Wiseguys in our business are taking turns this week trying to come up with the cutest nickname for Saturday's game between No. 21 Penn State (8-2, 5-1) and Ohio State (6-4, 3-3).
I'll pass. Penn State with its child sexual-abuse allegations and Ohio State with its multiple NCAA violations have heard enough by now.
The real focus should be that these are the two biggest coaching openings in college football for next season. Penn State already has fired Joe Paterno. OSU coach Luke Fickell has the "interim'' title, and no previous head coaching experience.
Let's start with the Buckeye job because Nebraska coach Bo Pelini's name will enter the conversation.
Chatter around the league indicates that Ohio State will look long and hard at hiring someone with Ohio connections.
Using that baseline, Cleveland Plain Dealer star beat writer Doug Lesmerises offered a list of Urban Meyer, Fickell and Pelini.
Meyer, who won two national titles at Florida before resigning for health/family reasons, was raised in Ashtabula, Ohio. He played football at Cincinnati, was a graduate assistant at Ohio State and was coach at Bowling Green.
Fickell was raised in Columbus, Ohio, and played at Ohio State. His whole coaching life (Akron, Ohio State) has been in Ohio. He deserves credit for keeping the Buckeyes in the Big Ten title race through a season of widespread and frequent distractions.
Pelini was raised in Youngstown, Ohio, and played at Ohio State. Lesmerises says OSU is looking for more of a CEO-style coach who can schmooze with big donors and spend time repairing the program's image.
That doesn't sound like Pelini's method of operation at this point in his career.
At Penn State, Meyer will be a top-of-the-list candidate. Others mentioned include Miami coach Al Golden, a former Penn State player, and Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, who got his big break in coaching at Penn State by getting promoted to a full-time defensive assistant's post.
To me, Penn State has the opposite mission of Ohio State. The Nittany Lions need someone with zero ties to the place.
First, an entire purge of the football department must occur. Everyone must go: coaches, graduate assistants, secretaries, equipment people, film-room workers. It's the only way to start back on the road to credibility.
From a football standpoint, Penn State looks like a better job than Ohio State, unless the NCAA decides it can sanction the Nittany Lions in light of a pending investigation announced on Friday.
Ohio State could be headed toward scholarship cuts and a bowl ban for its indiscretions. Penn State as of now has no such penalties. The worry in State College long term is if the university gets hammered in civil suits that money for athletics might diminish.
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OTHER BIG TEN GAMES
No. 15 Wisconsin (8-2, 4-2) at Illinois (6-4, 2-4), 11 a.m., ESPN2: Four straight losses at Illinois with a fifth expected here should end Ron Zook's seven-year run. Wisconsin is left to ponder how two last-second Hail Mary passes knocked the Badgers out of the national title race.
Indiana (1-9, 0-6) at No. 12 Michigan State (8-2, 5-1), 11 a.m., BTN: Nebraska fans looking for Michigan State to slip up don't need to waste any energy on this one. The best bet looks like the following week when MSU has to go to Northwestern.
Minnesota (2-8, 1-5) at Northwestern (5-5, 2-4), 11 a.m., BTN: The Wildcats are back in the hunt to claim a fourth straight bowl bid, and seventh in the past 12 seasons. Quite an accomplishment when you consider the bad old days of Northwestern football.
Iowa (6-4, 3-3) at Purdue (5-5, 3-3), 11 a.m., BTN: It's put up or shut up time for the Hawkeyes regarding road games. They have an 0-3 record away from home, and finish at Purdue and at Nebraska.