So I have to admit, back in the dark ages I was in the "Joe must go camp." I of course respected everything he'd done for the program, both on and off the field, but it was clear the game was progressing at a rapid pace and I just didn't think he and the rest of the coaching staff would be able to utilize PSU's resources to its full potential. I felt PSU was in sleeping giant mode. If a new coach could come in and modernize the offense, string a few really good seasons together, and lock down talent from Northern Virginia up through Maine, PSU could be a national power for a long, long time. The biggest untapped resource to me was in recruiting. Sure the south has the best talent these days, but all those SEC schools, and now seemingly everyone else, are beating each other up for those recruits. If PSU was able to establish itself as the top program in the northeast, they would be towards the top of the list for a large majority of elite recruits in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Mass. If you are the only major local player for all those recruits, PSU could have a top class every year. (I'm basing this assumption on the opinion that Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse, BC, Maryland, and, dare I say, even Va Tech will never be national title contenders.)
Now fast forward to today. We have a new coach. In my opinion a great new coach who brings with him a lot to the table to offer recruits. Before stepping foot on the field he had locked down some of the best recruits the mid-atlantic region had to offer. I was excited to see the product on the field, and if it turned out as good as everything else had with BOB, I felt it was only a matter of time until PSU was a dominant force on the college football landscape.
Then the sanctions came.
Penn State's recruiting was handicapped. And not just for four years, but more like seven or eight years until PSU's normal scholarship balance is restored (Junny wrote a piece explaining this a bit ago). Not only will PSU be working with less players, but the quality will undeniably suffer as many kids won't want to play under the sanctions and miss a shot at a NC. The product on the field will of course suffer, and it will take years to get PSU back to where it was pre-sanctions.
Back before all this happened, and before BOB, I thought the right coach could make PSU a nation title contender in five to six years. I am definitely a believer BOB is a man capable of that under different circumstances. I still have no doubt someday Penn State will be back among the elite. The question is, considering the long lasting effect of the sanctions, how long will it be until PSU once again competing for national titles?