Thursday, November 4, 2010

Paterno a rare gift for us all

CFRT Editor

On occasion, we sports fans are treated to history in the making, but more often than not, these occasions are usually fleeting - at the most, taking place over an entire season.
Rarely, however, do we get to sit back and watch history being made in slow motion.
No offense to the iconic Penn State coach Joe Paterno, but that's exactly what we are getting to see as Paterno gets closer and closer to approaching the unapproachable.
On Saturday, against Northwestern, "Joe Pa" will be attempting to capture his 400th win as a college football head coach.
And I wonder if everyone realizes this will be the last time we will see this happen.
For those of you who don't realize the sheer gravity of how significant this is, let me try to put it into perspective for you.
To begin with, the closest any active coach on the all-time wins list is to Paterno is Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, who at age 64, has 236 wins.

The closest any active coach to Paterno on the all-time wins list is Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, who at age 64, has 236 wins. Paterno joined the Nittany Lions' staff when Beamer was just three years old.
In order for Beamer to reach 400 wins, he would have to average more than 10 wins over the next 16 seasons.
Can you see Beamer coaching until 2026?
It's not that Beamer can't catch Paterno, it's more about the fact that he likely won't get the opportunity.
Besides Beamer, only one other current head coach in Division I-A football has even been at their school for 20 years.
The other one is Chris Ault, who has coached every one of his 34 years as a head coach at Nevada.
In a society of instant gratification and $4 million contracts, the era of coaches such as Paterno, Beamer and Ault are few and far between.
The shelf life for college football head coaches just isn't that long anymore.
Since 1966 - Paterno's first year as Penn State's head coach - there have been 860 head coaching changes among D-I schools, an average of more than six changes per school.
There were 22 head coaching changes in 2009 alone.

Florida's Urban Meyer reached 100 wins earlier this season, but not before he resigned and then un-resigned due to the stress of being a college football head coach.
Six weeks ago Florida's Urban Meyer reached 100 wins, making him the fastest coach to do so in the past 50 years.
But even Meyer - who has pocketed two national championships in the past four years - is susceptible to fans calling for his head, and the wear and tear of coaching college football forced him to suddenly resign last December for health reasons.
That said, can you see Meyer coaching another 30 years?
That is how long Meyer would have to coach - averaging 10 wins per season - to catch Paterno.

Despite finishing undefeated seasons five times, Paterno has only captured two national championships.
In stark contrast, Paterno has enjoyed five different undefeated seasons and two nationals championships.
He's notched 21 seasons with 10 or more wins, and 29 seasons with nine or more wins.
As the only active player or coach currently enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame, Paterno has been named the Walter Camp Coach of the Year three times, Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year three times and was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year as recently as 2008.

Paterno will turn 84 in December.
Make fun of his quirky, often outdated press quotes.
Laugh about his rolled pant legs, white socks and black cleats all you want.
But, make no mistake, Paterno is hand-delivering every college football fan a rare gift right now.
My point is this, how many times have you wished you could have been around to see a historic sports moment being made?
Hank Aaron's 715th.
Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game.
USA's hockey win over the Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics. 
"The Play" in the 1982 Cal-Stanford game.
Well, now's your chance.
And not only when Paterno gets his 400th win, whether it's Saturday, or next week, or the one after that.

Paterno has walked the sidelines at Penn State for a half century, including 45 years as the Nittany Lions' head coach.
We all have a front row seat for Paterno's historic run at least until the end of this season.
Take time to soak it in, cherish it.
It won't ever happen again, and there's just not too many things we can say that about.

CFRT's Pick 6

Georgia Tech at No.22 Virginia Tech
Neither team has really had a spectacular season. Virginia Tech has put together a dominant string of six victories, but that was after they started the year 0-2 with losses to Boise State and (gasp) James Madison. Georgia Tech's signature win thus far was over a depleted North Carolina team, with losses to Kansas (2-6) and Clemson, who lost to Boston College (3-5). Virginia Tech, 41-30.

No.21 Baylor at No.17 Oklahoma State
On the surface, Baylor - led by the dynamic Robert Griffin III - would appear to be the hotter team, coming off their "big" win over Texas last week. However, I wonder how much the "hangover" effect might linger with the Bears as they travel to Stillwater for an early 12:30 p.m. kickoff. The Cowboys' only hiccup so far was their 10-point loss to Nebraska (7-1). Look for lots of points in the one. Okie State, 45-42.

No.3 TCU at No.5 Utah
Both teams undefeated, both teams are ranked in the Top-5 and Gameday's in town. TCU has been severely dominant on the defensive side of the ball, giving up a grand total of two touchdowns in their past five games. Utah will test that defense with the third-ranked scoring offense (45.3 points per game). The Horned Frogs, 24-17. 

No.6 Alabama at No.10 LSU
The Nick Saban Bowl III. Both teams have enjoyed much-needed bye weeks heading into this crucial SEC West showdown. LSU needs help even if they win out, and the Crimson Tide hold their own destiny by just winning.'Bama, 31-17.

No.18 Arkansas at No.19 South Carolina
The Gamecocks lost one of their best defensive secondary players last week when senior cornerback Chris Culliver suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. Arkansas lost their leading receiver, junior Greg Childs to a season-ending knee injury. So, it would appear these two major injuries for each team cancel each other out. The Razorbacks, unlike before, seem to be able to win on the road, while the Gamecocks have been hard to beat at home (just ask Alabama). Gamecocks, 28-27.

No.15 Arizona at No.13 Stanford
This is a potentially huge game in the race for the PAC-10 championship. Because of their loss to Oregon earlier in the year, Stanford needs to win out in conference play and hope Oregon trips up in the PAC-10. Arizona actually holds their own destiny if they can run the conference table from here on out (which would include a win over Oregon). Stanford, 35-24.

Last Week: 5-1
Season: 38-16

Your Saturday "Couch Schedule"

"Early Game"
No.21 Baylor at No.17 Oklahoma State at 12:30 p.m. on FSN

"Afternoon Remote Control Roulette Games"
No.6 Alabama at No.10 LSU at 3:30 p.m. on CBS
No3 TCU at No.5 Utah at 3:30 p.m. on FSN

"Night Game"
No.18 Arkansas at No.19 South Carolina at 7 p.m. on ESPN

1 comment:

  1. How many coaches are out there that were not born yet or were born the year he he started at Penn State?

    That should be one of your trivia questions.