It doesn't seem likely that Penn State will be getting a new head football coach for Christmas.
Athletic Director Dave Joyner and the six-person search committee have been working for more than a month, and precious little information has dripped out on Joe Paterno's successor.
While that may not whet the collective appetite of the media and fans, it does protect the integrity of the process so credit the committee for limiting leaks.
The strategy, of course, also benefits the committee in that it's possible that the prospects of succeeding Paterno and facing the troubling unknown of the looming court cases against Jerry Sandusky, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz are enough of a deterrent for potential candidates to field inquiries by saying, "Thanks but no thanks."
An unnamed agent told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he considers the job "toxic."
The reality is it may take this hire to stabilize the operation and act as a bridge to the next hire, when the waters will be calmer, a couple of years of bad headlines will be further in the distance and PSU is more attractive than it is right now.
Neil Rudel joins Cory Giger and Ray Eckenrode to discuss the Penn State coaching search. Click on altoonamirror.com to watch.
There's no doubt it's been a great job, with superior facilities and tradition, and can be again.
That all depends, of course, on whether the next guy can win and win big.
Guessing now would be like shooting darts. Do Joyner and committee pal Ira Lubert - the high roller who helped deliver Cael Sanderson - have an ace in the hole? A guy who will make us all say wow?
First off, there aren't that many coaches who fit that profile, and the ones who do may see the current climate as too turbulent.
Second, since Penn State needs someone with character and integrity, sifting through the pool of college coaches is iffy because most of them are tainted simply because college kids are apt to get in trouble, and those with JoePa's graduation rate are few.
Which may well mean the search will culminate with an NFL guy.
In Penn State's dreams, that would be Mike Munchak, a former Nittany Lion All-American and Pro Football Hall of Famer who is wrapping up his first season with the Tennessee Titans. He could ride in on a white horse.
But he's obviously happy in Tennessee, having spent his entire career with the organization and may not want to bolt after just one year as a head coach. Then again, without a franchise quarterback, he'd have a lot better chance to be coaching the Nittany Lions in 2015 than the Titans.
If not, maybe Tom Clements, a Pittsburgh native and Aaron Rodgers' position coach with the Green Bay Packers, winds up in the throne. His interest has been reported.
Munchak has no recruiting experience while Clements spent three years on the Notre Dame staff (1992-95).
It's been reported that interim coach Tom Bradley has interviewed along with current assistants Larry Johnson and Jay Paterno and former assistant Brian Norwood.
Depending on what you believe, the process has included flirtation or the idea of flirtation with Mark Richt, Chris Peterson, Al Golden and Bo Pelini, but there may not be mutual interest. Ditto Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden and Tony Dungy.
So what was once a plum job may not be anymore. Or at least not now.
With the players scattering after Wednesday's practice and re-convening Monday in Dallas, it's doubtful any announcement will take place until after the TicketCity Bowl game Jan. 2.
At that point, the suspense will presumably end. The longer the wait, the more the anticipation, but don't brace yourself for a superstar candidate.
It may be that we'll all have to be satisfied, in the short term anyway, just to have the position filled.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or email@example.com.