OLD GUYS COMPARED HAPHAZARDLY: BOWDEN, PATERNO.

Penn State, 2007.

The only thing Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden have in common are spongy, swollen, semi-functional prostates and breath. Oh, and they're both still breathing and coaching football, leading to historical comparisons of dubious value and even more dubious entertainment value. When interviewed together (they're usually yoked together a few times a year) the two share zero chemistry: Bowden pals around gamely while Paterno stares into the corner, thinking about brains, a particularly stirring passage from Cicero he read the night before, and occasionally muttering something about how coaching at his age is better than the alternative (i.e., being dead.)

Yet if coming into the season you'd asked who had a better handle on their massive, allegedly disordered empires, the clear answer would have been Paterno: maturing cannoneer of a qb, promising burly defense, Penn State brand linebacker of ferocious talent and malicious intent in Dan Connor, and Big Ten in the midst of a veritable Time of Troubles. Compared to Bowden, whose team lost to Wake Forest, the Nittany Lions looked like stable currency on the rise.

However, this is 2007, and the burrito you bought is not filled with beans and rice, but worms and confetti--meaning you were wrong, wrong, wrong.

It's not so much that Florida State has done anything shockingly competent: a workmanlike, unspectacular 4-1 at this point, enough to put them firmly in the ACC title hunt. It's how shambolic Penn State has looked against Illinois and Michigan, and how little Morelli has progressed as a quarterback in their slimmed-down Indianapolis Colts for Dummies offense.

(Oh, and there's that whole discipline thing, too--again, if we covered up these two great football tastes and asked you which one would reek of bad qb play and alleged rape charges...you'd be shocked to find out it's Penn State and not Florida State, right? Take off that blindfold and be amazed, cynic. Oh, and Syracuse beat Louisville, too. If you just want to go to sleep and wake up in ten months, we'll help you by beating you into a coma with this hammer right now. Night night! WHAM!)

The stats do lie: Morelli may have 10 tds to 6 Ints on the year, better than '06's production to this point (6/5), but Morelli's thrown for just 2 scores while tossing 5 picks in the last three games against Michigan, Illinois, and Iowa. If he's that spotty against the next three opponents--Wisconsin, at Indiana, and Ohio State--Penn State's officially zombiefied for the remainder of the season. And following Swindle's Rule number 2, people never change, and they never stop making the same mistakes. Morelli's inefficiency will drag the Penn State offense into the somnambulence of a 6-6 season. The rest is much moaning and lurching around the yard for...yes...BRAINS.

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