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Bowden: I Would Restore Joe's Wins

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Yesterday, Joe Paterno received some words of support from an unlikely ally in his ongoing fight to fight the NCAA's sanctions.

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, Penn State's fooball team will square off against a team helmed by his son, Terry, but it seems like Bobby Bowden is trying to get on the good side of Nittany Lion fans, or at least the family of his old friend. Speaking Wednesday on a North Carolina-based radio show, Bowden said that if it were up to him, he'd return all 111 of Paterno's wins vacated by the NCAA--in the process, dropping himself to the second-winningest all-time FBS coach from the #1 spot he's held since the summer of 2012.

Of course, Bowden is no stranger to vacated wins: In the last years of his tenure at Florida State, a far-reaching academic fraud scandal across numerous sports programs resulted in the vacating of 12 wins from the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Of course, Bowden said that he'd like to have those wins back, too--upping his own total from 377 to 389. Like the Paterno family, Bowden seems especially miffed that he lost out on wins "for something that [he] had nothing to do with."

Bowden also called out the NCAA for their hypocrisy in handling other academic improriety, taking it to task for failing to investigate the allegations at Notre Dame.

Ironically, this represents something of a 180 for Bowden. Although he had kind words to say after Paterno's passing, Bowden didn't seem to mind passing Paterno on the wins leaderboard a few months later. Right after the Freeh Report was released, Bowden didn't go to bat in the least for his old friend, saying that a cover-up of Sandusky's crimes could have been carried out to gain a competitive advantage on the football field, and that vacating Paterno's wins might well have been justified. As he became the all-time major program college football wins leader, Bowden even went on to voice his support for removing the Paterno statue.

Like so many others, however, Bowden seems to have come around--if not explicitly aiming to clear Paterno's name, at least acknowledging the savage hypocrisy of the NCAA.