The Penn State football coaching job just got a little tougher.
Ohio State introduced Urban Meyer, who led the University of Florida to a pair of national championships before taking a one-year hiatus, as its new coach on Monday.
The announcement trumped the season-long rumor - until the Penn State scandal exploded - that Meyer would be succeeding Joe Paterno and had already purchased or leased a home in Boalsburg.
Presumably, he won't keep a membership to the Boalsburg Elks and be commuting to Columbus.
But jokes aside, if Penn State, or at least its former regime, wanted Meyer, it clearly would have been thinking big.
Whether acting athletic director Dave Joyner will aim as high as Graham Spanier and Tim Curley may have been, presumably with Paterno's blessing, we'll see.
This is for sure: There are very few coaches who can deliver the excitement/wow factor of an Urban Meyer.
A short list of those who can would include Jon Gruden, Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy and Nick Saban. Mike Munchak might be another.
The problem is, other than Saban, none of the above have coached or recruited in college programs at all (Cowher, Dungy, Munchak) or lately (Gruden).
It's worth noting that Joyner was part of a small group of university benefactors involved in the hiring of Cael Sanderson as the Nittany Lions' wrestling coach, so the template is there to make a splashy hiring.
That said, while following Paterno may not be as daunting as it once was, based on the scandal, Penn State may find some candidates with cold feet.
It was surprising that a contract extension was confirmed Friday for Miami's Al Golden, a former PSU captain who spent less than one season on the Nits' coaching staff, jumping ship in 2000. Maybe Golden wants no part of it now, or vice versa.
You'd think someone apt to accept this kind of challenge would be someone with ties to the university or partially bleeds blue. But if Penn State feels it needs to distance itself from the past and hire somebody from Alaska, its pool will be pretty small.
Most of the names being thrown out - such as Golden, Mississippi State's Dan Mullen, Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald, Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson, Houston's Kevin Sumlin, etc. - are good coaches, but will they re-energize the sleepy fan base that rebelled against the STEP program to the tune of 10,000 empty seats per game?
The university may be ahead of the game financially - it's going to need to be in the face of potential civil lawsuits - but no one can argue the significant rebuilding job in many areas facing the next coach.
Not to mention suspicion from the Nittany Nation that, knowing these allegations were smoldering, the STEP program was sprung before all heck broke loose.
Between anger that Joe Paterno was treated unfairly, the current pricing structure and general upheaval, some trust needs to be rebuilt.
And what if some candidates start turning the job down? Does Penn State keep interim coach Tom Bradley during this tumultuous period until time helps it swim into calmer waters?
Based on that fact that it was outscored 72-18 by the two great teams it played this year - Alabama and Wisconsin - Penn State could face a long road back to elite status no matter who it hires.
Factor in the job Bret Bielema is doing at Wisconsin, the progress of Mark D'Antonio at Michigan State and Bo Pellini at Nebraska and Michigan's impressive hire of Brady Hoke with Meyer inheriting the sweater vest, and you wonder if Joyner has slept at all.
Whether he's introduced tomorrow, next week or next month, Penn State's new coach will have to be special.
Because this is one special challenge.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or email@example.com.