How does anyone start off writing their first article? Well, um … hi!
I’m Brian (semi-new to Staturdays) and I wanted to introduce myself seeing that I’m going to be writing more and more for this blog this upcoming college football season. If you follow me on Twitter (@Brian_Stickler) you know that I have very intense specific interests and tastes in things – which makes it somewhat hard to follow me I think. To be honest, I am not sure why anyone follows me. Unless you’re super into Penn State Football, the New York Yankees, Breaking Bad, and like a whole bunch of miscellaneous movies and TV shows that I happen to be watching at that moment, I’m not sure that the package of information I send out into the world is all that relevant to you. So assuming that you don’t know my twitter account and frankly don’t care either, I’d like to start by telling you a little bit about me and my relationship to college football, and specifically Penn State.
I am a novice college football fan. In fact, before I attended Penn State as a freshman I don’t think I ever even watched a college football game in my life. During a tour of campus when I was 16 years old, a tour guide told the group that we would all become the biggest football fans in the world after spending a few years at school. She was definitely right … but not immediately. Admittedly, the Christian Hackenberg era didn’t do much for me right off the cuff. I did love the atmosphere of the games, the tailgating, and the community that surrounded the football games – but it wasn’t until Penn State started really winning that I became really invested.
Does that make me a bad fan? I don’t think so. In a class I took with our beloved StaturDAD, Kyle, we learned that the product on field is what makes the difference for attendance, more than any other external factor (such as promos, weather, cost, etc.). I don’t know much, but what I can tell you is that that is unequivocally true. When Penn State beat Ohio State in the 2016 white out game there was a clear difference in the way the community behaved. The campus and surrounding areas came alive and it hasn’t died down yet, not 3 years later. Penn State Football demanded our attention, and boy did it suck me right in. I was hooked and since then I haven’t been able to unattach myself, even if I wanted to. I became a superfan – living and breathing Blue and White during the fall and craving even the heartbreak of a 3-hour rain delay loss to Michigan State during the summer. I love the games, the anticipation, the atmosphere, the players, the coaches, and especially my peers. But that last one is where I feel I differ from the rest of the twitter-verse – and this should give you a good look at what to expect from me in the future. Here are a few things that fundamentally define my fandom:
- I do not think the backup quarterback should be starting. I am sure Will Levis is an unbelievably talented player and has tremendous potential to be a huge impact at Penn State. I am sure that Tommy Stevens did too. But QB is a really hard job … a really hard job. Our friend Sean Clifford (4 Heisman) is going to be a first-year starter for the Nittany Lions this season, and while there will be times where he will shine, there will also be times where he will struggle. That doesn’t mean he sucks or should be replaced — that means he is growing and learning on the field in one of the most competitive environments in all of college sports. Twitter was ready to write off Trace McSorely during the Michigan game last year. Yes, #9 was getting monstrous hate every single pick or incompletion. That absolutely baffled me. He was arguably the best QB in the history of Penn State, and a large portion of the fan base thought his backup was going to be better than him. What are the odds of that? Kyle? Drew? You are the stat guys, let me know the probability that anyone was going to outperform the PSU leader in almost every measurable offensive statistic. It’s unlikely. We need to trust our coaches and know that they evaluate talent much different (and way better) than we do. Which brings me to my next point…
- I am not one to call for the firing of coaches off the cuff. I will not use the heinous hashtag, #FireFranklin, every single time Penn State loses a football game. You know why? Because it is ridiculous. There are not many proven coaches in college football like James Franklin right now, and I am curious where all these fans calling for his head would like to find his replacement. How many active coaches right now have won a Big Ten Championship? The answer is 2 – and we have one of them. The truth is, sometimes coaches do need to go – like David Corley (PSU WR Coach) after a horrid year for the receiving core. I am just far more comfortable with someone who knows more than me making that decision. I said before, I know almost nothing – but here are two things I do know.
- Penn State exceeded all expectations following the sanctions in 2011
- I like people who like Penn State
This is why I like Franklin — He wins with integrity, he recruits competitively with the best teams in the country, and he leads with clear direction — all of which demand respect and exude warmth. The guy is a really good coach, and just because we lost a few games doesn’t mean he should go. That, and he’s going to lead the Nittany Lions to a national championship during his tenure. @OldTakesExposed.
- I root for the guys in Blue and White. All I have been saying over and over again is that I really don’t know much other than that I want to see us perform well. I am not an athlete, a coach, or a scout – I am simply a fan. So when there is someone on my screen in Nittany Lion gear, I am going to root for that dude to kick ass. I will not root for someone on this team to fail so that another can get an opportunity.
Those three points make up my fundamental beliefs about sports and Penn State in general. It is important to make that clear because if you are looking for an overly emotional reactional blog this is not necessarily the place for you to get that release.
It’ll come up over and over again throughout the season, but I cannot wait to experience that joy, excitement, anticipation, and even heartbreak with you all over the next 16 weeks. Let’s watch some college football together. Man does it feel good to be saying that again! We Are!