(Yes, it took my Penn State homerism to come back from "retirement". I'm sure this post doesn't make up for it.)
While this video is probably the best of the youtubes put up of the riots in State College after the 13-6 Nittany Lion victory on Saturday night, none quite do the justice that the mace-filled video does at the Collegian website (second video down in the list.)
Reaction to the game has been mixed, as there are already those out there (1 2) decrying the weak Big Ten schedule and assuming that Penn State will just follow in line with OSU's poor showing the past two national championships.
The Big 12 and the SEC are better conferences than the Big 10. Without a doubt. The NFC East is better than the AFC North. That doesn't stop the Steelers from hanging with what many people consider the top team in that division and in the league. There's no logic in complaining about an undefeated Penn State team going to the national championship game over a 1-loss SEC or Big 12 team. The system, first and foremost, rewards wins, so it rewards an easy schedule. If you can go undefeated with a tougher schedule, the system rewards you more. Which is why Texas and Alabama should be playing Miami if they both win out. In both cases, the system just sucks.
But Penn State and Joe Paterno can't lose, assuming they finish out these last three games. If Texas or Alabama falter they're playing for the national championship. If they go undefeated and don't get in, the bitching heard from a million middle aged white men in Penn State turtlenecks will not let this die. Ever. For non-Penn State fans,the potential of having to watch a subpar championship game for a few hours is better than endless mentions of "they screwed us in '08!" declarations on message boards, blogs, radio shows and TV for the next decade. Yet, if there was one chance for the BSC system to be altered to a plus-1 or playoff system in future years this would be it.
This is likely Joe's last year. The stars are aligning too perfectly for it not to be. Either way this plays out his legacy will be either that of one last total victory or potentially altering the entire landscape of the game. Seems appropriate to me.