Sports Columns

No Bell ringing in Pittsburgh for the holidays

PITTSBURGH — Santa Claus is still coming to town. Le’Veon Bell isn’t. His long holdout officially ended just past 4 o’clock on Tuesday afternoon when he didn’t show up to sign the contract tender the Steelers offered him months ago. That means Bell won’t play in the NFL anywhere ...

Is 9-3 a good season?

Penn State has made it through the gauntlet part of the schedule, and with only Rutgers and Maryland remaining, a 9-3 regular season seems to be a safe bet. Which begs the question: Is a 9-3 season at Penn State considered a success? Yes. Absolutely. Without question. Silly to think ...

Wondering what Brown was thinking

PITTSBURGH — If Antonio Brown actually was driving over 100 miles per hour on a suburban highway last week, it begs this question: Why? Was he late for an appointment? Was his Porsche fresh from a tune-up and he was anxious to test it? Did a soccer mom in a mini-van challenge him to a ...

Junior tailback growing into Nittany Lion leader

UNIVERSITY PARK — As C.J. Thorpe, a defensive lineman from Pittsburgh, picked up a kickoff and started rumbling with it Saturday afternoon, Miles Sanders cheered on his good buddy. But Thorpe fumbled, denying himself a SportsCenter highlight, and when he got to the sideline, Sanders ...

Love affair with backup QBs silly part of sports and life

A big pet peeve of mine is how we, as a sports society, fall in love with the backup quarterback, before he’s ever accomplished anything. Or the next recruit. Or next draft pick. Or minor league prospect. It’s the whole “grass is greener” thing. It may be natural, but it is not ...

Thursday means money for the NFL

PITTSBURGH — Steelers Sunday comes early this week. In fact, the home game against the Carolina Panthers will be on Thursday night. The good news is once it’s over, the players and staff will have extra time to recover before the next game, Nov. 18 at Jacksonville. That’s the extent ...

Tributes to fallen highlight fall season

As the vibrant October foliage hangs around into November, the World Series champions have been crowned, the clocks have been turned back, and fall sports kick into playoff mode. While Friday night lights still shine on the high school football postseason, the Penn State women’s soccer ...

Giger: PSU has some big problems that will be hard to solve

So, what are we to make of this mess? Penn State got destroyed Saturday at Michigan, 42-7. It has lost to all three of its top challengers in the Big Ten East, including at home to Ohio State and Michigan State. The offense went from awesome to awful in the blink of an eye. Trace McSorley ...

Housed: Michigan has way with Lions

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Big House is too big for Penn State. For the second time in three years, the Nittany Lions laid an egg against the Wolverines, losing 42-7, before 111,747 Saturday at Michigan Stadium. Two years ago, the 49-10 loss was early in the third season of James Franklin’s ...

Bell’s presence couldn’t hurt team

PITTSBURGH — Aw, who needs Le’Veon Bell, right? That’s been the prevailing sentiment lately as Bell’s contract holdout continues with no end or logic in sight. His absence has coincided with some record-setting work by replacement James Conner. In last Sunday’s game against ...

Staff’s growing pains show

For better or worse over its long history, but mostly for the better, Penn State football has been spoiled by the stability of its coaching staff. Even with Bill O’Brien’s two years, Penn State has only had four head coaches in the last 68 years. Of course, Joe Paterno’s 46-year ...

Giger: Saint Francis athletics enjoying wide success

LORETTO — Rob Krimmel arrived at Saint Francis as a basketball player in 1996 and has never left, so as a Red Flash lifer, he’s seen his share of struggles within the athletic department. Men’s basketball, in particular, went through some very lean years, and when the signature program ...

PSU well positioned for future contention

The Wolverines look like they have the inside track to the College Football Playoff, at least this year, but I’ll go out on a limb and say Penn State will get to the CFP first. Penn State is not a final four candidate this year, having squandered that opportunity by dropping consecutive ...

Begrudgingly picking Michigan in spite of overrated Harbaugh

Ugh. I hate taking the side of Jim Harbaugh, the most overrated coach in college football, on just about anything. But I will here, based on some simple facts and personal assumptions. Michigan, No. 5 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings, has a strong mathematical chance to make ...

Steelers make no moves at deadline

PITTSBURGH — Good news. The NFL trading deadline passed Tuesday afternoon, and that ended all the crackpot Le’Veon Bell trade rumors. He’ll either play for the Steelers, or he’ll stay home and lose in excess of $800,000 every time his erstwhile teammates play a game. The Steelers ...

Franklin brought criticism on himself after ‘elite’ comments

We almost — almost! — got to hear James Franklin let loose with some real frustration and perhaps even anger during his postgame press conference following Saturday’s win over Iowa. It would have been interesting to see and hear, if for no other reason than we seldom have gotten to see ...

Steelers play with tragedy on minds

PITTSBURGH — Sunday dawned gray and gloomy in Pittsburgh with a persistent drizzle. It was one of those days when the elements matched the mood. The Steelers played the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field, just a few miles from the spot where a hideous tragedy was making international ...

Browns not so easy anymore

PITTSBURGH — The Cleveland Browns are in town today, and their visits have usually been as welcome as those from Santa Claus. It’s generally been a nice way for the Steelers to pick up an easy win. Maybe not now, though. The Browns still aren’t good, but they aren’t awful, ...

This year’s team can use some old-school methods

I feel like this is a loaded question, but I’ll take an old school argument — surprise, surprise — for the good of the order. Do I long for the days of Woody and Joe locked in a battle of 17-9 or 12-7 (both Ohio State victories, 1975-76) or even a Penn State offensive breakout of 19-0 ...

Give me potent offenses over 3 yards and a cloud of dust

Old-school Big Ten football, with all due respect to Neil and anyone else, was boring. Give me spread offenses. Give me clever game plans. Give me high-concept passing attacks. Give me points, lots of them. Don’t give me 14-10 or 13-6 games, or God forbid the 6-4 game that made your eyes ...