Tag:Joe Paterno
Posted on: June 24, 2011 3:41 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 4:20 pm

Hot Seat Ratings: Happy marriages or honeymoons?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Dennis Dodd posted his annual list of Hot Seat Ratings today, so if you haven't perused them all, do so at once. At once, I say! Right now, let's focus on some of the untouchables, the 32 coaches who scored a 0.0-0.5 rating. Suffice it to say none of them are getting fired this year (or even next) without a major, unforeseeable catastrophe befalling the program. But past that, what coaches are truly untouchable, and who's just still on a honeymoon? Here's a look at 15 of those coaches, five for each category in the schools' alphabetical order, listed with Dodd's hot seat ratings.


Gene Chizik, Auburn, 0.0: Hear me out. Chizik is absolutely a 0.0 on Dodd's scale this year, and he would be even if the NCAA somehow finds a way to make Auburn vacate the 2010 BCS Championship (though that seems extremely unlikely at this juncture). But Auburn is expected to struggle this year, and while it's easy now to say that the title has earned Chizik a five-year grace period, what happens if Gus Malzahn gets a high-major head coaching offer and Kiehl Frazier doesn't pan out? If Auburn struggles through two straight .500 seasons and Malzahn takes off, that 0.0 turns into a 2.0 pretty soon.
Will Muschamp, Florida, 0.5: Muschamp is one of the most dynamic and promising new head coaches in the last decade or so, but the fact remains that he's a 39-year-old, first-year head coach at a "win right now" program. Oh, and John Brantley is still his quarterback. If Muschamp can't get his Gators back above the South Carolina Gamecocks in the SEC East pecking order, his seat's going to ignite in a hurry.
Chip Kelly, Oregon, 0.0: The other coach coming off a 2010 BCS Championship berth also has two things working against him: a track record of only two seasons as head coach, and the possibility of major NCAA violations. For Kelly, the worry is more the latter than the former, and depending on where this business with Willie Lyles and Lache Seastrunk's recruitment ends up, Kelly could find himself in way more hot water than a 22-4 coach has any right to be. That's all "ifs" right now though, so for now, the honeymoon is still on.
Doug Marrone, Syracuse, 0.5: Marrone enters his third year with the Orange after guiding the once-proud program to a 36-34 Pinstripe Bowl victory over Kansas State last year -- Syracuse's first bowl win since 2001. He's got a solid core of skill players back, but the overall talent level at Syracuse is still low enough that a moderate rash of injuries could be enough to plunge Syracuse back to the level of 3-5 wins in 2011, and that's a good way to snap fans back into remembering that the Pinstripe Bowl is just... the Pinstripe Bowl. Marrone's still got a lot of work to do.
Steve Sarkisian, Washington, 0.5: Like Marrone, Sarkisian has performed the rather remarkable feat of turning around a program that had been mired in sub-mediocrity for the majority of the '00s. But like Marrone, the program's talent level isn't BCS-caliber yet, and unlike Marrone, Sark has to contend with losing a first-round draft pick senior quarterback, Jake Locker. Further, Washington's road schedule is brutal this year; the Huskies'll probably have to win at least two home games between California, Arizona, and Oregon just to get back to .500.


Jimbo Fisher, Florida State, 0.5: That Bobby Bowden transition wasn't so bad after all, was it? That's because Fisher guided FSU to 10 wins in his very first year... unlike the last six years of the Bowden era. Seminole fans are going to start raising expectations to the levels of the mid-'90s, so four losses and an ACC Championship loss aren't going to cut it forever, but Fisher's recruiting well enough to restore FSU to glory quickly.
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa, 0.5: How comfortably ensconced at Iowa is Ferentz? He's been coaching at Iowa for 12 years, and in seven of them, Iowa has suffered at least five losses. Ferentz runs a clean coaching staff, but there have been a couple isolated stretches of off-field embarrassments for the Hawkeyes -- and the rhabdo case certainly didn't help matters. But he's well-loved in Iowa City all the same, and the fact that he has turned down offers from Michigan and several NFL teams is not lost on Iowa fans or administrators. Moreover, his teams haven't been bad since his first two years on campus, and he's producing a double-digit win season once per three years; if he keeps that pace up, he'll be at Iowa for as long as he wants.
Charlie Strong, Louisville, 0.5: Strong has only been at Louisville for one season, but he's already got a winning season under his belt (unlike the disastrous reign of his predecessor, Steve Kragthorpe), and he's recruiting well enough (in particular, QB signee Teddy Bridgewater) to keep Louisville winning in perpetuity. If Strong leaves, it's because a powerhouse came calling; he's legit, and everybody at Louisville knows it. If he delivers a BCS win, you can move him into the last category here.
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State, 0.5: Dantonio has been more successful at Michigan State than Nick Saban was. Mark Dantonio is therefore a better coach than Nick Saban. QED. If Dantonio can avoid any more health scares and start routinely challenging for Big Ten (sigh) Legends division championships, he's set for life in East Lansing. Easier said than done with Nebraska coming to town and Michigan likely to rebound from the recent swoon, though.
Bo Pelini, Nebraska, 0.5: Bo Pelini has done a fine job in his first three years as Nebraska head coach, and on first glance, it appears the young coach is the perfect candidate to lead the Huskers into the Big Ten. There's been an odd sense of impermanence from Pelini's stay at Nebraska though; it's unclear whether it comes from his tempermental sideline behavior (and his brother's) or his itinerant career thus far -- this fourth season as Huskers head coach makes this the longest coaching job Pelini has ever held. Whatever it is, he seems to lack the stable, staid nature of his longer-tenured fellow coaches. That's not insignificant; if a coach can make his fans and boosters believe he's got everything under control when things go south for a year or two, his seat can stay nice and cool for longer. Pelini is respected, but he's not quite there yet.


Nick Saban, Alabama, 0.0: Saban delivered a national championship to Tuscaloosa in his second year there, and his Crimson Tide have finished with three straight AP Top 10 finishes. He's the highest-paid coach in college football for a reason: he earns it.
Chris Peterson, Boise State, 0.5: Peterson basically ruined the WAC for everybody else, going 61-5 as Boise's head man. Sure, you can wonder where he'd be without Kellen Moore, but Peterson did beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl with Jared Zabransky behind center. Now that Utah and TCU are both running off to BCS conferences, expect Boise to dominate the Mountain West for as long as Peterson's there.
Chris Ault, Nevada, 0.0: If this scale could go into negative numbers, Ault would be at least a -10. He's a College Football Hall of Famer who has overseen Nevada's rise from Division II to the upper echelon of the FBS mid-majors. Ault is a true Nevada lifer: he played QB for the Wolfpack in the '60s, and he's on his 26th year as a head coach with the program (his 39th overall in some facet with the Nevada athletic department). He is never, ever, ever getting fired. 
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern, 0.0: Fitzgerald just signed a contract extension that has 10 years on it, but is a de facto lifetime contract. He'll probably be in Evanston for at least the next 20 years. Seems crazy to say something like that about Northwestern football, doesn't it? But here it is and here we are.
Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech, 0.0: The Hokies owe as much to Beamer as just about any program and current coach in the country (other than the aforementioned Nevada and Ault or Penn State and Joe Paterno, who might as well get the school named after him upon retirement). When the ACC realigned in 2005 to include a championship game, the divisions were set up to ensure the possibility of Miami and FSU meeting every season. Instead, it's been Virginia Tech dominating the conference, appearing in four of six championship games and winning three. The ACC is Frank Beamer's conference, so the very notion of a hot seat for Beamer is essentially unimaginable.
Posted on: June 21, 2011 11:58 am
Edited on: June 21, 2011 1:12 pm

Joe Paterno breaks NCAA rules too

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It seems there is no coach out there who isn't capable of breaking an NCAA rule from time to time as even Joe Paterno, the legendary head coach at Penn State, can find himself running afoul of the NCAA. In a recent interview with ESPN for a show he's doing with Duke's head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, Paterno came clean about a minor violation he committed recently.

Passing by Holuba Hall, where several football players were conducting unsupervised workouts, Paterno stopped to watch for a few minutes without speaking to anyone, he said. Suitably impressed, he returned to his office where he reported to the coaching staff that at least one player had looked good and caught his eye.

"You know you broke a rule?" someone said, pointing out that coaches aren't permitted to watch players working out before the start of practice in August.

Penn State spokesman Jeff Nelson said the university will report the incident to the NCAA.

"Our compliance office is aware and will relay the circumstances to determine if there was a secondary violation," Nelson said.

Bring the hammer down on them! Sanction Penn State back to the Stone Age!

Seriously, this isn't a big deal at all, and I highly doubt anything will come of it. Though it does highlight how silly some of the rules the NCAA puts in place. I mean, oh the horror of a football coach watching his players work out. Soon he might say something nefarious like "good job!" 

Posted on: June 14, 2011 3:29 pm

Pitt, Penn State to renew rivalry in 2016

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

One of college football's classic rivalries is back.

Well, it'll be back five years from now. But whatever the timeframe, that old archrivals Pitt and Penn State have reached an agreement to renew their series with a home-and-home arrangement in 2016 and 2017 is welcome news indeed.

Because it wasn't that long ago that the Panthers and Nittany Lions were playing one of the biggest annual games in Division I, as both Joe Paterno's Penn State teams and Johnny Majors' Pitt squads ranked among the best teams in the country in the late '70s and early '80s. But with both formerly-independent teams finding conferences and Pitt's fortunes (in particular) on the national level in decline, the rivalry waned, and was last played in 2000 when Pitt won a 12-0 slugfest.

The Panthers are scheduled play host to the first game of the home-and-home Sept. 10, 2016, at Heinz Field. The return date in Happy Valley is set for Sept. 16 of the following year.

For a taste of what the rivalry used to be like, enjoy this report on the 1976 meeting, featuring a Sugar Bowl-bound Pitt squad featuring Tony Dorsett ...

... or this bounty of highlights from the Nittany Lions' 1981 48-14 demolition of undefeated, No. 1 Pitt:

Posted on: May 27, 2011 1:03 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 9:56 am

CBSSports.com College Football 100: 80-71

By the Eye on College Football bloggers

To celebrate the 100 99 98 days remaining until the first Saturday of the new college football season, this is the CBSSports.com College Football 100: our countdown of the 2011 season's 100 most influential players, coaches, administrators, venues, or any other related
things in college football. It's like that other "most influential" list, but, you know, more important. Also: it's supposed to be fun. Enjoy.

80. KIRK COUSINS, quarterback, Michigan State. Saying a team has "a lot to prove" after an 11-win season usually bodes poorly for how the season ended, and for Michigan State, that's no exception; the Spartans went 11-2, but those two losses were a 37-6 shellacking by Iowa and a 49-7 massacre in the Capital One Bowl against Alabama that didn't even seem that close. It was bad. Fortunately, MSU has the personnel to put together another strong showing in 2011.

The backfield hydra of Le'Veon Bell, Edwin Baker and Larry Caper will be the main focus of MSU's offense, but just like with Wisconsin's massive rushing attack last year, it's the senior quarterback at the helm that'll really keep defensive coordinators up at night. Not only that, but Cousins' arm is better than Scott Tolzien's. Significantly better. This'll be Cousins' third season starting, too, and though Mark Dantonio may not need his senior QB to average over 200 passing yards per game again, it'll be hard to keep Cousins' production down--especially when he's facing eight men in the box half the time. It's not a stretch to think Cousins could lead the Big Ten in passing efficiency in 2011--and even less of a stretch to think he could lead his men to double-digit wins once again. -- AJ

79. JOE PATERNO, head coach, Penn State. JoePa gets his own special Memorial Day weekend breakout entry; read it here.

78. BRANDON LINDSEY, defensive end, Pitt. The Pittsburgh defensive end had a stellar junior season in 2010, leading the Big East in tackles for loss (18.0) and finishing second in sacks (10.0). The Panthers have all new leadership up top, with Todd Graham in as head coach and Keith Patterson coming with him from Tulsa as defensive coordinator. Patterson is moving Pitt to a 3-4 defense that utilizes a hybrid "Panther linebacker," one often standing at the line of scrimmage.

The plan, according to Patterson and Graham, is to put Lindsey's explosiveness to use at that new "Panther" position. Graham compared Lindsey's role in 2011 to that of James Harrison--the ultimate playmaking linebacker in the city. Unfortunately, Lindsey missed spring practice with a shoulder injury. But the coaching staff is still counting on his frightening burst and ability to swarm to the ball in the backfield once fall camp opens. If Lindsey racked up 18 tackles for loss coming off the line, it would not be surprising to see the senior among the nation's leaders in his new role. -- CP

77. TRAVIS LEWIS, linebacker, Oklahoma. Travis Lewis's importance to the Oklahoma defense was already enough to warrant his inclusion on this list before the tragic recent death of fellow linebacker Austin Box. Now, not only will Lewis be looked to to lead the defense, but also help his teammates get over the loss of a teammate. He's the senior member of the Oklahoma linebacking corps, racking up an impressive 360 tackles (47.5 for loss), 6 sacks and 8 interceptions in his first three seasons.

As impressive as Lewis has been, though, he'll have to help improve one key part of Oklahoma's defense in 2011: stopping the run. The Sooners gave up 151.8 yards per-game on the ground last season, and while that number isn't terrible, it's not good for Oklahoma on the whole. Why? Because when teams are running on Oklahoma they're killing the clock, and every second that ticks away is a second that the Sooners' high-powered offense isn't on the field. As the leader of the linebacking corps, it will be up to Lewis to help stuff the run and get the Sooner offense back on the field. Whether he's able to do this or not could be the deciding factor between a Big 12 championship and a national championship in Norman. -- TF

76. "THE FLORIDA WAY," team code of conduct, Florida. So how, exactly, did one of the nation's most talented teams suffer five regular season losses in 2010, one shy of their total for the previous four years combined? As per usual with questions like these, it wasn't one factor but a perfect [deleted]storm for the Gators: poor coaching from the coaches, poor execution from the players, poor treatment from the football gods. (How many times out of 100 does LSU's accidental bounce-pass to their kicker on their game-deciding fake field goal actually wind up in the hands of the kicker?) But in retrospect, it appeared to be poor focus that cost the Gators more than anything. With Urban Meyer at the end of his coaching rope, Florida frayed in all kinds of directions: transfer rumors, sloppy fundamentals, petty arrests, Twitter embarrassments. The effort on gameday was there; the discipline needed for it to produce Meyer's usual results was not.

Enter Will Muschamp and the "Florida Way," his name for the team's new all-encompassing code of conduct. With most coaches and most teams, we'd call this sort of thing a P.R. sop for the coaching honeymoon, and move on to on-field matters. But when it comes to the Gators, 2010 proved this is an on-field matter. Before Charlie Weis's schemes can take root, before Muschamp can create his usual teeth-rattling D, the Gators have to rebuild the foundation of focus and discipline forged in the Tim Tebow days. If they do, though -- if the still supremely-talented Gators can follow through on the "Florida Way" -- expect them to follow it right back up the SEC East standings. -- JH

75. PRESEASON TOP 25'S, polls, mid-August.  To some extent, the polls will always be the most influential component of all college football--they're what ultimately awards that national championship everybody's after, after all. (Or do through the BCS middleman, anyway.) But it's also true that the polls, for the most part, respond to the events on the field rather than vice versa.

But there's one set of ballots that not only wind up shaping the narrative of the entire season, but can and do influence results between the lines. Those are the preseason top 25's, easily the most influential polls of the season. Not do only do they establish a blueprint that forms the basis for every ballot that comes afterwards, but seemingly every year they build a wave of hype and expectation that drowns some team's championship season before it even begins. Ask Ole Miss in 2009 (the most recent, striking example) about the latter phenomenon. Ask Auburn in 2004 -- and their inability to overturn the two teams entrenched at the the top of the polls since preseason -- about the former. In college football, polls matter; the preseason variety matter even more than most. -- JH

74. JEFF GODFREY, quarterback, UCF. How do these stats sound for a starting freshman quarterback? 168-294, 2,071 passing yards, 12 TDs, 122.9 passing efficiency, 17 rushing yards, and 5 rushing TDs. Pretty solid production overall for a freshman, no? Probably one of the best freshman seasons in UCF history, right? Yes, it was one of the best: that was Daunte Culpepper's freshman year at UCF. Godfrey's, meanwhile, was better across the board.

Here's what Godfrey put up: 159-238, 2,159 passing yards, 15 TDs, 154.3 passing efficiency, 566 rushing yards, and 10 rushing TDs. Godfrey's throwing motion needs work, but the arm strength is there; he's surprisingly adept at the deep ball. Then there's the rushing. Godfrey doesn't have Denard Robinson's level of speed, but he's still darn fast--fast enough to be a nightmare for opposing secondaries when he's scrambling. Put it all together, and Godfrey -- as a true freshman -- was a more efficient passer than super-sophs Matt Barkley, Landry Jones, Robinson, Darron Thomas and even Godfrey's closest prototype: Robert Griffin III. Godfrey is already one of the brightest stars in Conference USA, and we have a feeling he's nowhere near done collecting accolades. -- AJ

73. KYLE WHITTINGHAM, head coach, Utah. One of two coaches to join the Pac-12 this year, Whittingham has been around the block before. He's got a BCS bowl win and undefeated season on his resume already, making him one of the most accomplished coaches in his new league from the get-go. His first task is trying to avoid the terrible stretch run the Utes had last season (losing three of their last five) and get them back to where they were earlier in the season.

The seventh-year head coach has plenty of weapons at his proposal and has brought in one of the school's most well known alums, Norm Chow, as offense coordinator to give the Utes a boost. Whittingham should be able to lean on Chow, who comes over from UCLA has has years of experience in the Utes' new conference. Whittingham is known more for his defensive instincts and he'll have to get the pass defense up to speed before jumping into league play and facing the Pac-12's the plethora of good quarterbacks. The schedule is manageable but most of the tough games are on the road. Welcome to the league, Kyle. -- BF

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72. GARRETT GILBERT, quarterback, Texas. It wouldn't be fair to pin the entirety of Texas' 5-7 season in 2010 on Garrett Gilbert, but it wouldn't be honest to say the young quarterback didn't have a substantial role in it either. It was never goign to be easy to just walk onto the field and fill the formidable shoes of Colt McCoy ... and Gilbert proved it. He completed nearly 60 percent of his passes, but he also completed quite a few to the wrong team, throwing 17 interceptions to only 10 touchdowns.

Obviously, if Texas is going to rebound in 2011 and get back to playing for a Big 12 title, then Gilbert is going to have to perform a lot better. Odds are he will. He has a year of experience under his belt now, and has a new offensive coordinator in Bryan Harsin, a coordinator that had quite a bit of success with quarterbacks at Boise State. If Gilbert can improve his grasp of the offense, be more efficient with his throws, and -- most importantly -- turn the ball over less, life should be a lot happier in Austin this fall. If not? Well, then heads are going to roll. -- TF

71. JAKE BEQUETTE, defensive end, Arkansas. Is it possible the fate of the SEC West -- a division featuring two consensus top-five teams -- could rest in the hands of a second-team all-conference end few fans outside the SEC (and even a good number in it) have ever heard of? It might not be likely; Alabama and LSU have the hype they have for a reason. But it's certainly possible, ironically enough because of the Razorbacks' offense.

Trust us: Ryan Mallett or no Ryan Mallett, no attack with arguably the nation's best receiving corps receiving, Knile Davis running, a veteran line blocking and (most of all) Bobby Petrino coaching will be less than outstanding. All the Hogs need to make a serious run at Atlanta is the top-drawer SEC defense they've lacked the last couple of seasons ... and Bequette, their most explosive pass rusher, is the key. The Hogs have loads of experience in the secondary and two rock-solid linebackers in Jerico Nelson and Jerry Franklin. If Bequette can more consistently generate the devastating bull rush he showed in flashes in 2010, the Hogs will have a defense that can look their SEC West rivals in the eye--and, when paired with that offense, take them right back into the BCS bowl hunt. -- JH

The 100 will return here to Eye on CFB Tuesday after the holiday. Until then, check out Nos. 100-91 and 90-81, and follow us on Twitter.

Posted on: May 27, 2011 1:00 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 9:56 am

CBSSports.com CFB 100, No. 79: Joe Paterno

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Business as usual, business as usual. That approach, that adherence to process is what anybody needs to persevere in a competitive field for 45 years--the amount of time Joe Paterno has spent at the helm of Penn State. Now, the concept of "usual" is pretty loose in college football on a year-to-year basis, but at the end of the day, it's pretty much the same: recruit at a high level, get your defense playing hard, and make sure your playmakers are on the field on offense. Sure, that's overly simplified, but it's a formula Paterno has followed en route to 401 wins at the helm of the Nittany Lions.

But what happens when that formula is no longer applicable? What happens when Paterno can't lean on a veteran QB, a considerable talent differential, or even a psychological edge on his opponents? What if this is the year it all comes tumbling down?

People have been speculating on what year would be Paterno's last since he turned 70. That was 15 years ago. Paterno has always laughed off the speculation and has never set a date of departure, and that's been fine because far more often than not, his teams have backed him up. Even after a rough five-year stretch at the start of last decade, the Nittany Lions returned to form and went 11-1, their only loss coming at the last second at Michigan. Three years later, PSU went 11-1 in the regular season, and again, their only loss came at the last second--this time at Iowa. There have been a slew of nine-win seasons as well. Business as usual.

But this offseason, things looked to be on the precipice of unraveling. Paterno wouldn't let quarterbacks Rob Bolden or Kevin Newsome transfer, much to their chagrin. Both men are now entrenched in a quarterback battle with putative starter Matt McGloin, a former walk-on who struggled with consistency last season. That battle ought to continue as close to the beginning of the season as possible, which hardly does any favors to a quarterback who'll probably want to transfer if he's not given the starting job. That's JoePa's M.O., though. Business as usual.

The offseason was also marked by the potential for serious turmoil. Longtime Paterno assistant Tom Bradley was thisclose to accepting the Pittsburgh head coaching spot, only to have the deal break down over details. If he had taken the spot, there's no telling how many PSU assistants he'd have been able to bring with him. Probably more than one. It's one thing to keep Joe Paterno around as long as he wants. It'd be quite another to keep him around andtask him with rebuilding a coaching staff that he has increasingly come to rely on now that he's in his 80s. The Penn State brass has always been patient with JoePa, and that's a good thing, but that patience is largely due to his ability to maintain stability and high standards of performance. Take those away, and he's just a very old coach in charge of a program in flux, and that's far less appetizing to any athletic director.

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That performance, though, may be on the wane once again. Penn State barely eked out a winning record last season, going 7-6 and losing its bowl appearance against a similarly underachieving Florida squad. The quarterback situation is uninspiring. So is the defense, which allowed more points than it has in 27 years and returns no first-team or second-team All-Big Ten performers (to be fair, DBs Drew Astorino and D'Anton Lynn were honorable mention, as was DT Devon Still; they're all back). Linebacker U's linebackers anchored a rush defense that was 74th nationally against the run -- and two of the top four tacklers in that unit have graduated. Nate Stupar is back, and while he's good, he's not Linebacker U good yet. Michael Mauti might be . PSU had better hope he is.

The recruiting suffered this year, too. The normally dynamic Larry Johnson Sr. didn't have a lot of roster spots to fill, but the recruits he did get weren't terribly impressive. DE signee Anthony Zettel was No. 82 in Tom Lemming's Top 100 list, but that was basically it for incoming future stars. If Johnson can't get top talent to get excited about Penn State anymore, that levels the playing field against the rest of college football -- and widens the growing gap between Penn State and the powerhouses.

All that, and JoePa got one year older. He can't coach forever, and whenever the time is that he physically can't coach anymore might be, he's one year closer to it now than he was a year ago. Time may seem immaterial to him, but make no mistake: his career is in its twilight.

Yes, yes, this is all old hat to Paterno and Penn State now: the growing doubts in the spring, the concerns over his age, the notion of the program being on the precipice of collapse. They've dealt with this for decades, and they've usually dealt with it by going out and whipping their opponents up and down the field anyway. But what if they don't in 2011? What if this is the last chapter in the JoePa Saga? And if that's not a hard enough problem to consider... what comes after that?

Posted on: May 24, 2011 1:36 am

Big Ten coaches worry over AAU-type 'nightmare'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's long been a given that as big an ethical and regulatory minefield as college football recruiting is, it could be worse; it could be college basketball recruiting, an area frequently viewed as a sleaze-filled maze of AAU coaches, shoe representatives, and assorted other hangers-on all looking for their own say in their chosen recruit's recruitment.

So it's no surprise that, as the Omaha World-Herald reports, the Big Ten is looking to stem the tide of similar issues in football that might arise out of 7-on-7 tournaments:

“This is an issue that isn't very visible to the general public,'' Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said. “But it was the biggest concern that came out of our coaches meeting.

“Everyone is starting to see some of the nightmares that have gone on with AAU basketball. As coaches, we want to prevent going down that road in football ... As a conference, we want to take the lead in doing so... it's a pretty complicated issue on how to get it done. But we're all pretty unified that that's what we want to see happen.''

Penn State coach Joe Paterno said he'll do what he can to help.

“There are ‘in-between' people getting involved in starting 7-on-7 camps,'' Paterno said, “and they are literally putting kids up on auction blocks so people can get a look at them.

“And there are guys who are soliciting kids to go to a camp and getting paid to bring certain kids to camps. You don't want those people involved in our game.''

Pelini wasn't the only Big Ten representative to raise the specter of AAU hoops when discussing college football's problems. In fact, he wasn't even the only official from Nebraska to do so:

“I don't know that any legislation has been passed to keep anyone from doing it,'' Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne said.

“Paying attention to it is about all we can do right now. But it looks like it could turn into AAU basketball all over again.''

Clearly, the league's football coaches and administrators are not fans of the Amateur Athletic Union's basketball efforts.

But then again, who in college athletics is? While Jim Delany's efforts in the arena of "full cost of attendance" scholarships will likely meet with some resistance, if his conference can find a way to legislate college football away from big-time basketball's recruiting morass, no one will have an unkind word to say about that.

Posted on: May 14, 2011 1:59 pm

Todd Graham all for renewing Pitt-PSU rivalry

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Some rivalries in college football are born from the competition on the field between two schools over time, while others stem simply from geographical roots. For over a century there was a rivalry that featured both between Pitt and Penn State. The schools competed against each other 96 times over a 107-year span, but have not met on a football field since the turn of the century in 2000. Some say it's because both schools shed their independent status as Pitt became a member of the Big East (via the Eastern 8 and Atlantic 10) while Penn State entered the Big Ten, and there just wasn't the room to fit each other into their schedules. Others will say Penn State head coach Joe Paterno is just angry that Pitt wasn't interested in Paterno's idea of creating a conference with eastern teams in the early 1980s.

Whatever the reason for it, the fact is that the schools just don't play anymore, which is a shame since the rivalry made so much sense. Well, at least one of the school's head coaches would like to see that change. New Pitt head coach Todd Graham joined Joe Paterno -- along with new Temple head coach Steve Addazio -- to talk to the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association on Friday, and after the meeting said he'd love to see the rivalry renewed.

"I can remember watching that game growing up and the tremendous tradition that that game was, and we would actually love to play that game in the future," Graham told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "It would be something that we'd be very much in favor of." 

Now, while Paterno was in attendance, Graham made it very clear that he had yet to speak to Paterno about the idea, so he wasn't sure what Paterno's feelings on the idea were. The media in attendance never had a chance to ask Paterno either, as he left without speaking to reporters.

Personally I don't see this happening while Joe Paterno is still at Penn State. The fact is that if Paterno wanted to play Pitt, Penn State would be playing Pitt. The fact that the two schools haven't met in over a decade should tell you everything you need to know about Paterno's level of desire to renew the rivalry. 

Hat Tip: CFT

Posted on: May 4, 2011 3:26 pm

Jay Paterno has 'an idea' who PSU's QB is

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Penn State Nittany Lions went in to the spring with a competition at quarterback between four players, though it seems at times that the battle is more of a two horse race. The general consensus is that Matt McGloin and Robert Bolden are the most likely to earn the job seeing as how both players started games for Penn State last season. Jay Paterno says that there's been improvement amongst all four quarterbacks this spring, and that if the Nittany Lions were to play a game right now, he has an idea about which one would get the start.

"We had an idea of who would start if there was a game this month," Paterno told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "But don`t ask me who it is, because I`m not going to tell you."

Who is going to be the starting quarterback, Jay Paterno? I DEMAND you tell me!

Okay, since you won't, I'm just going to have to recklessly speculate about the matter. As we all know, last season Rob Bolden began the year as Penn State's starter. After suffering a concussion, Bolden was replaced by McGloin, and McGloin never gave him the job back. Which then led to Bolden requesting a transfer after the season was over and Joe Paterno saying "nuh uh." Since then Penn State has been forced to placate to Bolden a bit, because having a quarterback on your roster that doesn't want to be there generally isn't good for your team.

So, surely, if it were Bolden whom Jay Paterno had in mind as the starter this fall, he'd come out and say that Bolden was out in front, right? Let's see if we can read between the lines of Paterno's praise for Bolden.

Since [Bolden's transfer request and denial], Jay Paterno said he has spoken to Bolden on multiple occasions.

"He feels comfortable with us and comfortable with where he is at. They were very, very good discussions for the most part," Paterno said, refusing to reveal details. "We`ll see."

Paterno added that Bolden "is a different guy right now in terms of his command of the offense, coming out of the huddle, leadership."

He said Bolden also is speaking up more than he did a year ago. One day this spring, Bolden caught three consecutive bad shotgun snaps.

After the third one, Paterno said Bolden took the football and "kind of flicked it at the center and said, `You better cut that out.`

"That wouldn`t have happened last fall."

Okay, so you have a chance to say how well Bolden has been playing, and the thing you choose to talk about is how he threw a football at his center and said "cut that out?" Yeah, Matt McGloin is going to be the starter, you guys.

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