Penn State Football Scandal: 7 Possible Replacements for Joe Paterno

Matt Shetler@@buccos12Correspondent IApril 10, 2017

Penn State Football Scandal: 7 Possible Replacements for Joe Paterno

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    For decades now, everyone has speculated about not only when Penn State football coach Joe Paterno would retire from coaching, but also eventually who would be the guy to fill his legendary shoes.

    Yet Paterno has never uttered the R word, and many have wondered if he ever will.

    However, could the recent scandal at Penn State do what Father Time has been unable to do and force Paterno off of the Penn State sideline?

    By scandal, I'm referring to former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky who was indicted  by a grand jury on sexual abuse charges, which connected him to a number of incidents dating back to 1995 and as recent as 2005.

    Sandusky, who retired from Penn State in 1999, faces 40 counts on charges including involuntary deviant sexual intercourse with a minor less than 16 years old, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault of a minor less than 13 years old and endangering the welfare of a child, among others.

    Several high profile Penn State figures, including Paterno testified against the grand jury appeared before the grand jury during the investigation.

    The press release from the Pennsylvania Attorney General paints an ugly picture.

    Even uglier has been the lack of action taken by the university since the incident, as Yahoo Sports Dan Wetzel breaks down.

    As for Paterno's involvement, some may say he did the right thing by reporting Sandusky to his superior in Tim Curley, who is facing perjury charges himself.

    Paterno released a statement to The Patriot News in Harrisburg that said, "If true, the nature and amount of charges made are very shocking to me and all Penn Staters. While I did what I was supposed to with the one charge brought to my attention, like anyone else involved I can't help but be deeply saddened these matters are alleged to have occurred."

    Yet, Curley worked for Paterno much more than Paterno worked for him, so Paterno could have called the police himself and the fact that he didn't could ultimately cost him his job.

    It's a far worse charge than anything any other college program has ever come under. Penn State knowingly let a child predator practically live for free on its campus and did nothing to stop it.

    Paterno has survived a lot through his legendary career, including a span where it seemed half of his team broke the law, but to save face, heads are going to have to roll at Penn State, and that could include Paterno.

    Sandusky was once viewed as a possible replacement for Paterno. If this is ultimately the knife in the back for Paterno, let's take a look at seven guys who could ultimately replace him.

Urban Meyer

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    Pre-scandal, the talk was that Meyer to Penn State seemed like a done deal when Paterno decided to call it a career.

    Ironically, Meyer's last game as a head coach was a Florida Gators win over Paterno's Nittany Lions in the Outback Bowl.

    There will be other schools including Ohio State that will surely pursue Meyer in the offseason, and while he's good on television, Meyer is a much better football coach.

    It would be hard for Meyer to pass up a job like Penn State if it became available.

Tom Bradley

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    Bradley would definitely be the top in-house candidate, but time will tell if Penn State will want to keep things in house or opt for a total makeover.

    He's been on Paterno's staff for over three decades and was a finalist for the Pitt head coaching job this past offseason before the Panthers elected to hire Todd Graham.

    It may be frowned upon if the Nittany Lions were to hire Paterno's possible replacement in-house, but if they do, then Bradley would likely be a shoe-in for the job.

Jon Gruden

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    It will take a heck of a coaching opportunity to lure Gruden away from his "Monday Night Football" gig, but how often does the Penn State job open up?

    Gruden is a heck of a football coach and should do wonders in the college game in terms of both coaching and recruiting.

    Unfortunately for the Nittany Lions though, if Gruden is your guy then you are going to have to write one big check to get him out of the broadcast booth.

Dabo Swinney

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    Swinney is a very unlikely candidate, but his stock is up and rising as one of the hottest young coaches in the game today.

    He's proven he can recruit at Clemson, and if he wins 10 games this year, no one in the nation would be more likely to step into a higher profile job than Swinney.

    Again, he's unlikely, but his stock may be rising at the perfect time.

Pat Fitzgerald

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    At 36, Fitzgerald is one of the youngest head coaches in the country, and although he's never won a bowl game, he's taken Northwestern in each of the past three seasons.

    Fitzgerald took the Wildcats from a 4-8 team in 2006 to a 9-4 team in 2008 and is regarded as one of the finest head coaches in the country.

    Fitzgerald has always remained committed to Northwestern, but the opportunity to coach better players and win bigger games may just be too big to pass up.

Kirk Ferentz

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    Ferentz is an Upper St. Clair native, so he has Pennsylvania ties.

    In 13 seasons as the head coach of Iowa, Ferentz has compiled a 92-61 record and has earned at least a share of two Big Ten championships.

    The NFL may one day be tempting for Ferentz, but if he were to take another college coaching job, Penn State would likely be high on his list.

Chris Petersen

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    Petersen has won more BCS games in his time than Paterno has, and while he seems happy at Boise State, could it be possible that he hits his boiling point if an undefeated Boise State is once again prevented from competing for a BCS National Championship?

    What Petersen has done at Boise State is near remarkable. He's posted a 61-5 record since 2006 and has successfully turned the Broncos into a national power.

    Kellen Moore is graduating, so now may be the perfect time for him to seek employment at a place where the system gives you an opportunity to compete for a championship.