By Andy Andersen
Michigan faced their venerable old Big Ten foe, Illinois in Champaign Saturday. While Illinois featured no Red Grange, or Dick Butkus, and the Wolverines no Tom Harmon or Charles Woodson in their lineups, there was a strenuous competition with plenty of talent on the field for both sides. Michigan’s Denard Robinson and Jason Scheelhasse can provide football fireworks with the best of them. One hundred thirty two points in last year’s three overtime 67-65 classic is all the proof needed.
There was plenty at stake this year. The Wolverines are still in the Legends chase statistically, although that possibility became more moot with the loss last week to Iowa. They needed desperately to add to their 7 wins on the season to erase visions of similarity with their slides the past three years.
I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then…
– Bob Seger “Against the Wind”
A week ago, Penn State football was riding high. In prime position to take part in the inaugural Big Ten Championship game, head coach Joe Paterno was seemingly a shining example of old school values.
Success with honor was his team motto.
A week ago none of us could imagine the scandal that broke over the weekend in Happy Valley.
Of course, a few did know what had occurred at Penn State. Most importantly Joe Paterno knew that something unseemly had happened in his football facility between a former coach and a young boy.
And shockingly despite being told of the incident by one of his graduate assistants, he did nothing to clarify the situation.
Business as usual continued in Penn State football. The retired coach in question continued to have unfettered access to Nittany Lion football facilities, games, and through his charity an endless supply of young boys.
And Joe Paterno, the paragon of virtue, never questioned a thing.
We can debate exactly what Joe Paterno could have done differently, but let’s agree that he should have done more than he did.
And that’s the problem. Paterno had always cast himself as a teacher first and foremost, his classroom was the football field, the lessons he taught were for life.
And what lesson did he teach with his 9 years of silence since he first heard about the abuse?
Of the scandal Paterno said in a statement, “This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.”
Coach, we all wish you’d done more.
Especially the children who suffered in silence while this abuse was allowed to fester under your watch.
You can ponder that as you enter retirement.
By Andy Andersen
The gales of November seem to be building for the Michigan Wolverines Football team (now 7-2, 3-2 Big Ten). On Saturday Iowa’s Hawkeyes seized control of the football game early and never let go of it.
An inconsistent defense let the powerful and talented Hawkeye running back Marcus Coker advance the ball effectively from time to time over most of the game, but especially in the first half. Coker lugged 29 times for 140-yards and 2 TTs. The defense did rise up at time and keep Michigan in the game.