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Sports Columns

College playoff still creating controversy

When the College Football Playoff system was mercifully installed back in 2014, coaches, players, fans and media breathed a collective sigh of relief. The process of determining the national champion would presumably finally be cut and dried, and decided on the field, with none of the ...

Lions can let loose vs. Illini

Some nitpicking as Penn State’s home season (for sure this time) concludes: n With three games canceled, and uncertainty over the availability of some key Ohio State players in the Big Ten title game, there’s an anti-climatic cloud over the entire conference today, and, surely, Penn ...

PSU football: McGloin’s amazing story shows ultimate underdog

Christian Hackenberg was a five-star recruit. So was Anthony Morelli. Penn State’s recent four-star quarterback recruits include Rob Bolden, Pat Devlin, Paul Jones and Kevin Newsome. I can hear your collective groans. Not a single one of those guys ever went on to start a game at ...

Finish line for PSU football season, mercifully, should be near

Kickoff Saturday: Michigan State (2-4) at Penn State (2-5), Noon TV: ABC Latest line: Penn State is favored by 14.5 points With all the uncertainty that has surrounded this year, college football’s goal was really pretty simple: Just get the season in. And for the Nittany Lions, by ...

MLB deals blow to heartland

(Editor’s note: This is a national commentary on MLB’s reduction of minor league franchises from 160 to 120. The Altoona Curve survived; the State College Spikes did not but will be participating in a new MLB sponsored league for draft prospects next summer.) Minor league baseball ...

Area gyms remain silent for now

Tonight was supposed to be the first night of competition for the winter scholastic sports season, but in District 6, there won’t be any tip-offs, grappling or dives into a pool. And there might not be for quite some time. The PIAA decided not to delay the season at its meeting Wednesday, ...

New identity imposing Nittany Lions’ will

Football teams often talk about an identity. Through their 0-5 start, the Nittany Lions didn’t have one, other than a losing identity. They certainly didn’t have a defensive identity as they were lit up for 30 points weekly. Nor could they throw the ball effectively, even though they ...

Penn State’s Ciarrocca hasn’t lost confidence

Lion time Today: Penn State at Rutgers, noon Records: Penn State (1-5); Rutgers (2-4) TV: Fox Sports 1 Latest line: PSU favored by 11.5 When things aren’t going well — despite Penn State’s one-game winning streak – coaches who have enjoyed past success typically refer to their ...

Victory breathes life back into Nittany Lions

There’s a fine line between winning and losing, but there’s a wide gap on how outcomes affect certain teams. Especially teams with big dreams. Penn State’s 27-17 victory Saturday at Michigan in an empty Big House sent a much-needed infusion of positivity through the Nittany Lions, who ...

Time for Lions to start looking ahead

Since Penn State has never been 0-5, there’s no reference point in how the Nittany Lions handled that adversity. The closest stretch of futility was the early 2000s when the Lions managed four losing seasons in five years. Joe Paterno wanted a chance to bring the program back and kept ...

Sports hangs by thread of the almighty dollar

The games will go on, hanging by the thread of the almighty dollar. Even as the coronavirus rages out of control over wide swaths of the country, and some facets of society are beginning to shut down again in hopes of stemming the deadly tide, there are no plans to shutter sports like they ...

SFU, Krimmel worthy of praise after huge win over Pitt program

Saint Francis beat Pitt. I never thought I would write those words. So I’ll write them again. Saint Francis beat Pitt. It wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t an accident. It wasn’t a crazy finish. It was a dominant performance from start to finish by the Red Flash, who beat Pitt, 80-70, ...

Wasn’t easy, but fall sports hit finish line

Remarkably, the fall scholastic sports season in the area has been completed. Unlike years past when certain team or individual accolades stood out, just getting to the finish line is the accomplishment that will be most remembered. Throughout the summer, it was unclear whether local ...

O-line at head of Nits’ problems

UNIVERSITY PARK — If you can’t make a yard, you don’t deserve to win. That old football axiom was on full display Saturday as Penn State’s 41-21 loss to Iowa was unfolding. With the Nittany Lions down 10-7 in the second quarter, they faced third-and-1 at their 49. Did they go ...

PSU has lots to think about when benching a QB

To answer this week’s question: Absolutely. Much as coaches want to treat players the same, regardless of position, it just doesn’t, and can’t, work that way. Quarterback is the most important position on the team — one of the most important positions in all of sports. Coaches ...

PSU coaches should not treat QBs with kid gloves

There’s no I in team. There’s also no QB in team. No one is above the entire team. No one. If one player is messing up so badly that he’s a huge reason why a team is losing games, then that player has to be benched. Even if it’s the quarterback. OK, so most everyone agrees ...

For Nits, red zone becomes Red Sea

When the book is someday written on “Inventing New Ways to Lose,” presuming he look back and laugh about it, say 20-plus years from now, James Franklin could provide a chapter on Penn State’s 2020 visit to Nebraska. When, for the second straight week, the Nittany Lion offense gave up a ...

Franklin takes steps to save season

In starting out 0-3, Penn State has already lost what it thought was a chance to be in the Big Ten East title race, if not in the running for the College Football Playoff. Beginning today, we’ll find out if James Franklin has lost more than just three games. We’ll find out if he has ...