was doing with his mouth. He looks like some kind of sinister frog god eating bowls of flies on the sidelines during the game.
Ah wahnt two--TWO--bowls a flies, guhdammit!
4. With all of that said, Bobby Bowden is still viable evil incarnate, which is not what we expected in the game. FSU did lose, and did finish with their worst record since the Reagan administration at 8-5. It won't help recruiting to see blue-chippers like Lorenzo Booker and Leon Washington reduced to catching swing passes and grinding out a whopping 20-something
yards on the ground. It also won't help watching Bowden, the face of the program, looking like he's having one long senior moment during the game. But FSU played hard, hard football, and the defense looks every bit as badass as they ever did, twisting knees, tossing off blocks, and generally attempting to retard the qb regardless of what the whistle or the refs say about when and where they can hit them. (Wimbley, by the way, just blindsided Robinson by the Seattle's Best in Miami airport. That is all.) They'll be back--not 11-1 back, but certainly not 8-5 back, especially with Drew Weatherford at qb, whose poise did for all but one play last night resemble that of Chris Weinke. That's good, by the way, at least in college terms.
FSU is far from dead or dying as a program. Mildly dysfunctional? Yes. Laughable? Hardly...though in a year where Tennessee went 5-6, we can dream, can't we?
6. With that, we provide a helpful chart to show how much we appreciate what Joe Pa did last night. This isn't art, it's science, and to show that we'll prove that Joe Pa struck a blow for all that is good and holy last night by beating Bobby Bowden with this handy Venn Diagram:
See? Mutually exclusive. Glad we could help.