If I had to grade Neil Rudel's grades for PSU's Rose Bowl effort, they'd get a solid D. Giving Clark a C- for his effort was inexplicable. Clark made the most valiant effort I've seen from a PSU quarterback since Michael Robinson in the 2006 Orange Bowl.
It wasn't his fault the defense couldn't stop USC's passing offense in the second quarter. He was also facing a base five-man front and the No. 1 defense in the nation. I suppose if his uniform was stained with his own blood that would also be a deduction.
Similarly, the receivers got a raw deal for their effort. Butler's motion penalty turned out to be inconsequential. PSU scored on the drive with Butler chipping in for a good chunk of the yardage. USC had trouble covering him. If you think these guys gave a C effort, be prepared for a lot of Fs next season.
The offensive line faced a five-man front, plus blitzing, throughout the game. Did I mention USC has the No. 1 defense in the nation? Landolt was lost in the first quarter, but our RBs usually found holes even as they were lost to injuries.
I won't argue that the defense was awful against the pass. I would wager that there are probably NFL teams that don't have the combination of size and speed that USC's receivers possess. We simply did not have the athletic ability in our secondary to cover them, which allowed USC to use maximum protection schemes for Sanchez and still have wide-open targets.
In the future, when grading, Rudel might want to make a bigger distinction between what kind of effort was given on PSU's part versus the comparative talent of our players versus the other squad.
Staff needs new blood
Tough grading by Neil Rudel, but then I am used to the "homer" grading by Phil Grosz. I am one of those frustrated fans that feels that the entire program (Tim Curley, JoePa and staff) are satisfied with just getting to a bowl game.
The formula is to outlast Bowden by scheduling weak sisters and outlasting him.
I pray that Joe does not fulfill the three-year commitment, and I am not sold on Tom Bradley, either. We need new blood, one that has a passion for recruiting and for inspiring others to exceed their expectations.
Trip great ... except the game
My wife and I attended the Rose Bowl game and parade. It was an experience of a lifetime, and everybody should attend the "granddaddy" of all bowls.
Once inside Gate A, the place has a carnival-like atmosphere with easy-to-reach rest rooms and concession stands. And then you look out of the stadium and see the beautiful, majestic San Gabriel Mountains. The Rose Bowl parade is better to watch than on TV.
There is not too much to say about the game. The USC Trojans football team is multi-talented. Penn State doesn't match up player-wise. What TV viewers don't see at pre-game warmup is how relaxed the Trojan players are. While coach Pete Carroll is throwing a football around with one of the team equipment people, the players are going through their ritual. Coach Carroll has created a fun culture for his program. His players have that cocky, swagger attitude but deservedly so. Coach Paterno runs a business-like, stiff-shirt program in comparison.
There are some issues that Paterno and his staff must address over the winter. For starters, Tom Bradley's soft-zone defense stinks.
Make no doubt about it: Penn State doesn't have the talent of Florida, Oklahoma, Texas or USC. At this point, there is nothing to say positive about Big Ten football, which went 1-6 in bowl games.
Earning respect for Penn State football is going to be a tall order in 2009.
Lions lacked motivation
Down 14 points, with the ball and four minutes left in the first half, Penn State did not look like a team on a mission.
It looked like a team anxious to get it over with and get off the field.
Boca Raton, Fla.
Too kind to PSU players, staff
I have a few comments on Neil Rudel's grades: He was too kind to both our coaches and USC's players.
Our offensive coaching deserved a D- at best because of absolutely lousy calls in the first half after the initial scoring drive.
And our defense? An F+ as our soft corners and soft zone absolutely stunk up the place. I hear some say how could we have covered their great receivers. Excuse me, but Sanchez did better against us - which was arguably the best defense he faced all year - than any other team in his career.
Call it like it is: Bradley blew this one.
'Open the purse strings'
I watched USC control Penn State's defense like they sent the plays in themselves. Bradley was handled like a babe in arms, and he's considered as a head coach.
Penn State will get just what they've paid for. There's a lot of good coaches out there, but if you want a good coach you have to open the purse strings. Quit being so cheap.
Men vs. boys
Wow. From my vantage point at the game, it was men against boys. It looked like all the USC defensive backs and wideouts were 6-foot-3 and all of PSU's were 5-9.
Penn State fans were clamoring for a change in scheme on defense, but what was Tom Bradley to do? Play man? You knew the Nits had to play one of their better games to stay close. They didn't, and it wasn't.
A 11-2 record, Big Ten champs and a Rose Bowl game would have satisfied Nittany Nation in August. It was just a bad ending.
Trojans eased up
In Neil Rudel's column about the Rose Bowl, he mentions that Penn State showed pride in the game against USC.
I think it was more USC taking it easy toward the end of the game. They had a 31-7 lead and went into a shell, playing prevent defense and scaled back the offense.
If they had kept playing the way they had been, they easily could have put 50 or 60 points up on Penn State.
Proud of second-half effort
I don't care what anyone says: USC didn't stop playing defense in the second half.
They may called off the offensive dogs, but we moved the ball on them. Just shows you, you can't make mistakes against a high-quality team. I'm proud we did not give up.
PSU living in the past
Penn State is a mere shadow of its former self. There's a reason all Pennsylvania blue-chip recruits are going to Ohio State or some other out-of-state school. Joe was great back in the day, but this is now, not then.
It seems like this all turned around since joining the Big Ten. Prior to that, most of Penn State's opponents were East Coast cupcakes.
Palm Springs, Calif.