Although I am disappointed by the results from the season, It would have been crazy of me to expect much more. Penn State started the first true freshman quarterback in Joe Paterno’s tenure.
If you read this you already know how I feel about the B.C.S., I don’t want to hear about how the system worked. Once again I have been forced to enjoy a college football season through partially closed eyes, so as not to look too closely and realize that in reality, very little of what I was watching mattered at all.
What I have chosen to do instead, is just try to enjoy a game, whatever game, for what it is, a single entity to occupy my mind for three hours. Unlike the NFL, where I watched Sunday’s Buccaneers/Falcons game knowing that the Buc’s entire season was potentially on the line, I watch Penn State games simply to enjoy that one game.
This will again be the case on New Years Day, when Penn State takes on Florida in the Outback Bowl. Nothing will really be on the line (I do think Penn State can win this game, Joe has done surprisingly well against SEC teams in bowls in recent years) but I will still enjoy it. I will actually love watching it. I mentioned this on Facebook, but it bears repeating here, I believe this will be Joe’s last game on a Penn State sideline. The last time those Coke bottle glasses, high water Khakis and black shoes run out of the tunnel. Joe seems to have aged very quickly over the last year. He has lost much of the energy that just a year ago seemed to defy age and time. It is actually heartbreaking to listen to his press conferences and interviews.
A few years ago I promised myself that I would support Joe as long as he wanted to stay. For my money, Joe is college football, Joe is everything that I love about the team I cheer for. It is not hyperbole to say that there will never again be one like him. No coach will ever win the number of games at one school that Joe has. Period. That is saying nothing about the graduation rates, the donations to the school, the fact that Penn State has never had a violation of NCAA rules, the man who literally coached generations of the same family. I believe January 1st will be Joe’s last game. It would be fitting, I cannot see Joe wanting any part of a year-long celebration of his career. Which is exactly what next year will turn into.
So I will enjoy the game, I will watch, cheer, and probably cry. But, I know it will mean nothing.