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B1G 2021, Penn State Potluck #3: A Sticky Schedule

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What is a grilled sticky? We look at Ye Olde College Diner and a Penn State food tradition.

Illinois v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Well would you look at that? It’s Thursday of Penn State Week.

Been great to see some of our old friends from the Penn State world this year, make some new friends, and talk everything from Amish chicken pot pie to Pittsburgh cookie tables.

Today we’ve got your Penn State football record predictions! Sidle up to the ol’ OTE Bar, grab a cocktail, and

The Food: Grilled Stickies

I’m still not entirely sure what’s happening here, but the “grilled sticky” is apparently a Penn State staple?

The New York Times described the stickies as “an elongated cinnamon roll that, after baking, is reheated on a greased grill and served piping hot, sometimes with ice cream on top.” They were featured in Rick Sebak’s 1993 documentary “Pennsylvania Diners & Other Roadside Restaurants.”

Its originator, Ye Olde College Diner, no longer exists, but the memory lives on:

While Ye Olde College Diner is no more, the Grilled Stickies business is still owned by the same family, actively producing the beloved pastry. Grilled Stickies remain a local tradition, now produced just a few miles down the road in Boalsburg.

So tell me, writers:

  1. Any experience with the grilled sticky? Wouldja?
  2. What’s a local—preferably college, but anything else is fine—sweet treat that you’d recommend near your house or campus?
  3. If there was one local tradition, culinary or otherwise, that you could bring back, what would it be?

Kind of...: (1) Yes. Besides being pretty far on the “will try any food once” side of things, that looks legitimately good, if perhaps unnecessary (but I repeat myself).

(2) The cookies/cake thing is still on my mind, so bear with me as I ignore part of the question. But, growing up in the middle of nowhere, with a childhood further in the past than most or yours, monster cookies were a treat. There are now a million recipes for monster cookies, everybody knows what they are, etc., so I claim no home/campus origin story. Still, there are two non-negotiables for me to pretend you’re actually talking about a monster cookie and not some “I substituted M&Ms for chocolate chips and accidentally spilled a little oatmeal in too” bullshit. First, NO FLOUR. Second, eat it frozen or recently removed from the freezer. Yes, the latter is more a matter of taste, but trust me.

(3) I attended a couple years of school before my school closed owing to low enrollment. The school where I graduated from closed a few years back. Time passes and too many local traditions to mention have passed with it, and I already ranted about monster cookies, so let’s move on.

BRT:

  1. I maintain that cream cheese frosting is the finest adornment a cinnamon roll can hope for, but this still looks good, and I’d certainly try it.
  2. Near campus, I definitely recommend Ivanna Cone - it’s not reinventing ice cream, it just does it extremely well. There’s a new player in town called 402 Creamery that’s also near the stadium and also has excellent ice cream. Why not try both so you can thoughtfully compare? Downtown Lincoln is also home to the Cookie Company, which has been around at least as long as I’ve been alive (looked it up, they’ve been around since 1981) and I’m a big fan. Again, nothing revolutionary about these cookies, but they are big and delicious, which are two of the best things a cookie can be, IMO.
  3. Having a winning football team.

MNW:

  1. I’d specifically do it with the ice cream on top. That looks delicious.
  2. Evanston is such a shithole devoid of anything fun that people lost their minds over a custard shop that eventually went out of business. There was also a patisserie in town of some kind, but I was too busy shotgunning Milano cookies I bought while drunk at 7/11.
  3. The Keg of Evanston counts as a culinary tradition. Failing that, I would bring back the Goose Island beer tent at Northwestern games. I never got to experience it.

Stew:

  1. Hell yeah, I’d eat that. That looks amazing. A cinnamon roll, crisped and caramelized on a hot grill with ice cream? Genius.
  2. For sweet treats in Decorah, you gotta hit up the Whippy Dip, the local ice cream stand that’s closed during the winter. Nothing quite like taking a sixer for tubing down the Upper Iowa river, and then getting out and stopping by the Whippy Dip. Pretty perfect afternoon, right there.
  3. Under Hayden Fry, Iowa would do the Hokey Pokey after big wins. That was fun, and goofy, and a little bit of a finger in the eye to opponents, and I’d love for it to come back.

The Football: S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!

There’s, uh...there’s a degree of difficulty here.

It’s anyone’s guess on that curtain-raiser for the Nittany Lions—obviously wisconsin is nothing to sleep on, though that should be a pretty interesting opening test of “Can Penn State’s defense stop the run?”

As opposed to a pretty blase non-conference, this year Penn State surrounds the Ball State MACtion—the only mid-major the Nits struggle with is Pitt—and Villanova FCS date with...well, a lot. Auburn will mark the only regular-season B1G-SEC showdown of 2021, while Indiana is the Lions’ competition for second-place in the East and a road trip to Iowa...well, roadies at Camp Randall and Kinnick aren’t ideal. But we’ll have an idea of if this is a garden-variety “fine” Penn State or a truly strong squad.

You know the drill from there: there’s a Michigan and a Michigan State somewhere in there, the usual Rutgers and Maryland wins-til-they’re-losses drill, and an Illinois crossover to give James Franklin a little respite from the best of the West.

So tell me, writers:

  1. How does Penn State finish in the Big Ten in 2021? How do they finish overall? Show your work.
  2. How much longer do you give James Franklin in Happy Valley?
  3. Which SEC team would you love to see in a non-conference game—and no, you can’t count Texas or Oklahoma...yet.

Kind of...: (1) Conditional hot take warning!!! IF PSU beats either UW or Iowa on the road, they’re going to go 11-1, surprise OSU in the Horseshoe, and win the West [Yes, pedants, if they win both of those games, I’m predicting 12-0. If they lose both, then let’s just say 8-4/5-4 with a dicktrip in there somewhere.]

Now, this prediction is as much about my hunch the OSU can’t go undefeated in B1G play forever, than it is about the quality of PSU this year. However, winning a tough road game in the first half of the season would be a good indication that this is a high-caliber PSU team. Plus, if this is right, then the B1G title game is likely to be a rematch (UW/PSU or Iowa/PSU), which would be intriguing in it’s own right (past examples: 2011 classic, 2012 blowout, 2019 first half scare). Either way, PSU/Auburn will be very interesting with new offensive schemes on both sides (Yurich vs. Harsin/Bobo).

(2) I think he knows his act won’t play in the NFL, but he’s almost 50, so he’s unlikely to be a hot prospect for any of the few better jobs. As long as last year was a blip, I think he’s there for the long haul.

(3) I know this will sound weird, but Mississippi State. I want to see Jim Leonhard’s defense rain holy hell. Leach is a caricature of himself at this point. I have no idea what the second biggest victory of his career is, but he’s committed to being Mr. Pirate Genius hot taek guy. Cool. Let’s go.

BRT:

  1. I’m going to say 8-4. Wins against Ball State, Villanova, Illinois, Rutgers, Maryland, and MSU. Then two more of Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana, and Michigan. PSU’s trajectory last season was really interesting though - I’m curious to see if they have a slow start again, or if their righting of the ship in the last half of the season is something they can carry through and be a formidable team from the get-go this time.
  2. It’s fun to make fun of Franklin, but I must say I was impressed with last season. Yes, they sucked to begin the year. But usually, when a team starts like that, they suck the rest of the season too. Or, you start the season well and then implode. To actually pick your team up from starting 0-5 and then finish the season without losing again is pretty impressive from a coaching standpoint. If they win fewer than 7 games this season, he might be on shaky ground, but anything more than that and I think he’s ok.
  3. Give me Arkansas, Tennessee, or Vanderbilt. We’d have a shot in those games, maybe.

MNW:

  1. Let’s say 9-3, with losses at wisconsin and Iowa, plus Ohio State. Auburn will be there to give Penn State hope. 9-3 (6-3).
  2. Honestly, I didn’t choose that question for an earlier Potluck because...well, it finally feels like Penn State has reached a stasis? They’re a plenty good team, get in quality players, and have yet to have a disastrous season in a normal year. Unless he bottoms out at a couple consecutive 6-6 years, he’s there until he bolts, in my mind. (Maybe I’m wrong and Big State Money has aligned behind firing, but...)
  3. I’d love to bring back the Northwestern-Vanderbilt series, not least of all because Vandy sucks. Otherwise I think a Northwestern-Mizzou matchup would be the riiiiiight amount of insufferable because gods, the journalism schoolers...

Stew:

  1. 9-3 (6-3) sounds about right to me. I don’t think Auburn is going to be all that tough, really. And road games in the first half of the season against Iowa and wisconsin seem like they could be trouble. And with that schedule, that’s pretty damn good.
  2. I think he could probably be there for a while now, with the way they keep recruiting. However, I just don’t really see them catching OSU any time soon, and with the way they are recruiting, is that going to be enough to satisfy the hordes? It should be, but well, just look at Auburn.
  3. You’d think that Iowa has played just about every SEC team in one Outback bowl or another, but really, it’s mostly been Florida. And ugh, no. The couple of times Iowa’s played LSU it’s been fun, and I think I’d like the contrast with Ole Miss right now. Though, it would also be kind of fun to beat Mike Leach again running cover two the entire time (that’s a 2001 Alamo Bowl reference, baby!).

Poll

How does Penn State finish in the Big Ten in 2021?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    3-6 or worse
    (3 votes)
  • 2%
    4-5
    (5 votes)
  • 9%
    5-4
    (19 votes)
  • 21%
    6-3
    (43 votes)
  • 25%
    7-2
    (51 votes)
  • 24%
    8-1
    (50 votes)
  • 15%
    9-0
    (31 votes)
202 votes total Vote Now

Poll

That’s good for...

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    1st in the East
    (41 votes)
  • 54%
    2nd in the East
    (103 votes)
  • 15%
    3rd in the East
    (30 votes)
  • 7%
    4th or worse in the East
    (14 votes)
188 votes total Vote Now

Poll

And overall, Penn State finishes...

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    5-7 or worse
    (4 votes)
  • 2%
    6-6
    (5 votes)
  • 5%
    7-5
    (11 votes)
  • 13%
    8-4
    (26 votes)
  • 22%
    9-3
    (43 votes)
  • 23%
    10-2
    (46 votes)
  • 17%
    11-1
    (34 votes)
  • 13%
    12-0
    (26 votes)
195 votes total Vote Now