Sports Columns

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 ...

Steelers need to think about trades

PITTSBURGH — The NFL trading deadline usually passes with scant interest among Steelers fans. This year is different. Patrick Peterson, cornerback for the Arizona Cardinals, has made it known he would like to be traded before the Oct. 30 deadline. This would make perfect sense for the ...

Play calling at PSU not a good thing

For the third straight game Saturday, Penn State’s offensive playcalling late in the contest left many people wondering, “What in the world are you doing???” It’s a big problem, and quite frankly, it’s getting to the point where you truly have to wonder if James Franklin and his ...

Opponent helps Lions get well

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Somebody brought up the last-minute onside kick that Penn State didn’t recover, and Nick Scott smiled. “I decided to make it a little more interesting,” the Nittany Lions’ senior safety said after Penn State, despite giving Indiana an extra breath with 49 seconds ...

Admission of lack of effort surprising

PITTSBURGH — Manny Machado is being paid $16 million to play baseball. Effort is not necessarily part of that package. Machado, now with the Los Angeles Dodgers, did an interview with Ken Rosenthal last week that is remarkable for being both candid and clueless. Machado, 26, admitted to ...

PSU, WVU team for good cause

Kudos to all involved with the Penn State-West Virginia men’s basketball exhibition game Nov. 3 in Morgantown, W.Va., that will be televised by AT&T Sportsnet Pittsburgh. The made-for-charity and scooped-up-for-TV event offers a nice feel-good vibe. While game time remains up in the ...

What you need to know for pheasant season

Much distress and disagreement was voiced with the new plan for pheasant licenses and rules last season. Here below is exactly what the Game Commission has changed for this year. The statewide pheasant season opens Saturday, and it promises to be a memorable one for hunters ...

Proper field care makes great game dinners

Last week, I treated myself to two evenings of fine dining. Those wonderful dinners, however, weren’t in some fancy, expensive restaurant. Each meal was prepared in my kitchen, and I served as my own personal chef. The first entree was fried striped bass fillets dusted with Old Bay ...

Lions need veteran WRs to respond

Some nitpicking as the Nittany Lions attempt to avoid a three-game losing streak: Much of this week’s discussion centered around Penn State’s veteran receivers, and while there’s no doubt that the combination of Juwan Johnson, Brandon Polk and DeAndre Thompkins have been a collective ...

Big game, and a big decision for Kershaw

Even before he took the mound to twirl a playoff masterpiece, the talk was it could be the last time Clayton Kershaw — who has an opt-out clause in the contract that will pay him $65 million the next two years — wears the Dodgers home whites. That would be bad for the Dodgers on two ...

Two losses not terrible, but blowing leads is

It’s easy to lose perspective in sports. But it’s also important to always keep things in context. I do believe this season already is a disappointment for Penn State. Even if the Lions finish 10-2, it will be a disappointment, and in fact, that might even make things even worse. If ...

Cincy LB very far from Burfict

PTTSBURGH — Vontaze Burfict was sneaky dirty this time. The Cincinnati Bengals linebacker dropped an elbow on Antonio Brown’s head that TV cameras saw but game officials didn’t. After that, players reported that Burfict yelled across the line of scrimmage, “You’re next” at ...

Connecting through soccer, art

At first glance her jobs may seem vastly different: Pam Snyder Etters is head coach of the Penn State Altoona women’s soccer team and the executive director of the Altoona Symphony. She’s also the team leader and lead artist for “Murals Talk,” an initiative designed to foster ...

Has Penn State football program already peaked under Franklin?

It’s time to face some hard truths about the Penn State football program following a second straight gut-wrenching loss in which the team gave away the game in the final minutes. First and foremost, I can’t help but wonder if what we’ve already seen is really as good as it’s going to ...