Some gameday notes and observations while suggesting an all-star team from Eastern, Western and Northern Illinois could not beat Penn State:
There has been plenty of debate about the merits of today's game with Eastern Illinois.
Of course, we all know, there are none for Penn State fans except those who take pride in funding the athletic department's other 28 sports.
It is a great example, really, of how college football doesn't need a 12th game. Fans may be able to support a 12th game, but scheduling can't - at least not the way Penn State wants to schedule.
Without a playoff and much reward for strength of schedule, Penn State and other big-name powers may line up one tough non-conference game per year such as the upcoming series with Alabama. Some, like PSU's course this year, will schedule no difficult non-conference games.
Big Ten teams are now allowed to play after the final Big Ten weekend, which this year is Nov. 21.
Illinois is actually playing two games after the conference schedule - at Cincinnati and against Fresno State. Wisconsin goes to Hawaii on Dec. 5.
But do you really see Penn State playing a non-conference game after the regular-season finale?
Programs like Illinois and Wisconsin sometimes need to clinch a bowl with a late non-conference game.
Schools that think big - whether or not they're able to realize those dreams (ahem: PSU's loss to Iowa) - typically are trying to protect their record or their bowl possibilities in late November, not risk them.
Would it be nice for Penn State to play Pitt again? Many, including me, believe so. But there's no way the Nittany Lions would close the regular season with Pitt or any other Eastern team. Nor should they. They'd have too much to lose and not enough to gain.
Ohio State and Michigan find themselves in the same boat. They're sure not going to play after their traditional season-ending matchup.
One way to reduce scrimmages like today's is for the Big Ten to expand to a nine- or 10-game conference schedule.
Until then, get used to it.
* While a year ago many pointed to various succession plans around the country as a reason for Penn State to orchestrate one, have they really worked out? It's pretty messy at Florida State, Purdue underachieved in Joe Tiller's last year with successor Danny Hope on the staff, and Maryland has fallen off since designating James Franklin to follow Ralph Friedgen.
* I'll be stunned if Bowden is coaching the Seminoles next year.
* Penn State has been in the Big Ten 16 years now, and maybe it's taken that long to appreciate some of the other games in the league today such as Michigan at Iowa, Michigan State at Illinois and Wisconsin at Ohio State. Or maybe those games seem compelling because the Lions are playing Eastern Illinois.
* Any coaches who ranked Penn State higher than Iowa in the USA Today-ESPN poll should have their voting privileges taken away.
* Most believe there are too many bowls, and there are, but the recently-announced one to take place with a Big East-Big 12 matchup at Yankee Stadium is kind of cool. After all, a December trip to New York City is better than the Sun Bowl, right?
* Eastern Illinois coach Bob Spoo is 71 years old. Other than Penn State's matchup in the 2006 Orange Bowl with Bobby Bowden, who was 76 at the time, Spoo, though 11 years younger than today's sideline counterpart, is believed to be the oldest coach JoePa has competed against.
* I'm confused: The only way today's game can possibly qualify to be televised on ESPN Classic would be if Penn State loses.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He will respond to brief comments in Gameday.