I sat down at Rotary on Tuesday beside a longtime Penn State fan who told me, "This whole thing has been like a family member died."
Three days later, another season-ticket holder said he and his brother will be going to the opener "and we'll both probably be in tears."
Such is the plight of the Penn State fan these days.
Bill O'Brien has done his best to distance himself from the scandal while somehow keeping the majority of his team together.
A football season that - finally - begins in two weeks should help mercifully shift the focus from Jerry
Sandusky, the firing and death of Joe Paterno, the Freeh report, the harsh, over-the-top NCAA sanctions and the daily ESPN crawl.
But we also have to get used to the fact that the past will be part of the future, certainly the foreseeable future.
For example, Joe Paterno's authorized biography, "Paterno," written by Sports Illustrated's Joe Posnanski, who had inside access and got way more than he bargained for, will be released this week.
Excerpts published in Gentlemen's Quarterly talked about Paterno crying "uncontrollably" after learning of his dismissal.
Perhaps most interesting in the teasers, though, was an exchange between Dan McGinn, a public-relations specialist hired by the Paterno family, and Paterno advisor Guido D'Elia. After the grand jury presentment was released Nov. 5, and following the arrests of Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, McGinn sought an olive branch with the Board of Trustees to negotiate a graceful ending and avoid what ultimately happened.
He asked D'Elia for one member of the board in Paterno's camp.
Amazingly, he was promptly informed there was not a single one - even though the board is comprised of 32 members, and even though Paterno had been revered for many years. In the board's eyes, Paterno obviously had stayed way too long, and he had no allies left - not even, apparently, his former players on the BOT.
"One person on the board, that's all we need," McGinn said.
D'Elia shook his head no.
"It began in 2004," he whispered, referring to an old clash Paterno had with Graham Spanier. "The board started to turn. We don't have anybody on the board now."
GQ will publish the full excerpt Monday at gq.com, and the book's release will follow.
Then there's the NCAA, and there have been conflicting reports on whether Penn State was in fact presented with multiple years of a death penalty - as PSU President Rodney Erickson said - or the sanctions it accepted in the consent decree.
"The overwhelming vote in both the executive committee and the Division I board was not to include a suspension of play or death penalty, and then we quickly moved to the menu of actions [that were imposed]," Ed Ray, Oregon State's president and the president of the NCAA's executive committee, told The Oregonian newspaper. "And we voted unanimously to support that package.
"At no time did we ever have a discussion about, 'If they [Penn State] don't do this, we're going to do that.' ... I can tell you categorically, there was never a threat made to anyone about suspension of play if the consent decree was not agreed to."
Someone - either Ray or Erickson - seems to have grossly misunderstood the other. It's unclear which, but it's difficult to imagine Erickson would agree to the sanctions unless they were the better alternative.
You also have to wonder how much the NCAA further penalized Penn State because Spanier was its president. Spanier was a past leader on the NCAA Division I Board of Directors, a member of its executive committee and a colleague to both Ray and NCAA President Mark Emmert.
Maybe the NCAA didn't appreciate how Spanier presided over a "Success With Honor" program, knowing its closet was full of people - top leaders - who knew about Sandusky's hobby of, at minimum, showering and interacting one-on-one, often at night, with young boys.
The Pennsylvania Attorney General confirmed last week that it has not ruled out criminal charges against Spanier.
In 2001, Spanier ran with the bulls in Spain. Based on what's happened since, he would have been better off had he been trampled then.
Meanwhile, PSU fans, curious whether Emmert will again swing the NCAA's sledgehammer, are keeping a close eye on the academic scandal that has engulfed the University of North Carolina,where student-athletes were given grades for 54 classes in the school's African and Afro-American Studies program that met infrequently or not at all.
The point here is not to make a comparison on which university lacked more institutional control, only to pass along that I got several emails and phone calls about it last week. Rest assured: Eyes are peeled off the field.
To all of this, football season will provide a welcome diversion, but only until the latest piece of news crosses the wire or hits your phone via Twitter.
So when the pigskin fills the air, try to enjoy it - the next nine months have to be better than the last nine.