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On Having the Game Pass You By

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While watching Penn State destroy Michigan State yesterday, it occurred to me that we aren’t hearing much this year about how Joe Paterno is a coach lost in another era, the “game having passed him by”. It also occurred to me that we would be hearing quite a lot about how Tom Osborne, Don James, Bo Schembechler, and Lou Holtz were being “passed by” if any of them had possessed Joe’s longevity, assuming that the disasters their teams have endured as of late ensued on their watch. Although I suppose that there’s some question as to how much control JoePa still has over the team, the lesson would seem to be that even elite college football teams are subject to cycles of success and failure. The relatively weak performance of Penn State from 2000-2004 is best interpreted as part of such a cycle, rather than as evidence of JoePa’s creeping dementia.

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