Joe Paterno through the years

Joe Paterno joined the Penn State coaching staff in 1950 and took over as head coach in 1966. His coaching career ended in November after a record 409 victories.

<p>1. I think Stanford’s David Shaw had better be in the top two, or one, for any NFL team looking for a head coach in 2018. But remember what he told me two years ago about having a better job than any NFL coach, and whoever wants him is going to have to convince his wife that it’s a better place than Palo Alto. Good luck. My sense is that Shaw will one day coach in the NFL, just not in the next couple of years. My early list of calls I’d make if I had a coach to hire, after I called Shaw:</p><p>• New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels<br>• Kansas City special teams coordinator Dave Toub<br>• Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz<br>• Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin<br>• New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.</p><p>2. I think I also would fact-find about Carolina defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, University of Washington coach Chris Petersen (who likely wants to stay on the West Coast), Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Houston defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel. I’d phone Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz; I don’t think he’d leave, but I’d make him tell me that. Finally, I don’t know Jacksonville defensive coordinator Todd Wash or Kansas City offensive coordinator Matt Nagy (just 39) but hear good things about them. And as for those who say the pool of available coaches is grim, I would remind you of three names:</p><p>• Chuck Noll was an unknown and a distant second to Joe Paterno when the Steelers hired him in 1969. Four Super Bowl wins followed. </p><p>• “An inspired choice or a real mistake?” the Philadelphia Inquirer wondered after the hire of Andy Reid in 1999—and he proceeded to win 74 more games than anyone else in club history.</p><p>• Robert Kraft told me earlier this year he was warned by former Browns owner Art Modell to stay far away from Bill Belichick—and all Belichick has done is win 235 games in New England.</p><p>Moral of the story: There are scores of good coaches out there. They need good quarterbacks and good organizations to succeed.</p><p>Last point to make: Jon Gruden might be interested in going back to the Raiders. I hear he loves Derek Carr and would like to see once in his career what he could do with a franchise quarterback. But I think it’s not likely Jack Del Rio gets fired.</p><p>3. I think this story about Greg Schiano having a deal to coach Tennessee, then having the deal walked back Sunday evening because of the outcry over what <em>might</em>have happened at Penn State connected to the Jerry Sandusky case, over what was <em>never proven and was denied by the relevant parties under oath</em>, over what Tennessee <em>never investigated thoroughly, </em>is a disgrace to thinking people. It also emboldens the screamers on social media, a nod to those who think if you scream loud enough in this current iteration of America you can overcome reason, and a totally unfair slap at a good man in Schiano. The pathetic result of this caper is that the social-media lynch mob won, and no matter how well Schiano does as an assistant at Ohio State, it may never be good enough for him to get a head-coaching job. The water has been poisoned by the crazies. In America today, that matters.</p><p>4. I think these are my quick thoughts on Week 12:</p><p>a. What a great game Green Bay-Pittsburgh was.</p><p>b. Man, Brett Hundley proved me wrong, at least this week. What a tremendous late-fourth-quarter drive, including 72 yards passing, moving the Packers for six first downs and the tying touchdowns—and converting a fourth down with under three minutes left to make the tying score possible.</p><p>c. Huge sack by T.J. Watt, nailing Hundley with a minute to go and enabling the Steelers to get the ball back with just enough time.</p><p>d. Russell Wilson: To have the Seahawks at 7-4, as beat up as the team is, is a tribute to a very good defense to be sure. But mostly it’s a tribute to you.</p><p>e. Thanks, Drew Bledsoe, for <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/11/20/terry-glenn-remembered-drew-bledsoe-patriots-cowboys" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the terrific tribute written for The MMQB" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the terrific tribute written for The MMQB</a> to the late Terry Glenn.</p><p>f. Good stats by Andrew Catalon on CBS: Zane Gonzalez of the Browns has missed five field goals this year, all wide left. Hope you’re renting, Zane.</p><p>g. Christian Jones, the Chicago middle linebacker no one knows, sure makes a lot of plays for an unknown guy.</p><p>h. When Keenan Allen next negotiates a contract with the Chargers, all he has to do is bring a tape of his last eight quarters in two must-wins for the Chargers, against Buffalo and Dallas, in a five-day span: 23 catches in 27 targets, 331 yards, three touchdowns.</p><p>i. The reception, run and stretch for the first down in the fourth quarter by Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs, making the first down by an inch, was a truly great awareness play by Diggs. Kudos to him.</p><p>j. Detroit’s Akeem Spence dropping Jerick McKinnon late in the first half for a loss was the kind of textbook run-stuff every defensive-line coach should show his players.</p><p>k. Kai Forbath makes me nervous. Very nervous. And if he makes me nervous, imagine what he does to that pepperpot Mike Zimmer.</p><p>l. Why, with the game on the line, on fourth-and-eight when the Lions needed a conversion, did Matthew Stafford throw to a blanketed receiver—covered by the Vikes’ best corner, Xavier Rhodes—with almost zero chance for completion?</p><p>m. Yikes: Dak Prescott’s passer rating this year with Zeke Elliott in the lineup: 97.9. Prescott without Elliott: 57.0.</p><p>n. Looks like Eli Apple is turning into a lost top pick for the Giants, <a href="https://nypost.com/2017/11/25/eli-apples-attitude-towards-criticism-led-to-near-walk-out/?utm_campaign=iosapp&#38;utm_source=twitter_app" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:per Paul Schwartz" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">per Paul Schwartz</a> of the New York Post.</p><p>o. Prince Amukamara could take the video of his pass-breakup of the Carson Wentz-to-Torrey Smith throw in Philadelphia and show it to young corners everywhere. Perfect timing, mechanics of a pass breakup.</p><p>p. Gotta catch that ball, Austin Seferian-Jenkins. That drop of a first-quarter touchdown pass cost the Jets four points.</p><p>5. I think I do not mean to be cruel, but this is the truth: Brock Osweiler has gotten two offensive coordinators (George Godsey, Mike McCoy) fired from two teams (Houston, Denver) in consecutive seasons. Also:</p><p>• Osweiler has played so poorly in Houston that he had to be traded to Cleveland <em>along with a second-round pick so the Browns would take him. </em>He played so poorly in training camp in Cleveland that the Browns, desperate for a placeholder quarterback, fired him anyway. He played so poorly in Denver in relief of Trevor Siemian that he was demoted the other day from number one to number three quarterback.</p><p>• Osweiler is employed in the NFL today. Colin Kaepernick is not. It helps explain why so many people are rooting hard for Kaepernick’s longshot collusion case against the NFL.</p><p>6. I think it’s time to sound the TV ratings alarm—if you haven’t already heard it clanging from coast to coast. It looks even worse when considering that the NFL, perhaps rightfully, blamed last year’s ratings decline on the attention magnet that the 2016 presidential election was. But Thanksgiving week is two weeks clear of the election season. So let’s compare some of the numbers to each of the past two years to see where we are (thanks to Sports Media Watch for the ratings info):</p><p>• ESPN, Monday night, Atlanta at Seattle: 6.4 rating, a decline of 28.1 percent from Buffalo-New England in 2015 … a decline of 7.2 percent from Houston-Oakland last year.</p><p>• FOX, Thanksgiving Day, Minnesota at Detroit: 11.4 rating, a drop of 7.3 percent from Philadelphia-Detroit in 2015 … a drop of 12.3 percent from Minnesota-Detroit last year.</p><p>• CBS, Thanksgiving Day, Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas: 12.4 rating, a decrease of 19.0 percent from Dallas-Carolina in 2015 … a decrease of 20.5 percent from Dallas-Washington last year.</p><p>• NBC, Thanksgiving night, New York Giants at Washington: 9.7 rating, a drop of 33.6 percent from Chicago-Green Bay in 2015 … a drop of 10.2 percent from Indianapolis-Pittsburgh last year.</p><p>A bit of clarification: CBS did the early-window game from Detroit last year; FOX did the early game from Detroit this year. So the numbers on FOX and CBS are window versus window, not network versus network. But in window versus window, the numbers of ’17 versus ’16 were down 7.2, 12.3, 20.5 and 10.2 percent on Monday and Thursday of Thanksgiving week. Not good.</p><p>7. I think I don’t want to rain on the Matthew Stafford parade, and I get that he is struggling with a sore ankle, but man, that was an underwhelming performance Thursday in a game the Lions had to have.</p><p>8. I think the Eagles have a very interesting road trip coming up: at Seattle on Sunday night, against the beat-up but still dangerous Seahawks; then working out on Eagle season-ticket-holder Mike Trout’s baseball field in Anaheim for the following week; then playing the dangerous Rams (in a preview of my prospective NFC title game) the following Sunday.</p><p>9. I think <a href="http://m.fox8live.com/wvuefox8/db_344663/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=V4IAWNSY" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:congrats are in order" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">congrats are in order</a> for Archie and Olivia Manning’s grandson, Cooper Manning’s son, Peyton Manning’s nephew and Eli Manning’s nephew. A 70-percent passing day for Arch Manning in a big game. Heck of a game, kid. (And yes, the boy goes by “Arch.”)</p><p>10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:</p><p>a. <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/21/opinion/kaepernick-negro-national-anthem.html?_r=0" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Op-Ed of the week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Op-Ed of the week</a>: from Brent Staples of the New York Times<em>, </em>some good lessons on the legacy of national anthems in our country.</p><p>b. <a href="http://joeposnanski.com/kidney-stones-electric-cars-pixelbooks-and-twitter/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Internet column of the Week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Internet column of the Week</a>: The great Joe Posnanski, on (mostly) quitting Twitter at the same time as he gets a kidney stone.</p><p>c. Have you considered the two might be related, Joe? That <em>not </em>being on Twitter may have caused this malady?</p><p>d. <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/alex-ovechkin-is-one-of-putins-biggest-fans-the-question-is-why/2017/11/25/c5f8bb2e-ce36-11e7-9d3a-bcbe2af58c3a_story.html?utm_term=.9c251dc9b82e" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sports/politics story of the week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sports/politics story of the week</a>: by Rick Maese, Isabelle Khurshudyan and Andrew Roth of the Washington Post<em>, </em>on the bizarre intersection of a big hockey star and Vladimir Putin.</p><p>e. I looked the other day at SeatGeek just to see about the “Springsteen on Broadway” show, which of course intrigues me. Two tickets to a January show: $4,882. No thanks.</p><p>f. I read a book on the day after Thanksgiving. A whole book! <a href="http://amzn.to/2A7JjMR" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:“The Rooster Bar,” by John Grisham." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">“The Rooster Bar,” by John Grisham.</a> As usual, Grisham put his hooks in me, and I finished it in six hours. I had a couple of plot problems (I’m sure Mr. Grisham will call me to discuss), but it was easy and fun and the kind of book I love on off-time. It took me to a place and provided great entertainment and made me think.</p><p>g. I am nearly finished with another book I have enjoyed quite a bit: <a href="http://amzn.to/2zsgLdz" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:“Ballplayer,” by Chipper Jones, with Carroll Rodgers Walton" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">“Ballplayer,” by Chipper Jones, with Carroll Rodgers Walton</a>. Good job by Jones talking about life invading his professional space. Funny how that happens.</p><p>h. Annual question: Why are college coaching contracts so incredibly one-way in favor of the coaches?</p><p>i. I cannot believe anyone in the Ohio State athletic department looked at that team on the field Saturday and said, “I really love those uniforms.” Black and white? In the game against Michigan?</p><p>j. Wow. Michigan 1-5 versus Ohio State and Michigan State, its two big rivals, under Jim Harbaugh?</p><p>k. That Auburn-Alabama crowd was ridiculously loud. What a home-field advantage for Auburn. Nick Saban struggled to hear Allie LaForce for the halftime on-field interview. At halftime. When no football was being played.</p><p>l. Coffeenerdness: <a href="https://www.davescoffee.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Dave’s Coffee" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Dave’s Coffee</a> of Rhode Island—you’ve got a good thing going. The stronger the better.</p><p>m. Beernerdness: My wife and I spent a couple of days away in Westerly, R.I., over Thanksgiving, and we gave thanks not only for the time away but for our time at <a href="http://greysailbrewing.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Gray Sail Brewery" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Gray Sail Brewery</a> on a quiet street not far from the Amtrak station and a very cute downtown Westerly. The little brew pub next to the brewery is in a 90-year-old home with original murals on the wall, painted by an Italian artist of lovely scenes in the old country. And on the main floor of the house, locals and tourists lounge around drinking good beer. My pick: The Gray Sail Flagship cream ale, easy to drink and light. Lovely. We got a tour of the brewery (a former macaroni factory, of all things) and a T-shirt, and were on our way. How great is it that in cute little towns all over America local breweries are popping up and thriving? Gray Sail is six years old, and the folks there Friday evening included two families in the converted den, with a couple of tykes running around. Strongly recommend that on your trip up I-95 along the New England coast, just over the border from Connecticut into Rhode Island, you stop there and have a beer.</p><p>n. I’m not sure of this, and maybe it’s because we had to wait so long for it to come, but this season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” has been fairly meh. Even with the fatwa on Larry. Some of the stuff is more than slightly preposterous. More Susie. More Jeff. More Funkhauser.</p><p>o. Happy 64th birthday (Sunday) to one of the best people I’ve covered, Hall of Fame Giants linebacker Harry Carson.</p><p>p. Happy 44th birthday (today) to Renaissance man Jon Runyan, the former tackle and Jersey congressman and current NFL exec.</p><h3>Who I Like Tonight</h3><p><strong>Baltimore 17, Houston 9. </strong>The Ravens have three shutouts this year, and the Texans have allowed 22 touchdown passes and a passer rating of 98.9. If Baltimore, at home, can’t win a game it absolutely has to have (next two games: Detroit, at Pittsburgh) to go to 6-5, the Ravens will soon be playing for 2018.</p><h3>The Adieu Haiku</h3><p>Schiano got jobbed.<br>The moral of the story?<br>Scream loudest, you win.</p><p><strong><em>• We have a newsletter, and you can subscribe, and it’s free</em></strong>. Get “The Morning Huddle” delivered to your inbox first thing each weekday, by <a href="https://www.si.com/static/newsletter/signup" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:going here and checking The MMQB newsletter box." class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><em>going here and checking The MMQB newsletter box.</em></a> Start your day with the best of the NFL, from The MMQB.</p><p><strong>•<em>Question or comment? Story idea?</em></strong> Email us at <span><em>talkback@themmqb.com</em></span>.</p>
Ten Things I Think I Think: On NFL Coaching Candidates, Week 12 Reactions, TV Ratings

1. I think Stanford’s David Shaw had better be in the top two, or one, for any NFL team looking for a head coach in 2018. But remember what he told me two years ago about having a better job than any NFL coach, and whoever wants him is going to have to convince his wife that it’s a better place than Palo Alto. Good luck. My sense is that Shaw will one day coach in the NFL, just not in the next couple of years. My early list of calls I’d make if I had a coach to hire, after I called Shaw:

• New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels
• Kansas City special teams coordinator Dave Toub
• Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz
• Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin
• New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

2. I think I also would fact-find about Carolina defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, University of Washington coach Chris Petersen (who likely wants to stay on the West Coast), Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Houston defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel. I’d phone Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz; I don’t think he’d leave, but I’d make him tell me that. Finally, I don’t know Jacksonville defensive coordinator Todd Wash or Kansas City offensive coordinator Matt Nagy (just 39) but hear good things about them. And as for those who say the pool of available coaches is grim, I would remind you of three names:

• Chuck Noll was an unknown and a distant second to Joe Paterno when the Steelers hired him in 1969. Four Super Bowl wins followed.

• “An inspired choice or a real mistake?” the Philadelphia Inquirer wondered after the hire of Andy Reid in 1999—and he proceeded to win 74 more games than anyone else in club history.

• Robert Kraft told me earlier this year he was warned by former Browns owner Art Modell to stay far away from Bill Belichick—and all Belichick has done is win 235 games in New England.

Moral of the story: There are scores of good coaches out there. They need good quarterbacks and good organizations to succeed.

Last point to make: Jon Gruden might be interested in going back to the Raiders. I hear he loves Derek Carr and would like to see once in his career what he could do with a franchise quarterback. But I think it’s not likely Jack Del Rio gets fired.

3. I think this story about Greg Schiano having a deal to coach Tennessee, then having the deal walked back Sunday evening because of the outcry over what mighthave happened at Penn State connected to the Jerry Sandusky case, over what was never proven and was denied by the relevant parties under oath, over what Tennessee never investigated thoroughly, is a disgrace to thinking people. It also emboldens the screamers on social media, a nod to those who think if you scream loud enough in this current iteration of America you can overcome reason, and a totally unfair slap at a good man in Schiano. The pathetic result of this caper is that the social-media lynch mob won, and no matter how well Schiano does as an assistant at Ohio State, it may never be good enough for him to get a head-coaching job. The water has been poisoned by the crazies. In America today, that matters.

4. I think these are my quick thoughts on Week 12:

a. What a great game Green Bay-Pittsburgh was.

b. Man, Brett Hundley proved me wrong, at least this week. What a tremendous late-fourth-quarter drive, including 72 yards passing, moving the Packers for six first downs and the tying touchdowns—and converting a fourth down with under three minutes left to make the tying score possible.

c. Huge sack by T.J. Watt, nailing Hundley with a minute to go and enabling the Steelers to get the ball back with just enough time.

d. Russell Wilson: To have the Seahawks at 7-4, as beat up as the team is, is a tribute to a very good defense to be sure. But mostly it’s a tribute to you.

e. Thanks, Drew Bledsoe, for the terrific tribute written for The MMQB to the late Terry Glenn.

f. Good stats by Andrew Catalon on CBS: Zane Gonzalez of the Browns has missed five field goals this year, all wide left. Hope you’re renting, Zane.

g. Christian Jones, the Chicago middle linebacker no one knows, sure makes a lot of plays for an unknown guy.

h. When Keenan Allen next negotiates a contract with the Chargers, all he has to do is bring a tape of his last eight quarters in two must-wins for the Chargers, against Buffalo and Dallas, in a five-day span: 23 catches in 27 targets, 331 yards, three touchdowns.

i. The reception, run and stretch for the first down in the fourth quarter by Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs, making the first down by an inch, was a truly great awareness play by Diggs. Kudos to him.

j. Detroit’s Akeem Spence dropping Jerick McKinnon late in the first half for a loss was the kind of textbook run-stuff every defensive-line coach should show his players.

k. Kai Forbath makes me nervous. Very nervous. And if he makes me nervous, imagine what he does to that pepperpot Mike Zimmer.

l. Why, with the game on the line, on fourth-and-eight when the Lions needed a conversion, did Matthew Stafford throw to a blanketed receiver—covered by the Vikes’ best corner, Xavier Rhodes—with almost zero chance for completion?

m. Yikes: Dak Prescott’s passer rating this year with Zeke Elliott in the lineup: 97.9. Prescott without Elliott: 57.0.

n. Looks like Eli Apple is turning into a lost top pick for the Giants, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.

o. Prince Amukamara could take the video of his pass-breakup of the Carson Wentz-to-Torrey Smith throw in Philadelphia and show it to young corners everywhere. Perfect timing, mechanics of a pass breakup.

p. Gotta catch that ball, Austin Seferian-Jenkins. That drop of a first-quarter touchdown pass cost the Jets four points.

5. I think I do not mean to be cruel, but this is the truth: Brock Osweiler has gotten two offensive coordinators (George Godsey, Mike McCoy) fired from two teams (Houston, Denver) in consecutive seasons. Also:

• Osweiler has played so poorly in Houston that he had to be traded to Cleveland along with a second-round pick so the Browns would take him. He played so poorly in training camp in Cleveland that the Browns, desperate for a placeholder quarterback, fired him anyway. He played so poorly in Denver in relief of Trevor Siemian that he was demoted the other day from number one to number three quarterback.

• Osweiler is employed in the NFL today. Colin Kaepernick is not. It helps explain why so many people are rooting hard for Kaepernick’s longshot collusion case against the NFL.

6. I think it’s time to sound the TV ratings alarm—if you haven’t already heard it clanging from coast to coast. It looks even worse when considering that the NFL, perhaps rightfully, blamed last year’s ratings decline on the attention magnet that the 2016 presidential election was. But Thanksgiving week is two weeks clear of the election season. So let’s compare some of the numbers to each of the past two years to see where we are (thanks to Sports Media Watch for the ratings info):

• ESPN, Monday night, Atlanta at Seattle: 6.4 rating, a decline of 28.1 percent from Buffalo-New England in 2015 … a decline of 7.2 percent from Houston-Oakland last year.

• FOX, Thanksgiving Day, Minnesota at Detroit: 11.4 rating, a drop of 7.3 percent from Philadelphia-Detroit in 2015 … a drop of 12.3 percent from Minnesota-Detroit last year.

• CBS, Thanksgiving Day, Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas: 12.4 rating, a decrease of 19.0 percent from Dallas-Carolina in 2015 … a decrease of 20.5 percent from Dallas-Washington last year.

• NBC, Thanksgiving night, New York Giants at Washington: 9.7 rating, a drop of 33.6 percent from Chicago-Green Bay in 2015 … a drop of 10.2 percent from Indianapolis-Pittsburgh last year.

A bit of clarification: CBS did the early-window game from Detroit last year; FOX did the early game from Detroit this year. So the numbers on FOX and CBS are window versus window, not network versus network. But in window versus window, the numbers of ’17 versus ’16 were down 7.2, 12.3, 20.5 and 10.2 percent on Monday and Thursday of Thanksgiving week. Not good.

7. I think I don’t want to rain on the Matthew Stafford parade, and I get that he is struggling with a sore ankle, but man, that was an underwhelming performance Thursday in a game the Lions had to have.

8. I think the Eagles have a very interesting road trip coming up: at Seattle on Sunday night, against the beat-up but still dangerous Seahawks; then working out on Eagle season-ticket-holder Mike Trout’s baseball field in Anaheim for the following week; then playing the dangerous Rams (in a preview of my prospective NFC title game) the following Sunday.

9. I think congrats are in order for Archie and Olivia Manning’s grandson, Cooper Manning’s son, Peyton Manning’s nephew and Eli Manning’s nephew. A 70-percent passing day for Arch Manning in a big game. Heck of a game, kid. (And yes, the boy goes by “Arch.”)

10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:

a. Op-Ed of the week: from Brent Staples of the New York Times, some good lessons on the legacy of national anthems in our country.

b. Internet column of the Week: The great Joe Posnanski, on (mostly) quitting Twitter at the same time as he gets a kidney stone.

c. Have you considered the two might be related, Joe? That not being on Twitter may have caused this malady?

d. Sports/politics story of the week: by Rick Maese, Isabelle Khurshudyan and Andrew Roth of the Washington Post, on the bizarre intersection of a big hockey star and Vladimir Putin.

e. I looked the other day at SeatGeek just to see about the “Springsteen on Broadway” show, which of course intrigues me. Two tickets to a January show: $4,882. No thanks.

f. I read a book on the day after Thanksgiving. A whole book! “The Rooster Bar,” by John Grisham. As usual, Grisham put his hooks in me, and I finished it in six hours. I had a couple of plot problems (I’m sure Mr. Grisham will call me to discuss), but it was easy and fun and the kind of book I love on off-time. It took me to a place and provided great entertainment and made me think.

g. I am nearly finished with another book I have enjoyed quite a bit: “Ballplayer,” by Chipper Jones, with Carroll Rodgers Walton. Good job by Jones talking about life invading his professional space. Funny how that happens.

h. Annual question: Why are college coaching contracts so incredibly one-way in favor of the coaches?

i. I cannot believe anyone in the Ohio State athletic department looked at that team on the field Saturday and said, “I really love those uniforms.” Black and white? In the game against Michigan?

j. Wow. Michigan 1-5 versus Ohio State and Michigan State, its two big rivals, under Jim Harbaugh?

k. That Auburn-Alabama crowd was ridiculously loud. What a home-field advantage for Auburn. Nick Saban struggled to hear Allie LaForce for the halftime on-field interview. At halftime. When no football was being played.

l. Coffeenerdness: Dave’s Coffee of Rhode Island—you’ve got a good thing going. The stronger the better.

m. Beernerdness: My wife and I spent a couple of days away in Westerly, R.I., over Thanksgiving, and we gave thanks not only for the time away but for our time at Gray Sail Brewery on a quiet street not far from the Amtrak station and a very cute downtown Westerly. The little brew pub next to the brewery is in a 90-year-old home with original murals on the wall, painted by an Italian artist of lovely scenes in the old country. And on the main floor of the house, locals and tourists lounge around drinking good beer. My pick: The Gray Sail Flagship cream ale, easy to drink and light. Lovely. We got a tour of the brewery (a former macaroni factory, of all things) and a T-shirt, and were on our way. How great is it that in cute little towns all over America local breweries are popping up and thriving? Gray Sail is six years old, and the folks there Friday evening included two families in the converted den, with a couple of tykes running around. Strongly recommend that on your trip up I-95 along the New England coast, just over the border from Connecticut into Rhode Island, you stop there and have a beer.

n. I’m not sure of this, and maybe it’s because we had to wait so long for it to come, but this season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” has been fairly meh. Even with the fatwa on Larry. Some of the stuff is more than slightly preposterous. More Susie. More Jeff. More Funkhauser.

o. Happy 64th birthday (Sunday) to one of the best people I’ve covered, Hall of Fame Giants linebacker Harry Carson.

p. Happy 44th birthday (today) to Renaissance man Jon Runyan, the former tackle and Jersey congressman and current NFL exec.

Who I Like Tonight

Baltimore 17, Houston 9. The Ravens have three shutouts this year, and the Texans have allowed 22 touchdown passes and a passer rating of 98.9. If Baltimore, at home, can’t win a game it absolutely has to have (next two games: Detroit, at Pittsburgh) to go to 6-5, the Ravens will soon be playing for 2018.

The Adieu Haiku

Schiano got jobbed.
The moral of the story?
Scream loudest, you win.

• We have a newsletter, and you can subscribe, and it’s free. Get “The Morning Huddle” delivered to your inbox first thing each weekday, by going here and checking The MMQB newsletter box. Start your day with the best of the NFL, from The MMQB.

Question or comment? Story idea? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

<p>1. I think Stanford’s David Shaw had better be in the top two, or one, for any NFL team looking for a head coach in 2018. But remember what he told me two years ago about having a better job than any NFL coach, and whoever wants him is going to have to convince his wife that it’s a better place than Palo Alto. Good luck. My sense is that Shaw will one day coach in the NFL, just not in the next couple of years. My early list of calls I’d make if I had a coach to hire, after I called Shaw:</p><p>• New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels<br>• Kansas City special teams coordinator Dave Toub<br>• Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz<br>• Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin<br>• New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.</p><p>2. I think I also would fact-find about Carolina defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, University of Washington coach Chris Petersen (who likely wants to stay on the West Coast), Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Houston defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel. I’d phone Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz; I don’t think he’d leave, but I’d make him tell me that. Finally, I don’t know Jacksonville defensive coordinator Todd Wash or Kansas City offensive coordinator Matt Nagy (just 39) but hear good things about them. And as for those who say the pool of available coaches is grim, I would remind you of three names:</p><p>• Chuck Noll was an unknown and a distant second to Joe Paterno when the Steelers hired him in 1969. Four Super Bowl wins followed. </p><p>• “An inspired choice or a real mistake?” the Philadelphia Inquirer wondered after the hire of Andy Reid in 1999—and he proceeded to win 74 more games than anyone else in club history.</p><p>• Robert Kraft told me earlier this year he was warned by former Browns owner Art Modell to stay far away from Bill Belichick—and all Belichick has done is win 235 games in New England.</p><p>Moral of the story: There are scores of good coaches out there. They need good quarterbacks and good organizations to succeed.</p><p>Last point to make: Jon Gruden might be interested in going back to the Raiders. I hear he loves Derek Carr and would like to see once in his career what he could do with a franchise quarterback. But I think it’s not likely Jack Del Rio gets fired.</p><p>3. I think this story about Greg Schiano having a deal to coach Tennessee, then having the deal walked back Sunday evening because of the outcry over what <em>might</em>have happened at Penn State connected to the Jerry Sandusky case, over what was <em>never proven and was denied by the relevant parties under oath</em>, over what Tennessee <em>never investigated thoroughly, </em>is a disgrace to thinking people. It also emboldens the screamers on social media, a nod to those who think if you scream loud enough in this current iteration of America you can overcome reason, and a totally unfair slap at a good man in Schiano. The pathetic result of this caper is that the social-media lynch mob won, and no matter how well Schiano does as an assistant at Ohio State, it may never be good enough for him to get a head-coaching job. The water has been poisoned by the crazies. In America today, that matters.</p><p>4. I think these are my quick thoughts on Week 12:</p><p>a. What a great game Green Bay-Pittsburgh was.</p><p>b. Man, Brett Hundley proved me wrong, at least this week. What a tremendous late-fourth-quarter drive, including 72 yards passing, moving the Packers for six first downs and the tying touchdowns—and converting a fourth down with under three minutes left to make the tying score possible.</p><p>c. Huge sack by T.J. Watt, nailing Hundley with a minute to go and enabling the Steelers to get the ball back with just enough time.</p><p>d. Russell Wilson: To have the Seahawks at 7-4, as beat up as the team is, is a tribute to a very good defense to be sure. But mostly it’s a tribute to you.</p><p>e. Thanks, Drew Bledsoe, for <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/11/20/terry-glenn-remembered-drew-bledsoe-patriots-cowboys" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the terrific tribute written for The MMQB" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the terrific tribute written for The MMQB</a> to the late Terry Glenn.</p><p>f. Good stats by Andrew Catalon on CBS: Zane Gonzalez of the Browns has missed five field goals this year, all wide left. Hope you’re renting, Zane.</p><p>g. Christian Jones, the Chicago middle linebacker no one knows, sure makes a lot of plays for an unknown guy.</p><p>h. When Keenan Allen next negotiates a contract with the Chargers, all he has to do is bring a tape of his last eight quarters in two must-wins for the Chargers, against Buffalo and Dallas, in a five-day span: 23 catches in 27 targets, 331 yards, three touchdowns.</p><p>i. The reception, run and stretch for the first down in the fourth quarter by Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs, making the first down by an inch, was a truly great awareness play by Diggs. Kudos to him.</p><p>j. Detroit’s Akeem Spence dropping Jerick McKinnon late in the first half for a loss was the kind of textbook run-stuff every defensive-line coach should show his players.</p><p>k. Kai Forbath makes me nervous. Very nervous. And if he makes me nervous, imagine what he does to that pepperpot Mike Zimmer.</p><p>l. Why, with the game on the line, on fourth-and-eight when the Lions needed a conversion, did Matthew Stafford throw to a blanketed receiver—covered by the Vikes’ best corner, Xavier Rhodes—with almost zero chance for completion?</p><p>m. Yikes: Dak Prescott’s passer rating this year with Zeke Elliott in the lineup: 97.9. Prescott without Elliott: 57.0.</p><p>n. Looks like Eli Apple is turning into a lost top pick for the Giants, <a href="https://nypost.com/2017/11/25/eli-apples-attitude-towards-criticism-led-to-near-walk-out/?utm_campaign=iosapp&#38;utm_source=twitter_app" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:per Paul Schwartz" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">per Paul Schwartz</a> of the New York Post.</p><p>o. Prince Amukamara could take the video of his pass-breakup of the Carson Wentz-to-Torrey Smith throw in Philadelphia and show it to young corners everywhere. Perfect timing, mechanics of a pass breakup.</p><p>p. Gotta catch that ball, Austin Seferian-Jenkins. That drop of a first-quarter touchdown pass cost the Jets four points.</p><p>5. I think I do not mean to be cruel, but this is the truth: Brock Osweiler has gotten two offensive coordinators (George Godsey, Mike McCoy) fired from two teams (Houston, Denver) in consecutive seasons. Also:</p><p>• Osweiler has played so poorly in Houston that he had to be traded to Cleveland <em>along with a second-round pick so the Browns would take him. </em>He played so poorly in training camp in Cleveland that the Browns, desperate for a placeholder quarterback, fired him anyway. He played so poorly in Denver in relief of Trevor Siemian that he was demoted the other day from number one to number three quarterback.</p><p>• Osweiler is employed in the NFL today. Colin Kaepernick is not. It helps explain why so many people are rooting hard for Kaepernick’s longshot collusion case against the NFL.</p><p>6. I think it’s time to sound the TV ratings alarm—if you haven’t already heard it clanging from coast to coast. It looks even worse when considering that the NFL, perhaps rightfully, blamed last year’s ratings decline on the attention magnet that the 2016 presidential election was. But Thanksgiving week is two weeks clear of the election season. So let’s compare some of the numbers to each of the past two years to see where we are (thanks to Sports Media Watch for the ratings info):</p><p>• ESPN, Monday night, Atlanta at Seattle: 6.4 rating, a decline of 28.1 percent from Buffalo-New England in 2015 … a decline of 7.2 percent from Houston-Oakland last year.</p><p>• FOX, Thanksgiving Day, Minnesota at Detroit: 11.4 rating, a drop of 7.3 percent from Philadelphia-Detroit in 2015 … a drop of 12.3 percent from Minnesota-Detroit last year.</p><p>• CBS, Thanksgiving Day, Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas: 12.4 rating, a decrease of 19.0 percent from Dallas-Carolina in 2015 … a decrease of 20.5 percent from Dallas-Washington last year.</p><p>• NBC, Thanksgiving night, New York Giants at Washington: 9.7 rating, a drop of 33.6 percent from Chicago-Green Bay in 2015 … a drop of 10.2 percent from Indianapolis-Pittsburgh last year.</p><p>A bit of clarification: CBS did the early-window game from Detroit last year; FOX did the early game from Detroit this year. So the numbers on FOX and CBS are window versus window, not network versus network. But in window versus window, the numbers of ’17 versus ’16 were down 7.2, 12.3, 20.5 and 10.2 percent on Monday and Thursday of Thanksgiving week. Not good.</p><p>7. I think I don’t want to rain on the Matthew Stafford parade, and I get that he is struggling with a sore ankle, but man, that was an underwhelming performance Thursday in a game the Lions had to have.</p><p>8. I think the Eagles have a very interesting road trip coming up: at Seattle on Sunday night, against the beat-up but still dangerous Seahawks; then working out on Eagle season-ticket-holder Mike Trout’s baseball field in Anaheim for the following week; then playing the dangerous Rams (in a preview of my prospective NFC title game) the following Sunday.</p><p>9. I think <a href="http://m.fox8live.com/wvuefox8/db_344663/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=V4IAWNSY" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:congrats are in order" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">congrats are in order</a> for Archie and Olivia Manning’s grandson, Cooper Manning’s son, Peyton Manning’s nephew and Eli Manning’s nephew. A 70-percent passing day for Arch Manning in a big game. Heck of a game, kid. (And yes, the boy goes by “Arch.”)</p><p>10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:</p><p>a. <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/21/opinion/kaepernick-negro-national-anthem.html?_r=0" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Op-Ed of the week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Op-Ed of the week</a>: from Brent Staples of the New York Times<em>, </em>some good lessons on the legacy of national anthems in our country.</p><p>b. <a href="http://joeposnanski.com/kidney-stones-electric-cars-pixelbooks-and-twitter/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Internet column of the Week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Internet column of the Week</a>: The great Joe Posnanski, on (mostly) quitting Twitter at the same time as he gets a kidney stone.</p><p>c. Have you considered the two might be related, Joe? That <em>not </em>being on Twitter may have caused this malady?</p><p>d. <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/alex-ovechkin-is-one-of-putins-biggest-fans-the-question-is-why/2017/11/25/c5f8bb2e-ce36-11e7-9d3a-bcbe2af58c3a_story.html?utm_term=.9c251dc9b82e" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sports/politics story of the week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sports/politics story of the week</a>: by Rick Maese, Isabelle Khurshudyan and Andrew Roth of the Washington Post<em>, </em>on the bizarre intersection of a big hockey star and Vladimir Putin.</p><p>e. I looked the other day at SeatGeek just to see about the “Springsteen on Broadway” show, which of course intrigues me. Two tickets to a January show: $4,882. No thanks.</p><p>f. I read a book on the day after Thanksgiving. A whole book! <a href="http://amzn.to/2A7JjMR" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:“The Rooster Bar,” by John Grisham." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">“The Rooster Bar,” by John Grisham.</a> As usual, Grisham put his hooks in me, and I finished it in six hours. I had a couple of plot problems (I’m sure Mr. Grisham will call me to discuss), but it was easy and fun and the kind of book I love on off-time. It took me to a place and provided great entertainment and made me think.</p><p>g. I am nearly finished with another book I have enjoyed quite a bit: <a href="http://amzn.to/2zsgLdz" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:“Ballplayer,” by Chipper Jones, with Carroll Rodgers Walton" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">“Ballplayer,” by Chipper Jones, with Carroll Rodgers Walton</a>. Good job by Jones talking about life invading his professional space. Funny how that happens.</p><p>h. Annual question: Why are college coaching contracts so incredibly one-way in favor of the coaches?</p><p>i. I cannot believe anyone in the Ohio State athletic department looked at that team on the field Saturday and said, “I really love those uniforms.” Black and white? In the game against Michigan?</p><p>j. Wow. Michigan 1-5 versus Ohio State and Michigan State, its two big rivals, under Jim Harbaugh?</p><p>k. That Auburn-Alabama crowd was ridiculously loud. What a home-field advantage for Auburn. Nick Saban struggled to hear Allie LaForce for the halftime on-field interview. At halftime. When no football was being played.</p><p>l. Coffeenerdness: <a href="https://www.davescoffee.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Dave’s Coffee" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Dave’s Coffee</a> of Rhode Island—you’ve got a good thing going. The stronger the better.</p><p>m. Beernerdness: My wife and I spent a couple of days away in Westerly, R.I., over Thanksgiving, and we gave thanks not only for the time away but for our time at <a href="http://greysailbrewing.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Gray Sail Brewery" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Gray Sail Brewery</a> on a quiet street not far from the Amtrak station and a very cute downtown Westerly. The little brew pub next to the brewery is in a 90-year-old home with original murals on the wall, painted by an Italian artist of lovely scenes in the old country. And on the main floor of the house, locals and tourists lounge around drinking good beer. My pick: The Gray Sail Flagship cream ale, easy to drink and light. Lovely. We got a tour of the brewery (a former macaroni factory, of all things) and a T-shirt, and were on our way. How great is it that in cute little towns all over America local breweries are popping up and thriving? Gray Sail is six years old, and the folks there Friday evening included two families in the converted den, with a couple of tykes running around. Strongly recommend that on your trip up I-95 along the New England coast, just over the border from Connecticut into Rhode Island, you stop there and have a beer.</p><p>n. I’m not sure of this, and maybe it’s because we had to wait so long for it to come, but this season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” has been fairly meh. Even with the fatwa on Larry. Some of the stuff is more than slightly preposterous. More Susie. More Jeff. More Funkhauser.</p><p>o. Happy 64th birthday (Sunday) to one of the best people I’ve covered, Hall of Fame Giants linebacker Harry Carson.</p><p>p. Happy 44th birthday (today) to Renaissance man Jon Runyan, the former tackle and Jersey congressman and current NFL exec.</p><h3>Who I Like Tonight</h3><p><strong>Baltimore 17, Houston 9. </strong>The Ravens have three shutouts this year, and the Texans have allowed 22 touchdown passes and a passer rating of 98.9. If Baltimore, at home, can’t win a game it absolutely has to have (next two games: Detroit, at Pittsburgh) to go to 6-5, the Ravens will soon be playing for 2018.</p><h3>The Adieu Haiku</h3><p>Schiano got jobbed.<br>The moral of the story?<br>Scream loudest, you win.</p><p><strong><em>• We have a newsletter, and you can subscribe, and it’s free</em></strong>. Get “The Morning Huddle” delivered to your inbox first thing each weekday, by <a href="https://www.si.com/static/newsletter/signup" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:going here and checking The MMQB newsletter box." class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><em>going here and checking The MMQB newsletter box.</em></a> Start your day with the best of the NFL, from The MMQB.</p><p><strong>•<em>Question or comment? Story idea?</em></strong> Email us at <span><em>talkback@themmqb.com</em></span>.</p>
Ten Things I Think I Think: On NFL Coaching Candidates, Week 12 Reactions, TV Ratings

1. I think Stanford’s David Shaw had better be in the top two, or one, for any NFL team looking for a head coach in 2018. But remember what he told me two years ago about having a better job than any NFL coach, and whoever wants him is going to have to convince his wife that it’s a better place than Palo Alto. Good luck. My sense is that Shaw will one day coach in the NFL, just not in the next couple of years. My early list of calls I’d make if I had a coach to hire, after I called Shaw:

• New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels
• Kansas City special teams coordinator Dave Toub
• Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz
• Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin
• New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

2. I think I also would fact-find about Carolina defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, University of Washington coach Chris Petersen (who likely wants to stay on the West Coast), Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Houston defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel. I’d phone Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz; I don’t think he’d leave, but I’d make him tell me that. Finally, I don’t know Jacksonville defensive coordinator Todd Wash or Kansas City offensive coordinator Matt Nagy (just 39) but hear good things about them. And as for those who say the pool of available coaches is grim, I would remind you of three names:

• Chuck Noll was an unknown and a distant second to Joe Paterno when the Steelers hired him in 1969. Four Super Bowl wins followed.

• “An inspired choice or a real mistake?” the Philadelphia Inquirer wondered after the hire of Andy Reid in 1999—and he proceeded to win 74 more games than anyone else in club history.

• Robert Kraft told me earlier this year he was warned by former Browns owner Art Modell to stay far away from Bill Belichick—and all Belichick has done is win 235 games in New England.

Moral of the story: There are scores of good coaches out there. They need good quarterbacks and good organizations to succeed.

Last point to make: Jon Gruden might be interested in going back to the Raiders. I hear he loves Derek Carr and would like to see once in his career what he could do with a franchise quarterback. But I think it’s not likely Jack Del Rio gets fired.

3. I think this story about Greg Schiano having a deal to coach Tennessee, then having the deal walked back Sunday evening because of the outcry over what mighthave happened at Penn State connected to the Jerry Sandusky case, over what was never proven and was denied by the relevant parties under oath, over what Tennessee never investigated thoroughly, is a disgrace to thinking people. It also emboldens the screamers on social media, a nod to those who think if you scream loud enough in this current iteration of America you can overcome reason, and a totally unfair slap at a good man in Schiano. The pathetic result of this caper is that the social-media lynch mob won, and no matter how well Schiano does as an assistant at Ohio State, it may never be good enough for him to get a head-coaching job. The water has been poisoned by the crazies. In America today, that matters.

4. I think these are my quick thoughts on Week 12:

a. What a great game Green Bay-Pittsburgh was.

b. Man, Brett Hundley proved me wrong, at least this week. What a tremendous late-fourth-quarter drive, including 72 yards passing, moving the Packers for six first downs and the tying touchdowns—and converting a fourth down with under three minutes left to make the tying score possible.

c. Huge sack by T.J. Watt, nailing Hundley with a minute to go and enabling the Steelers to get the ball back with just enough time.

d. Russell Wilson: To have the Seahawks at 7-4, as beat up as the team is, is a tribute to a very good defense to be sure. But mostly it’s a tribute to you.

e. Thanks, Drew Bledsoe, for the terrific tribute written for The MMQB to the late Terry Glenn.

f. Good stats by Andrew Catalon on CBS: Zane Gonzalez of the Browns has missed five field goals this year, all wide left. Hope you’re renting, Zane.

g. Christian Jones, the Chicago middle linebacker no one knows, sure makes a lot of plays for an unknown guy.

h. When Keenan Allen next negotiates a contract with the Chargers, all he has to do is bring a tape of his last eight quarters in two must-wins for the Chargers, against Buffalo and Dallas, in a five-day span: 23 catches in 27 targets, 331 yards, three touchdowns.

i. The reception, run and stretch for the first down in the fourth quarter by Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs, making the first down by an inch, was a truly great awareness play by Diggs. Kudos to him.

j. Detroit’s Akeem Spence dropping Jerick McKinnon late in the first half for a loss was the kind of textbook run-stuff every defensive-line coach should show his players.

k. Kai Forbath makes me nervous. Very nervous. And if he makes me nervous, imagine what he does to that pepperpot Mike Zimmer.

l. Why, with the game on the line, on fourth-and-eight when the Lions needed a conversion, did Matthew Stafford throw to a blanketed receiver—covered by the Vikes’ best corner, Xavier Rhodes—with almost zero chance for completion?

m. Yikes: Dak Prescott’s passer rating this year with Zeke Elliott in the lineup: 97.9. Prescott without Elliott: 57.0.

n. Looks like Eli Apple is turning into a lost top pick for the Giants, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.

o. Prince Amukamara could take the video of his pass-breakup of the Carson Wentz-to-Torrey Smith throw in Philadelphia and show it to young corners everywhere. Perfect timing, mechanics of a pass breakup.

p. Gotta catch that ball, Austin Seferian-Jenkins. That drop of a first-quarter touchdown pass cost the Jets four points.

5. I think I do not mean to be cruel, but this is the truth: Brock Osweiler has gotten two offensive coordinators (George Godsey, Mike McCoy) fired from two teams (Houston, Denver) in consecutive seasons. Also:

• Osweiler has played so poorly in Houston that he had to be traded to Cleveland along with a second-round pick so the Browns would take him. He played so poorly in training camp in Cleveland that the Browns, desperate for a placeholder quarterback, fired him anyway. He played so poorly in Denver in relief of Trevor Siemian that he was demoted the other day from number one to number three quarterback.

• Osweiler is employed in the NFL today. Colin Kaepernick is not. It helps explain why so many people are rooting hard for Kaepernick’s longshot collusion case against the NFL.

6. I think it’s time to sound the TV ratings alarm—if you haven’t already heard it clanging from coast to coast. It looks even worse when considering that the NFL, perhaps rightfully, blamed last year’s ratings decline on the attention magnet that the 2016 presidential election was. But Thanksgiving week is two weeks clear of the election season. So let’s compare some of the numbers to each of the past two years to see where we are (thanks to Sports Media Watch for the ratings info):

• ESPN, Monday night, Atlanta at Seattle: 6.4 rating, a decline of 28.1 percent from Buffalo-New England in 2015 … a decline of 7.2 percent from Houston-Oakland last year.

• FOX, Thanksgiving Day, Minnesota at Detroit: 11.4 rating, a drop of 7.3 percent from Philadelphia-Detroit in 2015 … a drop of 12.3 percent from Minnesota-Detroit last year.

• CBS, Thanksgiving Day, Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas: 12.4 rating, a decrease of 19.0 percent from Dallas-Carolina in 2015 … a decrease of 20.5 percent from Dallas-Washington last year.

• NBC, Thanksgiving night, New York Giants at Washington: 9.7 rating, a drop of 33.6 percent from Chicago-Green Bay in 2015 … a drop of 10.2 percent from Indianapolis-Pittsburgh last year.

A bit of clarification: CBS did the early-window game from Detroit last year; FOX did the early game from Detroit this year. So the numbers on FOX and CBS are window versus window, not network versus network. But in window versus window, the numbers of ’17 versus ’16 were down 7.2, 12.3, 20.5 and 10.2 percent on Monday and Thursday of Thanksgiving week. Not good.

7. I think I don’t want to rain on the Matthew Stafford parade, and I get that he is struggling with a sore ankle, but man, that was an underwhelming performance Thursday in a game the Lions had to have.

8. I think the Eagles have a very interesting road trip coming up: at Seattle on Sunday night, against the beat-up but still dangerous Seahawks; then working out on Eagle season-ticket-holder Mike Trout’s baseball field in Anaheim for the following week; then playing the dangerous Rams (in a preview of my prospective NFC title game) the following Sunday.

9. I think congrats are in order for Archie and Olivia Manning’s grandson, Cooper Manning’s son, Peyton Manning’s nephew and Eli Manning’s nephew. A 70-percent passing day for Arch Manning in a big game. Heck of a game, kid. (And yes, the boy goes by “Arch.”)

10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:

a. Op-Ed of the week: from Brent Staples of the New York Times, some good lessons on the legacy of national anthems in our country.

b. Internet column of the Week: The great Joe Posnanski, on (mostly) quitting Twitter at the same time as he gets a kidney stone.

c. Have you considered the two might be related, Joe? That not being on Twitter may have caused this malady?

d. Sports/politics story of the week: by Rick Maese, Isabelle Khurshudyan and Andrew Roth of the Washington Post, on the bizarre intersection of a big hockey star and Vladimir Putin.

e. I looked the other day at SeatGeek just to see about the “Springsteen on Broadway” show, which of course intrigues me. Two tickets to a January show: $4,882. No thanks.

f. I read a book on the day after Thanksgiving. A whole book! “The Rooster Bar,” by John Grisham. As usual, Grisham put his hooks in me, and I finished it in six hours. I had a couple of plot problems (I’m sure Mr. Grisham will call me to discuss), but it was easy and fun and the kind of book I love on off-time. It took me to a place and provided great entertainment and made me think.

g. I am nearly finished with another book I have enjoyed quite a bit: “Ballplayer,” by Chipper Jones, with Carroll Rodgers Walton. Good job by Jones talking about life invading his professional space. Funny how that happens.

h. Annual question: Why are college coaching contracts so incredibly one-way in favor of the coaches?

i. I cannot believe anyone in the Ohio State athletic department looked at that team on the field Saturday and said, “I really love those uniforms.” Black and white? In the game against Michigan?

j. Wow. Michigan 1-5 versus Ohio State and Michigan State, its two big rivals, under Jim Harbaugh?

k. That Auburn-Alabama crowd was ridiculously loud. What a home-field advantage for Auburn. Nick Saban struggled to hear Allie LaForce for the halftime on-field interview. At halftime. When no football was being played.

l. Coffeenerdness: Dave’s Coffee of Rhode Island—you’ve got a good thing going. The stronger the better.

m. Beernerdness: My wife and I spent a couple of days away in Westerly, R.I., over Thanksgiving, and we gave thanks not only for the time away but for our time at Gray Sail Brewery on a quiet street not far from the Amtrak station and a very cute downtown Westerly. The little brew pub next to the brewery is in a 90-year-old home with original murals on the wall, painted by an Italian artist of lovely scenes in the old country. And on the main floor of the house, locals and tourists lounge around drinking good beer. My pick: The Gray Sail Flagship cream ale, easy to drink and light. Lovely. We got a tour of the brewery (a former macaroni factory, of all things) and a T-shirt, and were on our way. How great is it that in cute little towns all over America local breweries are popping up and thriving? Gray Sail is six years old, and the folks there Friday evening included two families in the converted den, with a couple of tykes running around. Strongly recommend that on your trip up I-95 along the New England coast, just over the border from Connecticut into Rhode Island, you stop there and have a beer.

n. I’m not sure of this, and maybe it’s because we had to wait so long for it to come, but this season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” has been fairly meh. Even with the fatwa on Larry. Some of the stuff is more than slightly preposterous. More Susie. More Jeff. More Funkhauser.

o. Happy 64th birthday (Sunday) to one of the best people I’ve covered, Hall of Fame Giants linebacker Harry Carson.

p. Happy 44th birthday (today) to Renaissance man Jon Runyan, the former tackle and Jersey congressman and current NFL exec.

Who I Like Tonight

Baltimore 17, Houston 9. The Ravens have three shutouts this year, and the Texans have allowed 22 touchdown passes and a passer rating of 98.9. If Baltimore, at home, can’t win a game it absolutely has to have (next two games: Detroit, at Pittsburgh) to go to 6-5, the Ravens will soon be playing for 2018.

The Adieu Haiku

Schiano got jobbed.
The moral of the story?
Scream loudest, you win.

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<p>Tennessee was finalizing a deal with Greg Schiano Sunday to become the team&#39;s new head coach and it did not go over too well with fans in Knoxville. The backlash eventually led to the Vols backing out of the deal, <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/11/26/tennessee-greg-schiano-deal-off-backlash" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:sources told SI.com&#39;s Bruce Feldman" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">sources told SI.com&#39;s Bruce Feldman</a>.</p><p>Schiano is currently serving as the defensive coordinator at Ohio State. He previously coached at Rutgers for 11 seasons and helped make the Scarlet Knights into a relevant football program in the Big East. He coached in the NFL for two seasons. </p><p>Schiano&#39;s time as an assistant under Joe Paterno at Penn State has been the subject of controversy and a source of Tennessee fans&#39; unrest. Documents released in July 2016 contain testimony that alleges Schiano had knowledge of the sexual abuse that was perpetrated by defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who is serving a minimum 30-year sentence after his 2012 conviction on 45 charges of sexually abusing 10 boys. Schiano denies ever seeing any abuse or having any reason to suspect any abuse in his time at Penn State.</p><p><em>Here&#39;s what some notable figures and fans said about the potential deal:</em></p><p>Tennessee fired Butch Jones on Nov. 12 after they dropped to 0–6 in SEC play. He went 34–27 in his five seasons with the Vols.</p>
Tennessee Fans in Uproar Over Reports School Is Hiring Greg Schiano

Tennessee was finalizing a deal with Greg Schiano Sunday to become the team's new head coach and it did not go over too well with fans in Knoxville. The backlash eventually led to the Vols backing out of the deal, sources told SI.com's Bruce Feldman.

Schiano is currently serving as the defensive coordinator at Ohio State. He previously coached at Rutgers for 11 seasons and helped make the Scarlet Knights into a relevant football program in the Big East. He coached in the NFL for two seasons.

Schiano's time as an assistant under Joe Paterno at Penn State has been the subject of controversy and a source of Tennessee fans' unrest. Documents released in July 2016 contain testimony that alleges Schiano had knowledge of the sexual abuse that was perpetrated by defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who is serving a minimum 30-year sentence after his 2012 conviction on 45 charges of sexually abusing 10 boys. Schiano denies ever seeing any abuse or having any reason to suspect any abuse in his time at Penn State.

Here's what some notable figures and fans said about the potential deal:

Tennessee fired Butch Jones on Nov. 12 after they dropped to 0–6 in SEC play. He went 34–27 in his five seasons with the Vols.

FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2017, file photo, Penn State head coach James Franklin, left, celebrates with tight end Mike Gesicki (88) after Gesicki scored a touchdown against Pittsburgh during the first half of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa. In his fourth season as Penn State coach, James Franklin has the No. 2 team in the country. He has not just restored the pride in Penn State football to pre-Sandusky scandal levels, the Nittany Lions are playing as well as they did during Joe Paterno&#39;s prime. (AP Photo/Chris Knight, File)
Franklin leads Penn State with grand vision, big personality
FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2017, file photo, Penn State head coach James Franklin, left, celebrates with tight end Mike Gesicki (88) after Gesicki scored a touchdown against Pittsburgh during the first half of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa. In his fourth season as Penn State coach, James Franklin has the No. 2 team in the country. He has not just restored the pride in Penn State football to pre-Sandusky scandal levels, the Nittany Lions are playing as well as they did during Joe Paterno's prime. (AP Photo/Chris Knight, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2017, file photo, Penn State head coach James Franklin stands on the sidelines as the team takes on Georgia State during the first half of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa. In his fourth season as Penn State coach, James Franklin has the No. 2 team in the country. He has not just restored the pride in Penn State football to pre-Sandusky scandal levels, the Nittany Lions are playing as well as they did during Joe Paterno&#39;s prime. (AP Photo/Chris Knight, File)
Franklin leads Penn State with grand vision, big personality
FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2017, file photo, Penn State head coach James Franklin stands on the sidelines as the team takes on Georgia State during the first half of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa. In his fourth season as Penn State coach, James Franklin has the No. 2 team in the country. He has not just restored the pride in Penn State football to pre-Sandusky scandal levels, the Nittany Lions are playing as well as they did during Joe Paterno's prime. (AP Photo/Chris Knight, File)
<p><em>Sports Illustrated is celebrating Penn State’s last quarter-century of Big Ten play with a special issue, honoring the school’s greatest players and games from the era. <a href="https://backissues.si.com/storefront/2017/penn-state-25-years-in-the-big-10/prodSI20171020SPEC.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:You can get your copy at newsstands now, or order it online here." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">You can get your copy at newsstands now, or order it online here.</a></em></p><p>The new era began with a secret dinner.</p><p>In the spring of 1989, a delegation from Penn State, including football coach Joe Paterno, flew to Champaign, Ill., in a private plane to not draw attention. The president of the University of Illinois, Stanley Ikenberry, sent a driver to the airport but didn’t go himself to avoid being seen. Back at the President’s House on campus, just a single staff member was asked to work that night.</p><p>The purpose of the dinner was to discuss the possibility of Penn State’s joining the Big Ten. They didn’t want anybody to know, in case it didn’t work out.</p><p>At that point Penn State was competing as an independent in football, as it had done for a century, but going it alone was becoming less desirable. In 1981, Paterno had worked to establish an Eastern sports conference, but Penn State was left out in the cold as Syracuse and other basketball-centric schools joined the Big East. And, while it certainly didn’t turn out this way, Paterno at the time had said he planned to retire at 65, which was just a few years off. His expected departure was another reason the university longed for the stability of a conference affiliation.</p><p>Penn State’s president, Bryce Jordan, was the one who had contacted Ikenberry. As chairman of the Council of 10, the Big Ten’s governing body, Ikenberry held considerable influence—and he was also a former Penn State senior vice president. “What would you think about Penn State joining the Big Ten?” Jordan asked him. Ikenberry agreed to meet with Paterno et al., before raising the topic with the other nine university presidents.</p><p>Several months after the dinner, word reached the media that an invitation had been extended to Penn State to join the Big Ten. In June 1990, the Council of 10 convened in Iowa City for the official vote while Penn State administrators waited apprehensively in Old Main. After two days of deliberations, the conference presidents voted the Nittany Lions in 7–3, the minimum margin needed to pass. (Indiana was the only school to state publicly it had voted against the move.) The 1993 season was Penn State football’s first as a member of the Big Ten. Today it is hard to imagine the Big Ten without Penn State, and vice versa.</p><p>• <strong><a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/photo/2017/10/20/penn-state-nittany-lions-lavar-arrington-whiteout" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Vault: Classic Penn State photos" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Vault: Classic Penn State photos</a> | <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/10/23/penn-state-offense-michigan-ohio-state" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:STAPLES: How Joe Moorhead messed with Michigan" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">STAPLES: How Joe Moorhead messed with Michigan</a></strong></p><p>“I don’t think there’s any doubt that it was the right decision then, the right decision now,” says Jim Delany, who has been Big Ten commissioner since 1989, “and that while there has been a lot of conference expansion since, I’m not sure there has ever been a better fit or match.”</p><p>Pennsylvania was a contiguous state to Big Ten territory, and Penn State was a land-grant institution like many of the conference’s members, but its most appealing attributes were ones that would help the Big Ten grow: Its football team brought the conference a third national brand, along with Ohio State and Michigan, and Penn State was also a bridge to the East, opening up a larger media audience, a broader recruiting base and the potential for expansion.</p><p>The reception at first, however, could be generously described as lukewarm. Traditionalists didn’t like the fact that the Big Ten now had 11 teams; others grumbled that tiny State College was inaccessible. Among the discontented was Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight, who said, “I’ve been to Penn State, and Penn State is a camping trip. There is nothing for 100 miles.” Northwestern, meanwhile, feared that it was about to be pushed out. Penn State, which had won two national titles in the previous decade, also figured to make the football competition stiffer—not necessarily good news for all.</p><p>Penn State won its first Big Ten title in its second season in the conference, but memories of that undefeated 1994 team inspire ire as well as awe. The Lions headed to the Rose Bowl knowing that a victory over a three-loss Oregon team might not earn the poll votes needed to be named national champions—and that is exactly what happened. Had we still been an independent, fans griped, the Lions could have had the chance to play fellow undefeated—and eventual national champion—Nebraska, in the Orange Bowl, and win the title on the field.</p><p>Over the years the changes in major college football have confirmed the original analysis: joining a conference was a business necessity, as well as a competitive one. (Penn State’s other sports have benefitted, too: The Big Ten era hastened the construction of a new basketball arena, named after Bryce Jordan; and the Olympic sports have combined for 30 NCAA championships, more than any other Big Ten school.)</p><p>The move meant that regional rivalries like Pitt–Penn State went on hiatus for 15 years, but the Big Ten schedule quickly became the tablet on which Lions history was written. The LaVar Leap happened against Illinois; Larry Johnson broke the 2,000-yard rushing mark against Michigan State; and no matter their records, <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/09/24/penn-state-iowa-last-second-touchdown" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the Hawkeyes always seem to give the Lions trouble" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the Hawkeyes always seem to give the Lions trouble</a>. After losing seasons in the early 2000s, Penn State declared its comeback on an October night in 2005 when defensive end Tamba Hali upended Buckeyes quarterback Troy Smith to seal a victory against Ohio State. Were it not for a mysterious two seconds added back to the clock at Michigan Stadium the following week, the Lions would have been unbeaten. In 2016, when Penn State won its fourth Big Ten football championship, the season turned with an underdog win against the No. 2 Buckeyes, delivered on a blocked field goal returned for a game-winning touchdown.</p><p>The 2016 season was a comeback for Lions football, but Penn State had to return from a place no school ever had before. The program and community had been stunned by the November 2011 indictment of Jerry Sandusky, who had retired as defensive coordinator in 1999 after 32 years in State College. Sandusky was charged with sexually abusing boys he had met through his charity for at-risk youth. The arrest was the first in a series of shocks. Paterno was fired after Sandusky’s arrest, and the Big Ten decided to remove his name from the conference championship trophy; Paterno died from lung cancer two months later. Sandusky was found guilty of 45 counts of child sex abuse and will spend the rest of his life in prison. In 2017 three university officials, including former president Graham Spanier, were sentenced to jail time for failing to alert authorities to allegations against Sandusky.</p><p>The NCAA issued a four-year postseason ban to Penn State, reduced scholarships and vacated wins from 14 seasons. Bill O’Brien in 2012 and then James Franklin in ’14 were brought in to lead the football program as the first new head football coaches in Happy Valley since 1966. In ’14 penalties were rolled back, gradually returning scholarships and lifting the postseason ban, and Paterno was later restored in the record books as the winningest coach in major college football history. In ’16 the team again earned an invitation to the Rose Bowl.</p><p>At the Big Ten media days in the summer of 2017, Delany called the Sandusky case and its aftermath the “most difficult set of circumstances” he’d been confronted with, but he also commended Penn State’s road back. “They’ve got great leadership, great players,” he said, “and we’re really happy that they’ve gotten to the other side, if you will, after five years.”</p><p>Today, in the age of super-conferences, the Big Ten’s further expansion seems inevitable. But for two decades, Penn State had stood alone as the 11th and final member of the Big Ten. There had been a temporary moratorium on further expansion after Penn State was added, but in 2011, Nebraska joined. In ’14 came two more Eastern neighbors, Rutgers and Maryland. The clever Big Ten logo the conference commissioned when Penn State joined—the one with the “11” tucked in—was replaced with “B1G.”</p><p>Each subsequent expansion of the Big Ten may have been easier—but in the landscape of college football, not more significant than adding Penn State 25 years ago.</p><p><em>Jenny Vrentas, a writer for The MMQB, grew up in State College and graduated from Penn State in 2006.</em></p>
Twenty-Five Seasons Later, Penn State and the Big Ten Remain a Perfect Match

Sports Illustrated is celebrating Penn State’s last quarter-century of Big Ten play with a special issue, honoring the school’s greatest players and games from the era. You can get your copy at newsstands now, or order it online here.

The new era began with a secret dinner.

In the spring of 1989, a delegation from Penn State, including football coach Joe Paterno, flew to Champaign, Ill., in a private plane to not draw attention. The president of the University of Illinois, Stanley Ikenberry, sent a driver to the airport but didn’t go himself to avoid being seen. Back at the President’s House on campus, just a single staff member was asked to work that night.

The purpose of the dinner was to discuss the possibility of Penn State’s joining the Big Ten. They didn’t want anybody to know, in case it didn’t work out.

At that point Penn State was competing as an independent in football, as it had done for a century, but going it alone was becoming less desirable. In 1981, Paterno had worked to establish an Eastern sports conference, but Penn State was left out in the cold as Syracuse and other basketball-centric schools joined the Big East. And, while it certainly didn’t turn out this way, Paterno at the time had said he planned to retire at 65, which was just a few years off. His expected departure was another reason the university longed for the stability of a conference affiliation.

Penn State’s president, Bryce Jordan, was the one who had contacted Ikenberry. As chairman of the Council of 10, the Big Ten’s governing body, Ikenberry held considerable influence—and he was also a former Penn State senior vice president. “What would you think about Penn State joining the Big Ten?” Jordan asked him. Ikenberry agreed to meet with Paterno et al., before raising the topic with the other nine university presidents.

Several months after the dinner, word reached the media that an invitation had been extended to Penn State to join the Big Ten. In June 1990, the Council of 10 convened in Iowa City for the official vote while Penn State administrators waited apprehensively in Old Main. After two days of deliberations, the conference presidents voted the Nittany Lions in 7–3, the minimum margin needed to pass. (Indiana was the only school to state publicly it had voted against the move.) The 1993 season was Penn State football’s first as a member of the Big Ten. Today it is hard to imagine the Big Ten without Penn State, and vice versa.

Vault: Classic Penn State photos | STAPLES: How Joe Moorhead messed with Michigan

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that it was the right decision then, the right decision now,” says Jim Delany, who has been Big Ten commissioner since 1989, “and that while there has been a lot of conference expansion since, I’m not sure there has ever been a better fit or match.”

Pennsylvania was a contiguous state to Big Ten territory, and Penn State was a land-grant institution like many of the conference’s members, but its most appealing attributes were ones that would help the Big Ten grow: Its football team brought the conference a third national brand, along with Ohio State and Michigan, and Penn State was also a bridge to the East, opening up a larger media audience, a broader recruiting base and the potential for expansion.

The reception at first, however, could be generously described as lukewarm. Traditionalists didn’t like the fact that the Big Ten now had 11 teams; others grumbled that tiny State College was inaccessible. Among the discontented was Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight, who said, “I’ve been to Penn State, and Penn State is a camping trip. There is nothing for 100 miles.” Northwestern, meanwhile, feared that it was about to be pushed out. Penn State, which had won two national titles in the previous decade, also figured to make the football competition stiffer—not necessarily good news for all.

Penn State won its first Big Ten title in its second season in the conference, but memories of that undefeated 1994 team inspire ire as well as awe. The Lions headed to the Rose Bowl knowing that a victory over a three-loss Oregon team might not earn the poll votes needed to be named national champions—and that is exactly what happened. Had we still been an independent, fans griped, the Lions could have had the chance to play fellow undefeated—and eventual national champion—Nebraska, in the Orange Bowl, and win the title on the field.

Over the years the changes in major college football have confirmed the original analysis: joining a conference was a business necessity, as well as a competitive one. (Penn State’s other sports have benefitted, too: The Big Ten era hastened the construction of a new basketball arena, named after Bryce Jordan; and the Olympic sports have combined for 30 NCAA championships, more than any other Big Ten school.)

The move meant that regional rivalries like Pitt–Penn State went on hiatus for 15 years, but the Big Ten schedule quickly became the tablet on which Lions history was written. The LaVar Leap happened against Illinois; Larry Johnson broke the 2,000-yard rushing mark against Michigan State; and no matter their records, the Hawkeyes always seem to give the Lions trouble. After losing seasons in the early 2000s, Penn State declared its comeback on an October night in 2005 when defensive end Tamba Hali upended Buckeyes quarterback Troy Smith to seal a victory against Ohio State. Were it not for a mysterious two seconds added back to the clock at Michigan Stadium the following week, the Lions would have been unbeaten. In 2016, when Penn State won its fourth Big Ten football championship, the season turned with an underdog win against the No. 2 Buckeyes, delivered on a blocked field goal returned for a game-winning touchdown.

The 2016 season was a comeback for Lions football, but Penn State had to return from a place no school ever had before. The program and community had been stunned by the November 2011 indictment of Jerry Sandusky, who had retired as defensive coordinator in 1999 after 32 years in State College. Sandusky was charged with sexually abusing boys he had met through his charity for at-risk youth. The arrest was the first in a series of shocks. Paterno was fired after Sandusky’s arrest, and the Big Ten decided to remove his name from the conference championship trophy; Paterno died from lung cancer two months later. Sandusky was found guilty of 45 counts of child sex abuse and will spend the rest of his life in prison. In 2017 three university officials, including former president Graham Spanier, were sentenced to jail time for failing to alert authorities to allegations against Sandusky.

The NCAA issued a four-year postseason ban to Penn State, reduced scholarships and vacated wins from 14 seasons. Bill O’Brien in 2012 and then James Franklin in ’14 were brought in to lead the football program as the first new head football coaches in Happy Valley since 1966. In ’14 penalties were rolled back, gradually returning scholarships and lifting the postseason ban, and Paterno was later restored in the record books as the winningest coach in major college football history. In ’16 the team again earned an invitation to the Rose Bowl.

At the Big Ten media days in the summer of 2017, Delany called the Sandusky case and its aftermath the “most difficult set of circumstances” he’d been confronted with, but he also commended Penn State’s road back. “They’ve got great leadership, great players,” he said, “and we’re really happy that they’ve gotten to the other side, if you will, after five years.”

Today, in the age of super-conferences, the Big Ten’s further expansion seems inevitable. But for two decades, Penn State had stood alone as the 11th and final member of the Big Ten. There had been a temporary moratorium on further expansion after Penn State was added, but in 2011, Nebraska joined. In ’14 came two more Eastern neighbors, Rutgers and Maryland. The clever Big Ten logo the conference commissioned when Penn State joined—the one with the “11” tucked in—was replaced with “B1G.”

Each subsequent expansion of the Big Ten may have been easier—but in the landscape of college football, not more significant than adding Penn State 25 years ago.

Jenny Vrentas, a writer for The MMQB, grew up in State College and graduated from Penn State in 2006.

<p>A Pennsylvania judge rejected former Penn State football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky&#39;s request for a new trial and dismissal of sexual abuse charges.</p><p>Sandusky is serving 30 to 60 years in prison for his 2012 conviction on charges he molested several boys he met through The Second Mile, a charity he founded.</p><p>Sandusky, 73, has said that he did not receive a proper defense during his trial.</p><p>The case led to the firing of head coach Joe Paterno and several high ranking administrators also lost their jobs.</p><p>The school&#39;s former president, Graham Spanier, and two other former administrators, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, were sentenced for child endangerment for their handling of a report that Sandusky acted inappropriately with a young boy.</p><p>Spanier was found guilty during his trial and is free on bail while he is appealing his case.</p><p>The fallout from the scandal cost the school tens of millions of dollars in fines and lawsuits. The football program was banned from postseason play, fined $60 million and stripped of scholarships.</p><p>Sandusky will have 30 days to appeal his to the state Superior Court.</p>
Jerry Sandusky Denied New Trial on Child Sex Abuse Charges

A Pennsylvania judge rejected former Penn State football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's request for a new trial and dismissal of sexual abuse charges.

Sandusky is serving 30 to 60 years in prison for his 2012 conviction on charges he molested several boys he met through The Second Mile, a charity he founded.

Sandusky, 73, has said that he did not receive a proper defense during his trial.

The case led to the firing of head coach Joe Paterno and several high ranking administrators also lost their jobs.

The school's former president, Graham Spanier, and two other former administrators, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, were sentenced for child endangerment for their handling of a report that Sandusky acted inappropriately with a young boy.

Spanier was found guilty during his trial and is free on bail while he is appealing his case.

The fallout from the scandal cost the school tens of millions of dollars in fines and lawsuits. The football program was banned from postseason play, fined $60 million and stripped of scholarships.

Sandusky will have 30 days to appeal his to the state Superior Court.

A police report suggests that the late former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky may have been molesting children years before Sandusky&#39;s arrest.
Report: Joe Paterno May Have Known About Earlier Sandusky Abuse Claim
A police report suggests that the late former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky may have been molesting children years before Sandusky's arrest.
A police report suggests that the late former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky may have been molesting children years before Sandusky&#39;s arrest.
Report: Joe Paterno May Have Known About Earlier Sandusky Abuse Claim
A police report suggests that the late former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky may have been molesting children years before Sandusky's arrest.
A police report suggests that the late former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky may have been molesting children years before Sandusky's arrest.
Report: Joe Paterno May Have Known About Earlier Sandusky Abuse Claim
A police report suggests that the late former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky may have been molesting children years before Sandusky's arrest.
A police report suggests that the late former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky may have been molesting children years before Sandusky&#39;s arrest.
Report: Joe Paterno May Have Known About Earlier Sandusky Abuse Claim
A police report suggests that the late former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky may have been molesting children years before Sandusky's arrest.
Joe Paterno knew of Jerry Sandusky accusations before 2001, assistant told police
Joe Paterno knew of Jerry Sandusky accusations before 2001, assistant told police
Joe Paterno knew of Jerry Sandusky accusations before 2001, assistant told police
Joe Paterno knew of Jerry Sandusky accusations before 2001, assistant told police
Joe Paterno knew of Jerry Sandusky accusations before 2001, assistant told police
Joe Paterno knew of Jerry Sandusky accusations before 2001, assistant told police
<p>A police report <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/09/us/penn-state-paterno-sandusky-police-report/index.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:obtained by CNN" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">obtained by CNN</a> suggests that the late former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky may have been molesting children years before Sandusky&#39;s arrest. </p><p>The report says that when whistleblower and former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary told Paterno in 2001 that he&#39;d witnessed Sandusky performing a lewd sexual act with a young boy, Paterno allegedly told McQueary that his was the second such claim against Sandusky. </p><p>&quot;Paterno, upon hearing the news, sat back in his chair with a dejected look on his face,&quot; the report states.</p><p>&quot;Then he made the comment to McQueary this was the second complaint of this nature he had received about Sandusky.&quot; </p><p>That contradicts Paterno&#39;s and his family&#39;s vehement denial—and Paterno&#39;s sworn testimony—that the coach knew of Sandusky&#39;s abuses before McQueary alerted him. </p><p>Paterno coached Penn State for 45 years before his contract was terminated in November 2011. He died on Jan. 22, 2012 from complications from lung cancer. </p><p>The Penn State child sex abuse case, which came to light in 2011, rocked the State College, Pa. campus and the rest of the world. Due to their failure to properly follow up on McQueary&#39;s accusations, university president Graham Spanier and athletic director Timothy Curley were fired.</p><p>Sandusky was convicted of using his charity, The Second Mile, to gain access to young boys whom he molested and raped. He was convicted of 45 chargers of sexual abuse in June 2012 and is currently serving a minimum of 30 years in prison. He has maintained his innocence throughout the entire process and has appealed his conviction. </p>
Report: Joe Paterno May Have Known of Earlier Sandusky Abuse Claim

A police report obtained by CNN suggests that the late former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew that Jerry Sandusky may have been molesting children years before Sandusky's arrest.

The report says that when whistleblower and former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary told Paterno in 2001 that he'd witnessed Sandusky performing a lewd sexual act with a young boy, Paterno allegedly told McQueary that his was the second such claim against Sandusky.

"Paterno, upon hearing the news, sat back in his chair with a dejected look on his face," the report states.

"Then he made the comment to McQueary this was the second complaint of this nature he had received about Sandusky."

That contradicts Paterno's and his family's vehement denial—and Paterno's sworn testimony—that the coach knew of Sandusky's abuses before McQueary alerted him.

Paterno coached Penn State for 45 years before his contract was terminated in November 2011. He died on Jan. 22, 2012 from complications from lung cancer.

The Penn State child sex abuse case, which came to light in 2011, rocked the State College, Pa. campus and the rest of the world. Due to their failure to properly follow up on McQueary's accusations, university president Graham Spanier and athletic director Timothy Curley were fired.

Sandusky was convicted of using his charity, The Second Mile, to gain access to young boys whom he molested and raped. He was convicted of 45 chargers of sexual abuse in June 2012 and is currently serving a minimum of 30 years in prison. He has maintained his innocence throughout the entire process and has appealed his conviction.

<p><em>Welcome to Hype Week, our look at the teams fans and analysts seem to be especially excited about heading into the season. Some of these squads may turn out to be really good! Others, though, could drastically underperform expectations. Our goal is to examine why each of these teams is getting so much hype, and whether they can live up to it. First up is Penn State, <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/08/09/sports-illustrated-preseason-top-25-rankings-poll" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:which is ranked No. 8 in our preseason top 25" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">which is ranked No. 8 in our preseason top 25</a>.</em></p><p>The origin of the monsoon of hype surrounding Penn State entering this season is not difficult to identify. Less than a month after Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour issued a public vote of confidence for head coach James Franklin amid a dismaying 2–2 start that included a 39-point smackdown at the hands of Michigan, the Nittany Lions stunned undefeated Ohio State, 24–21, before a Whiteout crowd at Beaver Stadium in primetime. The upset marked the first time Franklin had beaten a member of the Big Ten East power trio (the Buckeyes, Michigan and Michigan State), and the dramatic nature of its conclusion—Penn State won thanks to a 60-yard touchdown return on a blocked field goal late in the fourth quarter—added to the feeling that something momentous was taking place.</p><p>The Nittany Lions followed that up by running off six consecutive victories, a streak which was facilitated by a pair of games against Big Ten dregs Rutgers and Purdue, but which also included a stirring comeback to edge then No. 6 Wisconsin, 38–31, in the conference title game. Penn State was flying high, but its glorious ride was about to hit two speed bumps. First, the College Football Playoff selection committee chose a team Penn State beat head-to-head, Ohio State, for the national semifinals and excluded the Nittany Lions. Then Penn State traveled to Pasadena for its first Rose Bowl since 2008 and gave 9–3 USC everything it could handle, but came up just short after Trojans kicker Matt Boermeester drilled a 46-yard field goal as time expired to complete a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback and win 52–49.</p><p>The playoff snub and the Rose Bowl loss were frustrating in real time, but they did nothing to change the outlook for this season. The latter development actually lent credence to Penn State’s status as a contender for the former in 2017. By going blow-for-blow with a scorching-hot Trojans squad <a href="http://www.si.com/college-football/2017/08/07/sam-darnold-usc-trojans-heisman-nfl-draft" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:led by a future top-10 NFL draft pick at quarterback" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">led by a future top-10 NFL draft pick at quarterback</a>, the Nittany Lions squashed any skepticism that may have existed about their ability to grapple with the cream of the Power 5 crop. For anyone reading this who still harbors such skepticism, here’s some bad news: Penn State is very much worth the hype. Not only do the Nittany Lions have a legitimate shot to notch consecutive double-digit win seasons for the first time since the latter part of Joe Paterno’s tenure, but they’re more than capable of taking the Big Ten crown again and claiming a spot in the CFP.</p><p>The most obvious rebuttal: <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/07/27/big-ten-east-division-imbalance-media-days" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Penn State plays in arguably the toughest division in college football!" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Penn State plays in arguably the toughest division in college football!</a> That’s true, but it also misses the point if the Nittany Lions are the best team in that division. <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/08/09/sports-illustrated-preseason-top-25-rankings-poll" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Using our Top 25 as a guide" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Using our Top 25 as a guide</a>, their chief competitors in the East project to be Ohio State (No. 3) and Michigan (No. 11).</p><p>Let’s start with the Wolverines. They bring back just six starters from last season, including only one on defense, as well as only 34% of their production, third-lowest in the FBS, according to SB Nation’s Bill Connelly. <a href="http://www.si.com/college-football/2017/02/01/national-signing-day-2017-winners-losers" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Michigan has recruited really well" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Michigan has recruited really well</a> during Jim Harbaugh’s time in Ann Arbor, but he hasn’t earned the Nick Saban personnel-turnover benefit of the doubt yet. This program isn’t quite ready to sustain so much attrition without taking a step back. As for the Buckeyes, a host of NFL-related departures this offseason will sting, particularly in the secondary, but new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson should quickly bury the memory of last season’s Fiesta Bowl debacle, a terrifying defensive line will head a reloaded defense and Urban Meyer’s track record is unimpeachable: He has lost two regular-season Big Ten games during his five-year tenure.</p><p>Of those two teams, the Buckeyes are clearly a bigger threat to steal the East from Penn State, and they’ll get a shot to avenge their loss in State College last year when they host the Nittany Lions in late October. Yet Penn State could make the CFP even if it loses that game. The Nittany Lions host Michigan, and their league slate is otherwise navigable, save for a pair of tricky-but-winnable road games against Northwestern and Iowa. Penn State need look no further than last year to see an example of the committee bucking its stated emphasis on league titles and head-to-head competition in the selection process. This time around, an Ohio State team with a regular-season win over the Nittany Lions could be left on the other side of the velvet rope, settling for a consolation bowl while Penn State heads to the Final Four.</p><p>Whether the Nittany Lions can actually pull that off will depend in large part on their ability to surmount significant talent disparities to Ohio State and Michigan. The Nittany Lions seem <a href="http://www.si.com/college-football/2017/07/26/penn-state-recruiting-class-2018-commits-rankings" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:well on their way to closing the gap" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">well on their way to closing the gap</a> with their 2018 recruiting class, but those prospects won’t be eligible until next season. This fall, the picture is pretty bleak for Penn State, at least as the major scouting services see it. Both the Buckeyes and Wolverines will have the Nittany Lions beat: According to Connelly, Penn State’s two-year recruiting average ranks 18th in the country and their five-year average ranks 21st. Ohio State’s two-year and five-year averages both come in second, behind only Alabama on both counts, and Michigan’s checks in at fourth and 19th with its two-year and four-year averages, respectively.</p><p>What those rankings don’t account for is the way Penn State’s players have developed since arriving on campus. Nor do they have anything to say about the arrival of a former FCS head coach with a devastatingly effective uptempo scheme and a plan to unlock the full potential of a <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/07/19/saquon-barkley-penn-state-heisman-trophy-campaign" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:world-beating bellcow back" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">world-beating bellcow back</a>. In his first season as Penn State’s offensive coordinator, Joe Moorhead turned Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley into the nation’s most lethal backfield tandem, lifting the Nittany Lions from 62nd to 18th on offense, according to Football Outsiders S&#38;P + ratings. Those two will be back in 2017, and so will Moorhead after he was mentioned in connection with multiple head coaching vacancies this offseason. It’s safe to assume Moorhead has come up with new ways to use McSorley and Barkley to torment opposing defensive coordinators.</p><p>Barkley and McSorley won’t be going at it alone. Even though Penn State loses top wide receiver Chris Godwin, every other player who recorded at least five catches last season is back, including stud tight end Mike Gesicki. A healthier offensive line would do wonders for Penn State’s offense more generally, and for Barkley in particular, and with former five-star recruit Miles Sanders available to take on part of the rushing workload, the Nittany Lions shouldn’t have to worry about Barkley wearing down over the course of the season. Penn State will have an easier time putting up points against opponents than preventing them, but a linebacking corps anchored by upperclassmen should be solid, and the secondary caught a break when playmaking safety Marcus Allen decided to return for his senior season.</p><p>Betting on a team coming off a major uptick in the win column to repeat it the following season almost always feels like a bad idea. And Penn State’s top-to-bottom talent deficit relative to East challengers Michigan and Ohio State can’t be glossed over. But those concerns shouldn’t outweigh everything the Nittany Lions have going for them. This is a team you can buy into without having second thoughts about falling for inflated expectations. Penn State deserves the preseason love it’s getting.</p>
Penn State Has the Horses to Back Up the Hype Entering Its Big Ten Title Defense

Welcome to Hype Week, our look at the teams fans and analysts seem to be especially excited about heading into the season. Some of these squads may turn out to be really good! Others, though, could drastically underperform expectations. Our goal is to examine why each of these teams is getting so much hype, and whether they can live up to it. First up is Penn State, which is ranked No. 8 in our preseason top 25.

The origin of the monsoon of hype surrounding Penn State entering this season is not difficult to identify. Less than a month after Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour issued a public vote of confidence for head coach James Franklin amid a dismaying 2–2 start that included a 39-point smackdown at the hands of Michigan, the Nittany Lions stunned undefeated Ohio State, 24–21, before a Whiteout crowd at Beaver Stadium in primetime. The upset marked the first time Franklin had beaten a member of the Big Ten East power trio (the Buckeyes, Michigan and Michigan State), and the dramatic nature of its conclusion—Penn State won thanks to a 60-yard touchdown return on a blocked field goal late in the fourth quarter—added to the feeling that something momentous was taking place.

The Nittany Lions followed that up by running off six consecutive victories, a streak which was facilitated by a pair of games against Big Ten dregs Rutgers and Purdue, but which also included a stirring comeback to edge then No. 6 Wisconsin, 38–31, in the conference title game. Penn State was flying high, but its glorious ride was about to hit two speed bumps. First, the College Football Playoff selection committee chose a team Penn State beat head-to-head, Ohio State, for the national semifinals and excluded the Nittany Lions. Then Penn State traveled to Pasadena for its first Rose Bowl since 2008 and gave 9–3 USC everything it could handle, but came up just short after Trojans kicker Matt Boermeester drilled a 46-yard field goal as time expired to complete a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback and win 52–49.

The playoff snub and the Rose Bowl loss were frustrating in real time, but they did nothing to change the outlook for this season. The latter development actually lent credence to Penn State’s status as a contender for the former in 2017. By going blow-for-blow with a scorching-hot Trojans squad led by a future top-10 NFL draft pick at quarterback, the Nittany Lions squashed any skepticism that may have existed about their ability to grapple with the cream of the Power 5 crop. For anyone reading this who still harbors such skepticism, here’s some bad news: Penn State is very much worth the hype. Not only do the Nittany Lions have a legitimate shot to notch consecutive double-digit win seasons for the first time since the latter part of Joe Paterno’s tenure, but they’re more than capable of taking the Big Ten crown again and claiming a spot in the CFP.

The most obvious rebuttal: Penn State plays in arguably the toughest division in college football! That’s true, but it also misses the point if the Nittany Lions are the best team in that division. Using our Top 25 as a guide, their chief competitors in the East project to be Ohio State (No. 3) and Michigan (No. 11).

Let’s start with the Wolverines. They bring back just six starters from last season, including only one on defense, as well as only 34% of their production, third-lowest in the FBS, according to SB Nation’s Bill Connelly. Michigan has recruited really well during Jim Harbaugh’s time in Ann Arbor, but he hasn’t earned the Nick Saban personnel-turnover benefit of the doubt yet. This program isn’t quite ready to sustain so much attrition without taking a step back. As for the Buckeyes, a host of NFL-related departures this offseason will sting, particularly in the secondary, but new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson should quickly bury the memory of last season’s Fiesta Bowl debacle, a terrifying defensive line will head a reloaded defense and Urban Meyer’s track record is unimpeachable: He has lost two regular-season Big Ten games during his five-year tenure.

Of those two teams, the Buckeyes are clearly a bigger threat to steal the East from Penn State, and they’ll get a shot to avenge their loss in State College last year when they host the Nittany Lions in late October. Yet Penn State could make the CFP even if it loses that game. The Nittany Lions host Michigan, and their league slate is otherwise navigable, save for a pair of tricky-but-winnable road games against Northwestern and Iowa. Penn State need look no further than last year to see an example of the committee bucking its stated emphasis on league titles and head-to-head competition in the selection process. This time around, an Ohio State team with a regular-season win over the Nittany Lions could be left on the other side of the velvet rope, settling for a consolation bowl while Penn State heads to the Final Four.

Whether the Nittany Lions can actually pull that off will depend in large part on their ability to surmount significant talent disparities to Ohio State and Michigan. The Nittany Lions seem well on their way to closing the gap with their 2018 recruiting class, but those prospects won’t be eligible until next season. This fall, the picture is pretty bleak for Penn State, at least as the major scouting services see it. Both the Buckeyes and Wolverines will have the Nittany Lions beat: According to Connelly, Penn State’s two-year recruiting average ranks 18th in the country and their five-year average ranks 21st. Ohio State’s two-year and five-year averages both come in second, behind only Alabama on both counts, and Michigan’s checks in at fourth and 19th with its two-year and four-year averages, respectively.

What those rankings don’t account for is the way Penn State’s players have developed since arriving on campus. Nor do they have anything to say about the arrival of a former FCS head coach with a devastatingly effective uptempo scheme and a plan to unlock the full potential of a world-beating bellcow back. In his first season as Penn State’s offensive coordinator, Joe Moorhead turned Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley into the nation’s most lethal backfield tandem, lifting the Nittany Lions from 62nd to 18th on offense, according to Football Outsiders S&P + ratings. Those two will be back in 2017, and so will Moorhead after he was mentioned in connection with multiple head coaching vacancies this offseason. It’s safe to assume Moorhead has come up with new ways to use McSorley and Barkley to torment opposing defensive coordinators.

Barkley and McSorley won’t be going at it alone. Even though Penn State loses top wide receiver Chris Godwin, every other player who recorded at least five catches last season is back, including stud tight end Mike Gesicki. A healthier offensive line would do wonders for Penn State’s offense more generally, and for Barkley in particular, and with former five-star recruit Miles Sanders available to take on part of the rushing workload, the Nittany Lions shouldn’t have to worry about Barkley wearing down over the course of the season. Penn State will have an easier time putting up points against opponents than preventing them, but a linebacking corps anchored by upperclassmen should be solid, and the secondary caught a break when playmaking safety Marcus Allen decided to return for his senior season.

Betting on a team coming off a major uptick in the win column to repeat it the following season almost always feels like a bad idea. And Penn State’s top-to-bottom talent deficit relative to East challengers Michigan and Ohio State can’t be glossed over. But those concerns shouldn’t outweigh everything the Nittany Lions have going for them. This is a team you can buy into without having second thoughts about falling for inflated expectations. Penn State deserves the preseason love it’s getting.

<p><em>Welcome to Hype Week, our look at the teams fans and analysts seem to be especially excited about heading into the season. Some of these squads may turn out to be really good! Others, though, could drastically underperform expectations. Our goal is to examine why each of these teams is getting so much hype, and whether they can live up to it. First up is Penn State, <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/08/09/sports-illustrated-preseason-top-25-rankings-poll" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:which is ranked No. 8 in our preseason top 25" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">which is ranked No. 8 in our preseason top 25</a>.</em></p><p>The origin of the monsoon of hype surrounding Penn State entering this season is not difficult to identify. Less than a month after Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour issued a public vote of confidence for head coach James Franklin amid a dismaying 2–2 start that included a 39-point smackdown at the hands of Michigan, the Nittany Lions stunned undefeated Ohio State, 24–21, before a Whiteout crowd at Beaver Stadium in primetime. The upset marked the first time Franklin had beaten a member of the Big Ten East power trio (the Buckeyes, Michigan and Michigan State), and the dramatic nature of its conclusion—Penn State won thanks to a 60-yard touchdown return on a blocked field goal late in the fourth quarter—added to the feeling that something momentous was taking place.</p><p>The Nittany Lions followed that up by running off six consecutive victories, a streak which was facilitated by a pair of games against Big Ten dregs Rutgers and Purdue, but which also included a stirring comeback to edge then No. 6 Wisconsin, 38–31, in the conference title game. Penn State was flying high, but its glorious ride was about to hit two speed bumps. First, the College Football Playoff selection committee chose a team Penn State beat head-to-head, Ohio State, for the national semifinals and excluded the Nittany Lions. Then Penn State traveled to Pasadena for its first Rose Bowl since 2008 and gave 9–3 USC everything it could handle, but came up just short after Trojans kicker Matt Boermeester drilled a 46-yard field goal as time expired to complete a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback and win 52–49.</p><p>The playoff snub and the Rose Bowl loss were frustrating in real time, but they did nothing to change the outlook for this season. The latter development actually lent credence to Penn State’s status as a contender for the former in 2017. By going blow-for-blow with a scorching-hot Trojans squad <a href="http://www.si.com/college-football/2017/08/07/sam-darnold-usc-trojans-heisman-nfl-draft" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:led by a future top-10 NFL draft pick at quarterback" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">led by a future top-10 NFL draft pick at quarterback</a>, the Nittany Lions squashed any skepticism that may have existed about their ability to grapple with the cream of the Power 5 crop. For anyone reading this who still harbors such skepticism, here’s some bad news: Penn State is very much worth the hype. Not only do the Nittany Lions have a legitimate shot to notch consecutive double-digit win seasons for the first time since the latter part of Joe Paterno’s tenure, but they’re more than capable of taking the Big Ten crown again and claiming a spot in the CFP.</p><p>The most obvious rebuttal: <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/07/27/big-ten-east-division-imbalance-media-days" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Penn State plays in arguably the toughest division in college football!" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Penn State plays in arguably the toughest division in college football!</a> That’s true, but it also misses the point if the Nittany Lions are the best team in that division. <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/08/09/sports-illustrated-preseason-top-25-rankings-poll" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Using our Top 25 as a guide" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Using our Top 25 as a guide</a>, their chief competitors in the East project to be Ohio State (No. 3) and Michigan (No. 11).</p><p>Let’s start with the Wolverines. They bring back just six starters from last season, including only one on defense, as well as only 34% of their production, third-lowest in the FBS, according to SB Nation’s Bill Connelly. <a href="http://www.si.com/college-football/2017/02/01/national-signing-day-2017-winners-losers" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Michigan has recruited really well" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Michigan has recruited really well</a> during Jim Harbaugh’s time in Ann Arbor, but he hasn’t earned the Nick Saban personnel-turnover benefit of the doubt yet. This program isn’t quite ready to sustain so much attrition without taking a step back. As for the Buckeyes, a host of NFL-related departures this offseason will sting, particularly in the secondary, but new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson should quickly bury the memory of last season’s Fiesta Bowl debacle, a terrifying defensive line will head a reloaded defense and Urban Meyer’s track record is unimpeachable: He has lost two regular-season Big Ten games during his five-year tenure.</p><p>Of those two teams, the Buckeyes are clearly a bigger threat to steal the East from Penn State, and they’ll get a shot to avenge their loss in State College last year when they host the Nittany Lions in late October. Yet Penn State could make the CFP even if it loses that game. The Nittany Lions host Michigan, and their league slate is otherwise navigable, save for a pair of tricky-but-winnable road games against Northwestern and Iowa. Penn State need look no further than last year to see an example of the committee bucking its stated emphasis on league titles and head-to-head competition in the selection process. This time around, an Ohio State team with a regular-season win over the Nittany Lions could be left on the other side of the velvet rope, settling for a consolation bowl while Penn State heads to the Final Four.</p><p>Whether the Nittany Lions can actually pull that off will depend in large part on their ability to surmount significant talent disparities to Ohio State and Michigan. The Nittany Lions seem <a href="http://www.si.com/college-football/2017/07/26/penn-state-recruiting-class-2018-commits-rankings" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:well on their way to closing the gap" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">well on their way to closing the gap</a> with their 2018 recruiting class, but those prospects won’t be eligible until next season. This fall, the picture is pretty bleak for Penn State, at least as the major scouting services see it. Both the Buckeyes and Wolverines will have the Nittany Lions beat: According to Connelly, Penn State’s two-year recruiting average ranks 18th in the country and their five-year average ranks 21st. Ohio State’s two-year and five-year averages both come in second, behind only Alabama on both counts, and Michigan’s checks in at fourth and 19th with its two-year and four-year averages, respectively.</p><p>What those rankings don’t account for is the way Penn State’s players have developed since arriving on campus. Nor do they have anything to say about the arrival of a former FCS head coach with a devastatingly effective uptempo scheme and a plan to unlock the full potential of a <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/07/19/saquon-barkley-penn-state-heisman-trophy-campaign" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:world-beating bellcow back" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">world-beating bellcow back</a>. In his first season as Penn State’s offensive coordinator, Joe Moorhead turned Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley into the nation’s most lethal backfield tandem, lifting the Nittany Lions from 62nd to 18th on offense, according to Football Outsiders S&#38;P + ratings. Those two will be back in 2017, and so will Moorhead after he was mentioned in connection with multiple head coaching vacancies this offseason. It’s safe to assume Moorhead has come up with new ways to use McSorley and Barkley to torment opposing defensive coordinators.</p><p>Barkley and McSorley won’t be going at it alone. Even though Penn State loses top wide receiver Chris Godwin, every other player who recorded at least five catches last season is back, including stud tight end Mike Gesicki. A healthier offensive line would do wonders for Penn State’s offense more generally, and for Barkley in particular, and with former five-star recruit Miles Sanders available to take on part of the rushing workload, the Nittany Lions shouldn’t have to worry about Barkley wearing down over the course of the season. Penn State will have an easier time putting up points against opponents than preventing them, but a linebacking corps anchored by upperclassmen should be solid, and the secondary caught a break when playmaking safety Marcus Allen decided to return for his senior season.</p><p>Betting on a team coming off a major uptick in the win column to repeat it the following season almost always feels like a bad idea. And Penn State’s top-to-bottom talent deficit relative to East challengers Michigan and Ohio State can’t be glossed over. But those concerns shouldn’t outweigh everything the Nittany Lions have going for them. This is a team you can buy into without having second thoughts about falling for inflated expectations. Penn State deserves the preseason love it’s getting.</p>
Penn State Has the Horses to Back Up the Hype Entering Its Big Ten Title Defense

Welcome to Hype Week, our look at the teams fans and analysts seem to be especially excited about heading into the season. Some of these squads may turn out to be really good! Others, though, could drastically underperform expectations. Our goal is to examine why each of these teams is getting so much hype, and whether they can live up to it. First up is Penn State, which is ranked No. 8 in our preseason top 25.

The origin of the monsoon of hype surrounding Penn State entering this season is not difficult to identify. Less than a month after Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour issued a public vote of confidence for head coach James Franklin amid a dismaying 2–2 start that included a 39-point smackdown at the hands of Michigan, the Nittany Lions stunned undefeated Ohio State, 24–21, before a Whiteout crowd at Beaver Stadium in primetime. The upset marked the first time Franklin had beaten a member of the Big Ten East power trio (the Buckeyes, Michigan and Michigan State), and the dramatic nature of its conclusion—Penn State won thanks to a 60-yard touchdown return on a blocked field goal late in the fourth quarter—added to the feeling that something momentous was taking place.

The Nittany Lions followed that up by running off six consecutive victories, a streak which was facilitated by a pair of games against Big Ten dregs Rutgers and Purdue, but which also included a stirring comeback to edge then No. 6 Wisconsin, 38–31, in the conference title game. Penn State was flying high, but its glorious ride was about to hit two speed bumps. First, the College Football Playoff selection committee chose a team Penn State beat head-to-head, Ohio State, for the national semifinals and excluded the Nittany Lions. Then Penn State traveled to Pasadena for its first Rose Bowl since 2008 and gave 9–3 USC everything it could handle, but came up just short after Trojans kicker Matt Boermeester drilled a 46-yard field goal as time expired to complete a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback and win 52–49.

The playoff snub and the Rose Bowl loss were frustrating in real time, but they did nothing to change the outlook for this season. The latter development actually lent credence to Penn State’s status as a contender for the former in 2017. By going blow-for-blow with a scorching-hot Trojans squad led by a future top-10 NFL draft pick at quarterback, the Nittany Lions squashed any skepticism that may have existed about their ability to grapple with the cream of the Power 5 crop. For anyone reading this who still harbors such skepticism, here’s some bad news: Penn State is very much worth the hype. Not only do the Nittany Lions have a legitimate shot to notch consecutive double-digit win seasons for the first time since the latter part of Joe Paterno’s tenure, but they’re more than capable of taking the Big Ten crown again and claiming a spot in the CFP.

The most obvious rebuttal: Penn State plays in arguably the toughest division in college football! That’s true, but it also misses the point if the Nittany Lions are the best team in that division. Using our Top 25 as a guide, their chief competitors in the East project to be Ohio State (No. 3) and Michigan (No. 11).

Let’s start with the Wolverines. They bring back just six starters from last season, including only one on defense, as well as only 34% of their production, third-lowest in the FBS, according to SB Nation’s Bill Connelly. Michigan has recruited really well during Jim Harbaugh’s time in Ann Arbor, but he hasn’t earned the Nick Saban personnel-turnover benefit of the doubt yet. This program isn’t quite ready to sustain so much attrition without taking a step back. As for the Buckeyes, a host of NFL-related departures this offseason will sting, particularly in the secondary, but new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson should quickly bury the memory of last season’s Fiesta Bowl debacle, a terrifying defensive line will head a reloaded defense and Urban Meyer’s track record is unimpeachable: He has lost two regular-season Big Ten games during his five-year tenure.

Of those two teams, the Buckeyes are clearly a bigger threat to steal the East from Penn State, and they’ll get a shot to avenge their loss in State College last year when they host the Nittany Lions in late October. Yet Penn State could make the CFP even if it loses that game. The Nittany Lions host Michigan, and their league slate is otherwise navigable, save for a pair of tricky-but-winnable road games against Northwestern and Iowa. Penn State need look no further than last year to see an example of the committee bucking its stated emphasis on league titles and head-to-head competition in the selection process. This time around, an Ohio State team with a regular-season win over the Nittany Lions could be left on the other side of the velvet rope, settling for a consolation bowl while Penn State heads to the Final Four.

Whether the Nittany Lions can actually pull that off will depend in large part on their ability to surmount significant talent disparities to Ohio State and Michigan. The Nittany Lions seem well on their way to closing the gap with their 2018 recruiting class, but those prospects won’t be eligible until next season. This fall, the picture is pretty bleak for Penn State, at least as the major scouting services see it. Both the Buckeyes and Wolverines will have the Nittany Lions beat: According to Connelly, Penn State’s two-year recruiting average ranks 18th in the country and their five-year average ranks 21st. Ohio State’s two-year and five-year averages both come in second, behind only Alabama on both counts, and Michigan’s checks in at fourth and 19th with its two-year and four-year averages, respectively.

What those rankings don’t account for is the way Penn State’s players have developed since arriving on campus. Nor do they have anything to say about the arrival of a former FCS head coach with a devastatingly effective uptempo scheme and a plan to unlock the full potential of a world-beating bellcow back. In his first season as Penn State’s offensive coordinator, Joe Moorhead turned Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley into the nation’s most lethal backfield tandem, lifting the Nittany Lions from 62nd to 18th on offense, according to Football Outsiders S&P + ratings. Those two will be back in 2017, and so will Moorhead after he was mentioned in connection with multiple head coaching vacancies this offseason. It’s safe to assume Moorhead has come up with new ways to use McSorley and Barkley to torment opposing defensive coordinators.

Barkley and McSorley won’t be going at it alone. Even though Penn State loses top wide receiver Chris Godwin, every other player who recorded at least five catches last season is back, including stud tight end Mike Gesicki. A healthier offensive line would do wonders for Penn State’s offense more generally, and for Barkley in particular, and with former five-star recruit Miles Sanders available to take on part of the rushing workload, the Nittany Lions shouldn’t have to worry about Barkley wearing down over the course of the season. Penn State will have an easier time putting up points against opponents than preventing them, but a linebacking corps anchored by upperclassmen should be solid, and the secondary caught a break when playmaking safety Marcus Allen decided to return for his senior season.

Betting on a team coming off a major uptick in the win column to repeat it the following season almost always feels like a bad idea. And Penn State’s top-to-bottom talent deficit relative to East challengers Michigan and Ohio State can’t be glossed over. But those concerns shouldn’t outweigh everything the Nittany Lions have going for them. This is a team you can buy into without having second thoughts about falling for inflated expectations. Penn State deserves the preseason love it’s getting.

Through the underappreciated magic of makeup and costume design, Al Pacino has been transformed into Joe Paterno incarnate, ready to grab a clipboard and patrol the sidelines once more.
Al Pacino looks just like Joe Paterno in first look at HBO Films biopic
Through the underappreciated magic of makeup and costume design, Al Pacino has been transformed into Joe Paterno incarnate, ready to grab a clipboard and patrol the sidelines once more.
Through the underappreciated magic of makeup and costume design, Al Pacino has been transformed into Joe Paterno incarnate, ready to grab a clipboard and patrol the sidelines once more.
Al Pacino looks just like Joe Paterno in first look at HBO Films biopic
Through the underappreciated magic of makeup and costume design, Al Pacino has been transformed into Joe Paterno incarnate, ready to grab a clipboard and patrol the sidelines once more.
<p>The first look at Al Pacino playing former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in an upcoming film has been <a href="http://variety.com/2017/tv/news/hbo-al-pacino-joe-paterno-barry-levinson-1202496995/amp/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:released" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">released</a> by <em>Variety</em>.</p><p>The film has not been titled but will be directed by Barry Levinson for HBO.</p><p>It was also revealed that Annie Parisse will play Paterno&#39;s daughter and Riley Keough will play Sara Ganim, the 23-year-old journalist who reported on the scandal.</p><p><em>Here&#39;s the photo from Variety:</em></p><p>“After becoming the winningest coach in college football history, Joe Paterno is embroiled in Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, challenging his legacy and forcing him to face questions of institutional failure on behalf of the victims,” the film&#39;s log line states.</p>
Photo released of Al Pacino as Joe Paterno in upcoming HBO movie

The first look at Al Pacino playing former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in an upcoming film has been released by Variety.

The film has not been titled but will be directed by Barry Levinson for HBO.

It was also revealed that Annie Parisse will play Paterno's daughter and Riley Keough will play Sara Ganim, the 23-year-old journalist who reported on the scandal.

Here's the photo from Variety:

“After becoming the winningest coach in college football history, Joe Paterno is embroiled in Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, challenging his legacy and forcing him to face questions of institutional failure on behalf of the victims,” the film's log line states.

<p>Two former high-ranking Penn State administrators surrendered Saturday morning to serve jail sentences for how they responded to a 2001 complaint about Jerry Sandusky showering with a boy.</p><p>Former university vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley turned themselves in, according to Lt. Michael Woods, the shift commander at the Centre County Correctional Facility. Wood confirmed their surrender, but said he was not authorized to release any other details from the jail, which is about 135 miles (217 kilometers) east of Pittsburgh. The lockup is about 7 miles (11 kilometers) northeast of Penn State&#39;s main campus.</p><p>Schultz and Curley pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child endangerment in March, leading prosecutors to drop three felony charges of child endangerment and conspiracy.</p><p>Curley, 63, must serve three months in jail, while Schultz, 67, has two months behind bars. Jail officials said they will be evaluated for participation in work release while incarcerated.</p><p>A co-defendant, former Penn State president Graham Spanier, 68, was convicted of the same offense and faces two months in jail. Spanier remains free on bail while he appeals to Superior Court.</p><p>Spanier continues to be a tenured faculty member and is on administrative leave. A deal with the university when he was forced out as president after Sandusky&#39;s arrest in November 2011 pays him $600,000 a year, ending this fall, after which he will receive a salary.</p><p>The three men received a complaint from a graduate assistant football coach in February 2001 who said he was highly disturbed by seeing Sandusky appear to sexually abuse the boy late on a Friday night in a team shower.</p><p>They told Sandusky not to bring children onto campus anymore, but prosecutors said the administrators had no plan to enforce that rule.</p><p>Police were not notified, and a criminal investigation into Sandusky did not begin until a Pennsylvania school district reported another complaint about him in 2008.</p><p>Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of child sexual abuse. He maintains his innocence and is appealing, while serving 30 to 60 years in state prison.</p><p>The scandal led the university to fire Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno, who was informed of the 2001 incident the next morning by the assistant, Mike McQueary. Paterno notified Curley but did not call police. He died in 2012, a few months after his firing, and was never charged with a crime.</p><p>An anonymous email in 2010 led investigators looking into Sandusky to contact McQueary, and he proved to be a critical witness at the criminal trials of both Sandusky and Spanier.</p><p>At sentencing for Curley, Schultz and Spanier last month, Judge John Boccabella did not spare Paterno, saying he &quot;could have made that phone call without so much as getting his hands dirty. Why he didn&#39;t is beyond me.&quot;</p><p>He also questioned Curley&#39;s memory lapses while testifying for the prosecution at Spanier&#39;s trial.</p><p>&quot;I find it really hard to believe that he doesn&#39;t remember every detail of the most serious mistake he ever made,&quot; Boccabella said.</p>
Two Penn State ex-officials begin jail terms in Sandusky case

Two former high-ranking Penn State administrators surrendered Saturday morning to serve jail sentences for how they responded to a 2001 complaint about Jerry Sandusky showering with a boy.

Former university vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley turned themselves in, according to Lt. Michael Woods, the shift commander at the Centre County Correctional Facility. Wood confirmed their surrender, but said he was not authorized to release any other details from the jail, which is about 135 miles (217 kilometers) east of Pittsburgh. The lockup is about 7 miles (11 kilometers) northeast of Penn State's main campus.

Schultz and Curley pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child endangerment in March, leading prosecutors to drop three felony charges of child endangerment and conspiracy.

Curley, 63, must serve three months in jail, while Schultz, 67, has two months behind bars. Jail officials said they will be evaluated for participation in work release while incarcerated.

A co-defendant, former Penn State president Graham Spanier, 68, was convicted of the same offense and faces two months in jail. Spanier remains free on bail while he appeals to Superior Court.

Spanier continues to be a tenured faculty member and is on administrative leave. A deal with the university when he was forced out as president after Sandusky's arrest in November 2011 pays him $600,000 a year, ending this fall, after which he will receive a salary.

The three men received a complaint from a graduate assistant football coach in February 2001 who said he was highly disturbed by seeing Sandusky appear to sexually abuse the boy late on a Friday night in a team shower.

They told Sandusky not to bring children onto campus anymore, but prosecutors said the administrators had no plan to enforce that rule.

Police were not notified, and a criminal investigation into Sandusky did not begin until a Pennsylvania school district reported another complaint about him in 2008.

Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of child sexual abuse. He maintains his innocence and is appealing, while serving 30 to 60 years in state prison.

The scandal led the university to fire Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno, who was informed of the 2001 incident the next morning by the assistant, Mike McQueary. Paterno notified Curley but did not call police. He died in 2012, a few months after his firing, and was never charged with a crime.

An anonymous email in 2010 led investigators looking into Sandusky to contact McQueary, and he proved to be a critical witness at the criminal trials of both Sandusky and Spanier.

At sentencing for Curley, Schultz and Spanier last month, Judge John Boccabella did not spare Paterno, saying he "could have made that phone call without so much as getting his hands dirty. Why he didn't is beyond me."

He also questioned Curley's memory lapses while testifying for the prosecution at Spanier's trial.

"I find it really hard to believe that he doesn't remember every detail of the most serious mistake he ever made," Boccabella said.

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