n Joe Paterno thinks Penn State has a strong nucleus coming back and believes the Nittany Lions “will be in the thick of things for the national championship next year.” But after watching Monday night’s BCS final between LSU and Ohio State, Paterno surely must conclude his program is further away than perhaps he originally thought for this reason: Ohio State, which has owned the Lions almost as well as they’ve been owned by Michigan, has lost the last two BCS title games by a combined 41 points.
n Les Miles may be a lot less humble than Paterno, but he sure can coach. The aggressive safety blitzes and misdirection offense, including great use of the tight end, had to make Penn State fans jealous.
n You can bet Andrew Quarless was.
n Down two scores with eight minutes left, Ohio State was still huddling up and playing with an urgency that suggested it was leading.
n Think the fact that the Buckeyes wound up with five personal fouls had something to do with not being in enough tough games and being underscheduled?
n Next year Ohio State hosts Southern Cal and has a home schedule that also includes Michigan and Penn State.
n Paterno’s admission that he doesn’t want his son Jay to succeed him may have been the biggest news to come out of the Alamo Bowl.
n The guess here is that Paterno will be most warm to the potential successor who is open to keeping his son on the staff, and the next guess is that Rutgers coach Greg Schiano is very alive in the mix. Schiano had conversations with Michigan before Rich Rodriguez was hired and then reportedly consulted with JoePa on his opinion. This suspicion persists: You don’t turn down Michigan to stay at Rutgers and play in the International Bowl unless you see the job you really want opening within a couple of years.
n On one hand, West Virginia’s promotion of Bill Stewart was the feel-good story of the bowl season. On the other hand, given that Stewart wasn’t perceived as a candidate after Rodriguez’s departure, it seemed to be an emotional move fueled by the win over Oklahoma. As with all major-college hirings, let’s give it three years and see.
n Never mind that Illinois is having an off year. The Penn State men’s basketball team is 2-0 in the Big Ten with two road wins and that alone warrants a double-take.
n Good to see Jim Baron, who has won everywhere he’s been, at 14-1 and ranked No. 22 at Rhode Island. Boy, does Loretto miss him.
n My take on the baseball steroids saga: Most everyone was doing it; let’s move on. Congress obviously has more important things to worry about. That said, two points: 1) I don’t believe Roger Clemens is innocent; 2) Imagine how dominant Goose Gossage would have been in the steroids era.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org. His blog, “once a sports guy,” can be found at altoonamirror.com.