First, Rose Bowl officials lavished Joe Paterno with fragrant bouquets and a BCS invite. Then, doctors equipped him with a surgically repaired hip. Now, Penn State's awarded its 82-year-old head coach a three-year contract extension.
Clearly, 'tis the season of giving.
Now, instead of speculating over JoePa's fate, we can spend our time second-guessing the move and feeling sorry for Tom Bradley. Only, we're not going to second guess the move (we are, however, going to feel sorry for Bradley, who's now doomed to three more years of doing a head coach's job without getting head coaching credit or head coaching money).
It doesn't take glasses as thick as Paterno's to see he's little more than a figure head now. Paterno's the face of the program, and he's there to provide a link to the past and inspiration for the present. He's not, however, there to call plays or woo recruits. That's for Bradley and Co. Penn State fans may think the extension frustrating and foolish, but at the end of the day, this was an example of an institution doing right by a man who had done right by it for decades, and that's a refreshing thing to see in this era of impatience, turnover and disloyalty.
That's our take. Post yours in the comments below.
SI.com's Heisman guru Gene Menez released his final Heisman Watch of the season Monday, and in it, he cast his vote for Texas quarterback Colt McCoy. Menez also said, however, that he won't be the least bit surprised if this ends up being the closest vote in Heisman history, as McCoy, Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford and Florida QB and 2007 Heisman winner Tim Tebow all have impressive résumés and legitimate shots at taking home the trophy Saturday night.
Indeed, this three-way race is so tight, sports blog The Angry T suggested we abandon analysis, stats and reason and instead determine the Heisman winner by deciding which school has the best-looking cheerleaders.
Others, however, have mocked such shenanigans and pronounced quite confidently that Tebow deserves to repeat. (One guy even made his case through the medium of song.) But we at SIOC disagree.
Winning two Heisman trophies is an incredible feat. So incredible, in fact, that only one man has done it before. And while there's no doubt Tebow's an elite athlete and game-changing presence, he hasn't had the kind of season needed to put him in Archie Griffin's company.
Notre Dame finally ended the suspense Tuesday evening, announcing embattled coach Charlie Weis will return for the 2009 season. The national media outlets (our site included) and the blogosphere reacted quickly, and amid the slew of pontificating, we discerned the three most commonly offered explanations.
1. The Notre Dame brass really do have faith in Weis' ability to recruit and lead effectively, consistently put together double-digit win totals and beat Michigan and USC in the same season.
2. The school wants to send Weis packing, but it wants one thing even more, and that's to avoid giving the "trigger happy" critics more fodder.
3. Urban Meyer and Brain Kelly both said "thanks, but no thanks," and so the situation resolved itself.
We're casting out unofficial vote for No. 3 (though No. 2 is admittedly compelling). What do you think?
I generally write The Vent from the first-person plural, because it's supposed to represent SIOC's views and not merely my own. But today's topic is close to my heart, so I feel compelled to swap in "I" for "we."
On Sunday, my alma mater Syracuse fired fourth-year football coach Greg Robinson. After watching Robinson lead the Orange to a paltry 9-36 record (3-25 Big East) in three-plus seasons, few 'Cuse fans were sorry to see him go. Now, instead of dwelling on an era in which Brendan Carney and Rob Long punts were the best 'Cuse football had to offer, fans are shifting their focus to the future, and to Robinson's replacement.
On Monday, however, college football writer Stewart Mandel posed a simple question to SI.com readers: "Who's dumb enough to coach 'Cuse?"
Not entirely unfair, but a tad harsh, I think we can agree.
A little more than a month ago, Charlie Weis probably allowed himself to smile. Sure, his knee was a mess of sinew and scraps, but the Irish were sporting a winning record (4-1) at long last. As his squad prepared to take on newly-relevant UNC, Weis might have fondly viewed his crutches as an accessory to success.
But Notre Dame dropped that one, and then two of the next three (and perhaps most embarrassingly of all, actually allowed the impossibly abysmal Washington Huskies to score a touchdown).
After Saturday's shutout loss to Boston College, Weis announced his intention to reclaim control of Notre Dame's offense. Some Irish fans undoubtedly considered the announcement good news, but columnist Jason Whitlock ripped Weis for publically embarrassing his offensive coordinator.
The scrutiny's nothing new for Weis, whose Notre Dame tenure has been rife with bumps and potholes (indeed, one could argue this season's successful opening stretch was the real bump, and the rest of the Weis Era has been one smooth, steady stream of disappointment).