UNIVERSITY PARK -- Terrelle Pryor sent Tom Bradley a text message at some point over the past few days, in the wake of the ongoing Penn State scandal.
"He just offered me his support," Bradley said of the former Ohio State quarterback. "I don't know if that meant his support at the Shoe, but up until then I had his support."
Pryor, recruited by Bradley, went through his own difficult times during the Buckeyes' "tattoo-gate" scandal, which ended his college career, brought down a famous and successful head coach in Jim Tressel and soiled a major university's reputation.
As bad as all that was for Ohio State, it pales in comparison to the scandal that has engulfed Penn State. In fact, virtually all scandals in American sports history ultimately could pale in comparison to the PSU tragedy when everything is said and done.
With the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes playing each other this week, much of the focus will be on the fact that both major players in major college football have been rocked by scandal. That likely will be the predominant story line as the game approaches, with more and more people talking about the overall impact the scandals will have on college football.
Both teams have an interim head coach who may not be around after this season, but for now, they are the faces of their football programs.
Before the game
It's unclear exactly what will occur, but Tom Bradley said he expects some type of pregame sequence to take place between the Nittany Lion and Buckeye players. This past week, players from PSU and Nebraska met at midfield for a prayer, resulting in an emotional scene.
"I knew what they would do would be very classy," Bradley said. "I'm not quite sure what they will do when they come out this week. But I'm OK with them doing it as long as it's in good taste. And you know, they came out for unity, they came out for the victims, they came out for Penn State. They came out as a group. They came out together. They signified what they were all about."
Penn State's Tom Bradley, who has taken over for the fired Joe Paterno, was asked if the two scandals plus the one recently at Miami have damaged the sport's reputation.
"I really don't think so," Bradley said. "I think that that's not for me to judge. That's for the other people to do that. But I don't think so. It's a great game. It's a great sport."
The Penn State and Ohio State scandals could not be more different, but they are similar in that the two programs lost their respected head coaches and have been bombarded by scrutiny.
Interim Buckeyes coach Luke Fickell said he can't speak exactly for what the PSU players are going through but added, "I can just speak from the experience of our young guys and all the turmoil that they've had.
"I'm not comparing and contrasting," Fickell added Tuesday. "That's probably what I don't want to do. But I think young people are very resilient. Sometimes ... they have a situation that happens and they get over it probably a lot quicker than maybe some of us older people."
Fickell also noted "the more that people talk about [the scandal], it gets brought back up." That's something Penn State's players will have to continue to deal with over the coming days, weeks and months as more information comes out about who knew what and when they knew it regarding the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
One thing the PSU players will not have to deal with this week is more questions from the media about the scandal. Or about anything else, since no players are being made available for interviews.
"The purpose of that was probably a two-fold deal," Bradley said. "We're getting into, with all the different questions, a lot of them aren't sure how to answer the questions, are getting badgered with questions.
"They'll answer any Ohio State questions you have. If you see our players, you want to talk about Ohio State, they'll answer the questions. They're not sure how to answer some of the other questions."
One thing that could help the Penn State players this week is the opportunity to get out the epicenter of the storm in State College and play on the road. That sounds like an odd scenario going to Columbus, but as hostile as the Horseshoe is, it at least offers an escape from the different type of hostile environment around PSU's campus.
"One of the things when you go on the road, you do form a bond with your players because it's the you-against-the-world attitude out there," Bradley said. "There's only 70 players that make the trip. You spend some time together. It's a good chance for them."
As strange as it sounds, this game doesn't mean much to Penn State on the field. The Lions can lose and still capture the Leaders Division by winning at Wisconsin next week.
"Started the meeting with it [Monday]: We still control our own destiny, and we can still win this thing," Bradley said. "And I told them what's at stake. And they understand that. They're well aware."
Cory Giger can be reached at 949-7031 and @CoryGiger on Twitter.