It’s Ohio State week at State College.
But it has a much different feel than it has in past seasons, considering all that has transpired in the past week and a half.
So, with all the emotions still swirling around the Penn State program, the practice field has turned into the best place on campus. At least for the players.
“I think a lot of times, with everything that swirls around them, they enjoy coming to practice because it’s the one time they can just kind of be with themselves,” interim coach Tom Bradley said. “No one’s asking them questions; they’re there to play football. And they know they have a job to do this week. We’re still in the hunt for this Big Ten Championship.”
The Nittany Lions (8-2) are in the thick of the league championship as they prepare for Ohio State. The Buckeyes (6-4) are no strangers to scandal, after an illegal benefits fiasco forced their head coach out.
But that’s not the focus. This week is about football.
“It’s still Ohio State-Penn State,” Bradley said. “One of the things I want to emphasize right now; this is all about the players, it’s about our team, their team.”
Penn State is still eligible for a bowl bid and Bradley admitted that he would accept it. However, that may not be his decision to make.
“That’s the administration’s decision,” he said. “So whatever they decide, that’s what we’ll do.”
Another part of the PSU tragedy
That Big Ten trophy Penn State is still in the hunt for is missing a familiar name.
On Monday, league commissioner Jim Delany said it was “inappropriate” to keep Joe Paterno’s name on the championship trophy. It has been renamed as the Stagg Championship Trophy.
Paterno, of course, was fired last week as head coach at Penn State after fallout from the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal.
“I just think it’s another part of a tragedy that’s occurring,” PSU interim coach Tom Bradley said yesterday.