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Penn State Potluck Appetizer - Taralli

Penn State...the First Immigrant to the B1G in Decades. In that vein, it's Potluck Italiano Baby! Mangiare Bene!

This is the B1G East...the Nouveau B1G, if you will. We have a different ethnic identity than you placid mid-westerners.

So, how do you recognize an outgoing Norwegian? He talks to your shoes, instead of his own.

How do you recognize an outgoing Italian? That's a joke...we're all outgoing.

Here in the East, we're brash, proud, the Italian and Irish immigrants that mixed in the churches of our big cities and sent their progeny to our Land-Grant Colleges.

We're going old-school Italian this week, just like Nonna used to make (god rest her soul).

For appetizer, we start with taralli, a crunchy little hoop of hard dough. Usually flavored with fennel seed, it's resembles a pretzel, only much better. Nonna usually had taralli, thin slices of proscuitto ham, and maybe a small piece of grana padano cheese. Paired with a nice glass of red wine (or a Peroni beer), these are the snacks before the meal.

Now let's talk football...

Penn State is back, baby! The depleted roster days of the sanctions are over.

You heard me...Sanctions are no longer an excuse for poor play or poor coaching. James Franklin is officially on on the clock. We're back to a full complement of players. We have a (semi) experienced coaching's on.

That said, we're neck deep in the B1G Conference. We have a murder's row of conference games. With that in mind, ive us your worst case and best case scenarios for next season? Does Penn State make a bowl? If so, do we go to a good bowl or the sad trombone bowl?

Aaron Yorke: "Does Penn State make a bowl?" Are people really that low on the program? That should make this year way more fun. I'm very bullish on the offense with Trace McSorely having a terrific spring game and the crazy talent PSU has at tailback and wide receiver. If the offensive line just improves a little bit, we really could have something here. So I'll go with nine wins. Kent State, at Pitt, Temple, Minnesota, Maryland, at Purdue, at Indiana, at Rutgers, and one of the tough games, probably home against Iowa.

Worst case? The new quarterback is worse than the old quarterback, the defense doesn't get a pass rush going, and Penn State goes 6-6.

GF3: Worst case for you is hilarious case for everyone else. You found a running back! Yay! If the poor guy still has five colorblind bean bag chairs blocking for him, he'll be the strongest player ever to average -2 per carry. Your best case scenario is that even one of your sorely lacking units from last year's offense improves enough to sneak a surprise win over a power like OSU or MSU. I think PSU beats Michigan this year. Do they make a bowl? Um...5-7 Nebraska made a bowl. I think PSU will be a-ok on that front.

DJ: Your worst case scenario is my best case scenario: You go somewhere around 5-7 or 6-6 because your OL hasn't improved one bit or your replacement at QB isn't as good as expected. You'll still get to a bowl game because apparently the 6-6 rule doesn't matter but it's still LOL oh so enjoyable to watch PSU meltdowns. Best case scenario is 8-4 because you've upset one of OSU, MSU, Michigan or Iowa. My guess is Iowa because I don't see Franklin out coaching any of the prior three but at some point unless Franklin is the reincarnation of Brady Hoke all of the recruiting talent is going to start doing things at PSU. My guess on the PSU season? 7-5, losing to those four plus Pitt (lol).

Stew: Worst case? What's the minimum number of wins for Franklin to keep his job? That is PSU's worst case. Or is he safe this year no matter what? If that's true, then I'd say 3 wins is the absolute worst case. The QB situation is a mess, the defense isn't ready, and the OL is as it was. Pitt, I have been informed, is it; Temple comes into Happy Valley, confirming that PSU is, at best, the 3rd best college football team in the Pennsylvania; the new coaches at Maryland and Rutgers are enough to squeak them by, leaving PSU with only Purdue for a conference win.

Best case would be the talent starts to show through, Hack really was that awful, and Franklin just gets out of the way. Might be enough for 9 wins.

All this being said, I think it's somewhere in the middle, 7-5 or 8-4.

C4B: After a quick look at the schedule, I think your best case is probably in the 8-4 range. That assumes you don't have any major screw ups (Temple says hi), but also means you don't take a game off the big boys either (and boy, does it feel weird including Iowa in that). That likely puts you into a solid bowl game (maybe even something in a warm climate in December or January), which may or may not be what you'd like, but not too bad either.

Worst case? If things haven't improved drastically from last year, there's a path that ends with 3 total victories, and probably gets James Franklin fired, because Kent State and two of Temple, Purdue, Maryland, Indiana, and Rutgers isn't the most inspiring of seasons.

AlNamiasIV: Best-case scenario is the offensive line can stop a two-man rush, the new OC doesn't destroy the new quarterback, and the skill players are allowed to do what talented skill players can do. Throw in a rebuilt, but generally consistent defense and PSU could conceivably squeak its way to 9-3 with a huge shocker over one of the B1G East three plus a win over either Iowa or Pitt.

Worst case is 5-7. PSU probably won't drop one like Temple last year, but outside of Temple, KSU and Purdue, all of the games are loseable. There is a fair amount of talent at the skill positions, but that won't mean anything if the line and new quarterback can't come together. Meanwhile, the defense most of what was a solid front four and James Franklin just hasn't looked like he knows what he's doing.

That said, my guess is 7-5/ 8-4.