UNIVERSITY PARK -- While the discussion raged through the week on who will and/or who should start at quarterback today -- Rob Bolden or Matt McGloin -- let's calm it down a few decibles with this realization:
It doesn't matter.
For as much as the Paternos, Joe and Jay, can be chided for their handling of the position these last few years, it's too early to find fault with this year's approach so far.
Through 14 games of Bolden-McGloin, neither has locked up the job, and both still deserve to play.
Bolden was talked off the ledge in January, and while we still don't know how good he is or how good he might become, or how committed he'll remain, it was important to keep him in the program unless there were immediate plans to install the single wing.
As for McGloin, he's proven he can be an injection off the bench, just as he might have to today.
He's also proven that given enough snaps, he's prone to throwing the kind of interception that 110,000 will receive with only slightly less disdain than a STEP program application.
So in the absence of Kerry Collins or Todd Blackledge -- or even Chuck Burkhart or John Shaffer -- let's watch as the staff has effectively called the Bolden(s)' bluff and challenged him to see what he can do when the lights are on.
Let's see if Bolden can adjust on the line of scrimmage better than he did a year ago, see if he's benefitted from spring practice, as JoePa claims, and see if he can move the team like McGloin generally does.
Starting him is understandable in that Bolden's fragile makeup, and advisement, may not make him an ideal backup whereas McGloin, perhaps tougher mentally, will be at the ready.
That doesn't mean the Scranton gunslighter can light up a Crimson Tide defense that is considered one of the nation's best. Or that the offensive line, which was touched up for up-the-middle blitzes by Indiana State, is exactly a fortress.
But from this view, Bolden and then McGloin is the most workable rotation until one creates distance from the other.
Sometimes being able to insert a player into the game who can energize a team is an advantage and thus McGloin may have more value as a backup than a starter.
And if Bolden isn't up to it, and McGloin emerges as this game or the season unfolds, well, then, Bolden will just have to deal with it -- here or elsewhere.
JoePa isn't usually apt to switch quarterbacks in a big game, evidenced by the Outback Bowl, but if Bolden does struggle, or battles the play clock or can't pick up blitzes or gets dinged because he runs upright and doesn't slide, it surely can't be tolerated.
At the same time, football is a long game, and even if the Lions fall behind with Bolden, there will be plenty of time -- particularly buoyed by their home crowd -- for McGloin to stage a rally.
And especially so if Alabama's defense has as many holes as Northwestern's last year.
Since it doesn't, fully expect Penn State to realize it can not win this game 35-31 and play like it usually does against a higher-ranked opponent.
That's by being patient, relying on what appears to be an improved defense and persistently trying to get Silas Redd into the secondary with hopes that he can break more big plays than Evan Royster.
And, oh yeah, unlike last week, hoping it can make field goals and extra points.
Kind of like how the Lions played it in their last great home win -- against Ohio State in 2005.
That's just the Paterno way, even if it's brought him a 1-12 record against the Top 5 since 1994, and there's no point in expecting it to change now.
While players are viewing this as a huge opportunity -- "statement game," Michael Zordich called it -- the fact is there's less buzz than any big-name visit to Beaver Stadium in memory, and that's because most figure the Lions don't have a chance.
And that, ye old Nittany Nation, is a bigger deal than who starts at quarterback.