Maybe the irrelevance of the team shouldn’t bother me. Maybe their recent struggles shouldn’t impact my personal judgment of the program. Maybe the name should still scare me. Maybe they should still be a measuring stick. I mean, they have won “11” national championships (that number is debatable), have had 7 Heisman trophy winners and were a dominate force for about 80 years. Yeah they got history, tradition, pride and everything a major program could want. So maybe, I should give them more justice. The respective AP writers seem to, so why shouldn’t I?
You can thank the 1987 Fiesta Bowl. You can thank Don Myers. You can thank Sunkist. Hell, you can even thank Penn State and Miami. The highest rated game in the history of college football put the BCS on the map and controversy on the horizon.
For the past 6-8 years, teams from non-BCS conferences have started to make some noise: Utah, Boise State, BYU, Hawaii and TCU for the most part. These teams have started to match the perennial powers of college football and even win against them. These teams are so intimidating that 2 teams from non-BCS conferences were ranked in the top 6 for the first time in BCS existence. Are they deserving of such a ranking? Perhaps. And to a lot of college coaches, preseason rankings are irrelevant, and for the most part they are correct. The BCS conferences flux during the season; rarely do a handful of teams run the tables.
However, a non-BCS conference team such as this year’s Boise State and TCU are very likely to go undefeated. The competition of their respective conferences is somewhat pitiful. This means for these teams, preseason rankings are everything. Boise has a clear path to the national title game, as does TCU. No BCS conference team can say that.
First off, I want to congratulate you on your 42nd year as head coach of Penn State and 58th overall. You have stood the test of times and even told NFL teams to look somewhere else because of your commitment to Penn State. You are the definition of class, on and off the field. You are a living legend with 366 career wins, second all time and you just happen to be at the ripe old age of 80.