Some random observations while catching up with the sports world:
n The 2009 season could settle the race between Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden for the winningest coach in major college football history. Bowden has 382 wins, one behind JoePa, but Bowden could lose 14 wins that are hanging in the balance of Florida State's appeal to the NCAA as penalty for a recent academic scandal. Further, he's lost 36 games in the last eight seasons, a figure he took the previous 18 years (1983-2000) to match. If he isn't the coach by the 2011 season, FSU will owe Bowden's successor, Jimbo Fisher, $5 million, and it's doubtful Bowden would want to be a lame duck this deep into his career. On the other hand, if JoePa picks up another 10 wins this year, he'll be staring at victory No. 400 in 2010.
n There aren't many better chances to see Penn State football players up close, along with contributing to a good cause, than today's seventh annual Lift for Life from 2 to 7 p.m. at Holuba Hall, where players are approachable for autographs between various strength and endurance drills. Donations of $10 per adult and $5 for kids are suggested, and proceeds go to the fight against kidney cancer. One personnel note: QB Daryll Clark is not scheduled to participate.
n This is the bottom line on the Nittany Lions' scheduling of Indiana State, a feeble Division I-AA program, in 2011: Until half the fans stop coming to see unacceptable opponents (read: Coastal Carolina, Youngstown State, Eastern Illinois), that type of appetizer will remain on the 12-game menu.
n If college football ever gets around to a playoff - and don't hold your breath - here's hoping part of the tradeoff is reverting back to an 11-game regular season.
n It was encouraging to read that Atlantic Broadband is now actually considering adding the Big Ten Network for this fall. If not, I solemnly swear with my son as a witness (oh, I forgot, he thinks we should have gotten DirecTV last year) to pull the plug.
n Why is it taking so long to trade Jack Wilson?
n If the Pirates' regime that has allowed the Curve to fall 30 games below .500 was in place in 1999, we never would have met Adam Hyzdu, the minor-league veteran who was sent here to provide stability. There's surely a balance between letting the prospects play and fielding a virtual laughingstock. Tough year for Take II of Bob Lozinak's honeymoon.
n Two of my favorite events of the year are Wimbledon (last week) and the British Open (next week) because they're on when the coffee's brewing. One complaint about women's tennis, though: Is all the grunting and screaming really necessary?
n Slipping into the second round was painful enough for Pitt's DeJuan Blair - and that was before San Antonio, which drafted him, signed free-agent forwards Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess.
n The annual Fourth of July races badly miss the recognition and encouragement finish-line announcer Lee Baranik provided.
n Anybody else find themselves wanting to savor every day of summer while counting the minutes until kickoff?
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.