Prior to all the craziness that has transpired over the course of this past week, the million dollar question entering the season, with the multi-million dollar answer was...who is going to take over for Joe Paterno when he decides to retire?
Well, after a stunning turn of events and the subsequential firing of the legendary coach on Thursday by the board of trustees, the question has become increasingly asked and speculated upon.
The fact is, no one knows the answer. And we may not for many months.
However, that has not prevented some folks from believing they have an inside scoop on who the next head coach will be. I am sure you have heard a rumor or two, or three, or more.
Everyone seems to have a friend or relative who is a real estate agent that knows another real estate agent that recently sold Urban Meyer a home on the outskirts of State College.
I guess the former Florida head coach, and current ESPN analyst is into flipping homes. I hope he made a decent profit on the home he supposedly bought outside of Columbus last March in the midst of the Ohio State scandal.
A risky undertaking in the times we are currently living in, if you ask me. But hey...it's his money.
Is it riskier than taking over a tarnished program embroiled in one of the greatest scandals in sports history? That is another million dollar question, and one that Urban Meyer and the other candidates must ask themselves when the time arrives.
According to Joe Davidson, recorder of deeds for Centre County, there has been no such transaction take place.
I have compiled a list of five candidates that I feel would be very attractive to Penn State and in turn would mostly likely jump at the opportunity to take the position, risky as it may seem.
Kevin Sumlin is the long shot of the five candidates that I have chosen, however, this guy could make the most sense.
Sumlin, 47, is in his fourth year as Houston's coach. He boasts a record of 33-16 with the Cougars, who are 10-0 this season and are ranked 11th in the latest BCS rankings. He was also a finalist for the 2009 Paul "Bear" Bryant National Coach of the Year Award and could very well win the award this season.
A former linebacker at Purdue (1983-86), Sumlin has the ties to the Big Ten as a player and a coach, having been an assistant at his alma mater and at the University of Minnesota.
His style of play is already very enticing to high school prospects and would even be more so at a major university such as Penn State and it would definitely add some life to an offense that has been on life support all season.
Houston quarterback, Case Keenum, under the tutelage of Sumlin, has broken several national passing records and is on every major award's watch list. This should be very attractive to Penn State officials as the Nittany Lions have not produced a decent quarterback in a number of years.
The ceiling is high on this rising coach, I just hope Penn State has enough sense to consider him.
Fitzgerald, 36, is in his sixth season as Northwestern's head coach and has led the Wildcats to a 38-34 during his tenure and has had them playing in the post season the last three years.
Considered by many as one of the top young coaches in college football, Fitzgerald recently signed a 10 year contract and seems his allegiance to his alma mater is very strong and he may be difficult to pry away from Evanston.
A former standout linebacker is his playing days, Fitzgerald was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year twice along with capturing the Chuck Bednarick and Bronco Nagurski awards twice each also, so if he was the choice, the moniker Linebacker U would still be fitting.
Fitzgerald has always held the Penn State program, and in particular, Joe Paterno in high regard which would obviously be an advantage to the Nits when trying to sell the job.
Also, current Nittany Lion assistant, Ron Vanderlinden, Fitzgerald's defensive coordinator during his playing days with the Wildcats, could also become a great ally, especially if maintained by the powers that be.
Penn State is similar to Northwestern with their academic standards and this would allow for an easy transition to a bigger stage should he take the job with the Nits.
Schiano, 45, is the current head coach at Rutgers, a position he has held since 2001. He has a career record of 65-66 and is an impressive 4-1 in bowl games.
The numbers are not great...but we are talking about Rutgers here. In all fairness, you have to disregard the first two seasons as he was a mere 3-20 out of the gate.
The current Scarlet Knights' head coach is most known for orchestrating one of the greatest rebuilding efforts in recent history, as he took over a Rutgers program in shambles and guided them to an 11-2 record in his sixth season earning him nearly every major coaching award in college football.
Schiano, often mentioned as a possible successor to Joe Paterno, whom he coached under as a graduate assistant and secondary coach, struggled last season and has not been rumored for bigger jobs as frequently as in the past.
I mentioned the Penn State ties and I am unsure as to how the new shot callers will view them, but he is still relatively young and could probably use a change of scenery to re-energize his batteries which have not seemed to be operating properly as of late.
My guess is that Schiano will get a chance to interview, and with his luggage attached to his back, would skip 240 miles west on I-80 to take over the program he has been mentioned with season after season.
Golden, 42, is in his first season at the University of Miami and has guided the Canes to a 5-4 record through a myriad of setbacks and controversy to date. He was essentially deceived by school officials when they failed to disclose an ongoing NCAA investigation into the program during the hiring process and he may eventually hold that against the Canes who are said to be willing to extend his contract already.
This former Penn State tight end would make a lot of sense to me, however, I am not the one making the choice, and it just may be, that the powers that will be, might not want someone with former or current ties to the program. In this case, that would be a decision they would most likely regret.
Golden is regarded as a tireless recruiter and his attention to detail is second to none. He has also proven he can restore a program, which is a major reason why he was hired away by the University of Miami after he rebuilt a struggling Temple team in the relatively short time (5 years) he was there.
In the three years prior to Golden's arrival on Broad Street, the Owls were a horrendous 3-31. After only a few seasons later, they were defeating the UCLA Bruins at halftime of the Eagle Bank Bowl, a game in which they eventually lost. However, it was the first time since 1979 that a Temple team had reached the postseason.
The Nittany Lions will not be in need of a total restoration, just a little fresh paint with a tweak here and there should suffice.
OK...well, maybe an image consultant might be a great idea also.
Meyer, 47, is a current ESPN college football analyst who coached at the University of Florida from 2005-10. He guided the Gators to national championships in 2006 and 2008 and has a career record of 104-23 in 10 seasons as a head coach at the Universities of Florida, Utah and Bowling Green.
He is obviously the cream of the crop, but has had some health issues in the past, which is one of the reasons why he decided to step down at his last gig in Gainesville, not once, but twice. He has also been mentioned as the successor at Ohio State should the current interim, Luke Fickell, not be retained following this season so Penn State brass will have some stiff competition for his services.
The current ESPN analyst is an Ohio native, but has become close to Joe Paterno over the last few seasons and reportedly has been a regular visitor to State College since taking on his current duties with ESPN, thus the numerous rumors about his real estate holdings in and around Happy Valley.
Meyer would obviously be the pot at the end of the rainbow for Nittany Lions fans, however, it is a coin toss at this point as to whether he would consider taking over a program that now has been so severely tarnished in the view of American sports fans.
This would just be another blow to the Lions if Meyer would spurn the Nits for the Buckeyes and their now seemingly insignificant scandal.