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There Can Be Only One

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So this is how it ends. "Legendary" coach Bobby Bowden will bow out of the race for the all-time win record kicking and screaming. Though he says he's leaving on "his terms", we all know the truth. The athletic director took him out to lunch yesterday and told him he can either retire or he can let Jimbo call the shots from now on. Faced with the decision, Bowden decided to save what little dignity he had left.

Our friend Dennis Dodd weighs in on Bowden this morning. But he doesn't talk about building a program from nothing, or 14 straight ACC titles, or two national championships. Instead, he decides to use this opportunity to take a shot at Joe Paterno. I won't link to the article. He doesn't deserve the traffic. You know how to Google.

Could it be you're not celebrating, Joe, because Monday was a painful look into your future? You give them everything -- heart, soul, championships -- and then your bosses ask you to lunch. You leave the office the head of a football dynasty. You come back and it's all done but the press release.

You're winning again, Joe, so the cries for your hide have died down. But this could be you -- soon. Penn State's staff has done a better job of holding it together lately than Florida State's.

Florida State has a coach in waiting. Penn State has a coach entrenched. But it could turn quickly, Joe. You know that. Your friend Bobby already publicly stated he was going to be back in 2010. Then Florida dropped another whipping on the Seminoles and everybody was reminded how far the program had fallen.

I don't know why Dodd has a problem with Joe. Maybe he was a young beat reporter that Paterno pwned in one of his press conferences ten years ago. What's the matter, Dennis? Did Joe rebuke you one time for asking him why he was starting Rashard Casey? Did he tell you you didn't know what you were talking about? Your hatred for Joe Paterno is obvious, but it is quickly getting tiresome.

Yay for Florida State. They have a coach in waiting! Huzzah!

So what? For years people have said Joe Paterno should appoint a successor, and they pointed at Bobby Bowden and Florida State as the shining example of how to do it. Well, what did it get Florida State? They haven't been to a BCS game since they went to the Orange Bowl in 2005 with a 7-4 record. They have been completely irrelevant on the national scene for nearly the past decade. They've lost six games three out of the last four years. They endured an academic scandal that will cost them their wins from nearly two seasons. Their dirty laundry has been aired out in the national media for the better part of two years. Congrats on having that coach in waiting, but now he has to start with a program in shambles.

If that is the shining example of how to transition from an old coach to a new coach, no thanks. You can have it. Other examples like Purdue and Wisconsin don't exactly offer compelling arguments either. I'm quite happy with Penn State's current situation. Maybe Joe Paterno isn't as hands on as he used to be, but he's winning ten games per year and collecting Big Ten Championships. Even when he's not winning it all, he's still competing for them into November. I'll take that over 6-6 and a trip to the Meineke Car Care Bowl any day.

Dodd suggests one day the Penn State president and athletic director will make another trip to Joe Paterno's house and ask him to step down. Maybe they will, and I can already tell you Joe's response will go something like this.

They came to my house, Curley and Spanier, back in 2004 and asked me to step down. I told them I would turn it around, and we won two out of the next four Big Ten Championships and were one or two plays away from competing for a couple National Championships. Those guys aren't around anymore, but I'm still here. So go ahead and tell me I can't coach football anymore. Ten years from now after winning a few more Big Ten Championships I'll probably have two new guys sitting here in my living room telling me 9-3 isn't good enough.

I hope Joe coaches until he's 100. Unfortunately, this mean Dennis Dodd will have plenty to write about to keep his job for the next 15 years. Maybe he and Joe can share a retirement cake together.