So the NCAA made themselves and every other moralizer feel good about themselves with their unprecedented actions. What Mr. Emmert doesn’t realize is that, along with solidifying the team and giving the fanbase something to rally around, he has provided the world an opportunity at an interesting case study. I’m going to completely ignore the Sandusky scandal; this has nothing to do with that.
For the past 10 years or so, people have insisted that Boise State could win one game anywhere but they would not be able to survive the rigors of a Big Ten or SEC schedule. Well folks, buckle up, because we are about to find out. For the next 4 seasons, PSU will only be able to offer 15 scholarships per year and will only have a max of 65 to hold at any one season. The rest of the spots will have to be filled with walk-ons, preferred walk-ons and the like. That means PSU will have to do more, with less. Isn’t that the motto that Boise State plays with? They take the players that have been overlooked, coach them up, and turn them into a team that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Just look at the LB that just committed to the team. He is an under the radar guy, one that didn’t really have any Division I scholarships. Sure, he might not be recruited to play at PSU during the usual times but who is to say that he can’t develop into a great player? Boise State, TCU, and the other mid-majors do this constantly. Take kids that are overlooked and turn them into solid contributors. The depth may be an issue but that is the issue that people always bring up about the mid-majors when they discredit what they do. This first season or two for O’Brien are big. If he can win some games, while having his proverbial arm tied behind his back, he can show the world that PSU doesn’t need the best of the best, that he can take the overlooked and the underrated and turn them into a bunch of giant slayers.
Penn State could very well fall on its face in the upcoming 5-10 years. I know that is what Mr. Emmert is hoping/wishing/praying for. Its why he leveled the sanctions that he did. At first glance, it seems that Bill O'Brien has taken the right approach, the "us against the world" mantra. It is about the only choice he has. Now it is time to see his coaching chops. If he has surrounded himself with a good staff (which it seems he has) it is time for them to DO WORK and turn this group of players and players to come into a team that can play with anybody, anywhere, on any given Saturday.