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Nitt Picks Won't Play The Little Sisters Of The Poor

Well, as if Boise State and TCU's undefeated records weren't causing enough controversy already, Ohio State president Gordon Gee thought now was a perfect time to pour gas on the fire.

"Well, I don't know enough about the Xs and Os of college football," said Gee, formerly the president at West Virginia, Colorado, Brown and Vanderbilt universities. "I do know, having been both a Southeastern Conference president and a Big Ten president, that it's like murderer's row every week for these schools. We do not play the Little Sisters of the Poor. We play very fine schools on any given day.

"So I think until a university runs through that gantlet that there's some reason to believe that they not be the best teams to [be] in the big ballgame."

Really, there's nothing Earth-shattering there from the fan/media perspective, but to hear it come from the mouth of a major university president is quite telling about the mood of BCS conference administrators toward these smaller schools. Then Mr. Gee dropped the real bomb.

"If you put a gun to my head and said, 'What are you going to do about a playoff system [if] the BCS system as it now exists goes away?' I would vote immediately to go back to the bowl system," he said.

He said the current system is better for the student-athletes.

"It's not about this incessant drive to have a national championship because I think that's a slippery slope to professionalism," he said. "I'm a fan of the bowl system and I think that by and large it's worked very, very well."

This is going to fire up the pro-playoff crowd big time. And not the "We want to see a playoff because it'd be cool" crowd, the "We want a playoff because the BCS is exclusionary and just poops on the little guy." crowd and the "We're going to investigate on Capitol Hill" crowd. You know, the people who think Ohio State should have to play a game in East Bumpkin County, Idaho before playing for a national title.

So thanks, Gordon. You've just given Sen. Orrin Hatch and his cavalcade of legislators more ammunition with which to establish the "fairest" system possible, rather than the most exciting one. Bravo.

Gator Bowl

If you're looking to book bowl game travel, the Gator Bowl is starting to look like a pretty safe bet, because president Rick Catlett pretty much told the Post-Gazette that his bowl will select Penn State if Capital One and Outback don't.

"Obviously, we'd be tickled to death to have Penn State and coach Paterno here, but there are a few other bowls that pick in front of us," Catlett said. "We've heard all the Penn State-Florida speculation. We'd be OK with that. Sign us up."

So put those fears of dropping into a late December bowl-game to rest. We're going to Florida for New Year's, baby. O, and Catlett is pretty happy Joe Paterno isn't retiring, too.

"That's absolutely pretty good news that coach Paterno is coming back," Catlett said. "We hope we can get him here. We don't want to be known as the bowl game that ends a coach's career."

No, Rick, I'm sure you don't.

Cook On Paterno's Return

Also in the Post-Gazette, today, Ron Cook believes Paterno's announcement of his return puts the University in a difficult position.

Penn State president Graham Spanier must have choked on his lunch when he heard of Paterno's plans to coach at least one more season. "I didn't say I hope to. I'm gonna," Paterno said with -- what? -- great resolve, defiance, perhaps even arrogance. The old man's spunk is admirable, I'll give you that. But what if Spanier doesn't want Paterno back? That possibility certainly seems reasonable, although Spanier would never admit it publicly. What if he thinks it's silly, as so many of us do, that Paterno continues to hang on even though he doesn't coach much or recruit at all anymore and is little more than a figurehead? What if he thinks it's time for a change in his football program, that maybe a younger coach could do better?

Sure, the possibility is reasonable, but after this season, I doubt another rebuilding year is what the University wants. If there was a time to give Joe a nudge, it was after last season. Now, this team is knee deep in being rebuilt for a run at something in 2011 or 2012. You can't start over now. Next season might be it for Joe. As we talked about earlier this week, he gets one final crack at Alabama at home. He gets to see a Nebaraska team I'm sure he's itching for a shot at and he finally gets to see the Big Ten Championship game come to fruition. Retiring after next year also ensures whoever might take over still has something to get started with in 2012.

But right now, beyond a cruddy recruiting class, there's really little reason for Joe to think about leaving so long as his health allows him to keep on.

In Scores Of Other Games

  • The Worldwide Leader previews your Thanksgiving weekend sports menu. [ESPN]
  • Mike Leach is suing ESPN [AP]
  • Jason King takes a look at Maryland, Penn State's big ACC/Big Ten Challenge opponent next week. [Yahoo!]