David Jones cites two sources that claim BSD-profiled and Boise State head coach Chris Peterson is 1A on the Penn State search committee's list. For all his connections, Jones is both in the dark and honest about not having a clue what the status of the conversation is. Peterson and Boise State just destroyed Arizona last night, and the end of their 2011 campaign could potentially open the door for some actual news on this front, of which we've had nothing except an admission that the school is in fact looking for a coach.
SI has your overall record, along with obligatory comment about the program being buried:
Under Petersen, previously little-heralded Boise State has gone 73-6 in five years, and finished the 2011 season ranked seventh in the BCS standings. But Petersen has no notable ties to Penn State, and - aside from this reported persistence on Penn State's behalf - there is little reason to assume that he would join a program currently mired in the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal.
But then again, for a candied totally unconnected to the scandal, why assume anything at all, SI? One Bronco Nation Under God seems both concerned and condescending in just three sentences, as part of their first look ahead to 2012:
Will Coach Pete be around?
Of course he will! /nervous laughter
The concern would come during the NFL's annual coach purge should someone like Oregon's Chip Kelly get a job in the pros. For the time being, there are no other jobs that Coach Pete seems interested in taking, so save your breath, Penn State.
David Jones's comment about two trips suggest two potential realities, that (1) He is in fact interested, thus justifying the jet fuel, or (2) the committee is desperate to get him. Either way, being the only school/team told by OBNUG to "save your breath" suggests the rumors are registering with Peterson's current fanbase.
There's also this added bonus for Penn State: He'd be a cheap steal. Peterson's current compensation is just $1.52MM per year with some modest BCS bonuses. Compare that with this lackluster list...
1. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa: $3.785 million (5)
2. Brady Hoke, Michigan: $3.254 million (8)
3. Bo Pelini, Nebraska: $2.775 million (13)
4. Bret Bielema, Wisconsin: $2,598,186 (17)
5. Mark Dantonio Michigan State: $1.918 million (34)
6. Ron Zook, Illinois: $1.755 million (39)
7. Jerry Kill, Minnesota: $1.7 million (42)
8. Kevin Wilson, Indiana: $1.26 million (56)
9. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern: $1,189,961 (58)
10. Luke Fickell, Ohio State: $1.172 million (59) [Outdated, obviously. Meyer is the top paid B1G coach at $4MM. -ed]
11. Joe Paterno, Penn State: $1,022,794 (64)
12. Danny Hope, Purdue: $925,000 (65)
...and Peterson is modestly paid, even by penny-pinching Big Ten standards. Penn State still has the cash, remember, and can easily justify a $3-$4.5MM salary despite the rhetoric during the Paterno Era. Then again, Peterson turned down a $4MM offer from UCLA, despite reports he's fond of California and the common sense assumption that he likes money.
But there's a wild card in play (from Jones above):
As for the positives in Penn State's corner, Petersen is known to value the open space of Idaho and the ability to drive 20 minutes to fish. That's one major reason he would not consider living in Los Angeles.
If fishing is a "major reason" for anything, I can only refer Peterson to this, and assure him there are extra fly rods in the rec building. Could being Too Country become Penn State's saving grace?
This morning's totally scientific stats about Penn State losing long-term income in the $30MM range would be largely mitigated with a good hire. Jones cites the current list like so: 1a. BSU head coach Chris Petersen, 1b. Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak, 2a. Duke head coach David Cutcliffe, 2b Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe. I'm not sure all of those qualify.
What say you?