STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – They gave the old man a bouquet of roses after the game, and he kept himself from making the joke about how people his age really don’t want to see someone coming with a flower arrangement.
It wasn’t the time for that, though no one jokes about Joe Paterno being old more than Joe Paterno. Other people bring it up, mostly those news guys trying to get a story, but it’s only worth a joke now and then to the coach. Really, he says, deflecting the talk and the attention, it’s about the kids who play the game, not some guy sitting in the press box, about to get hip surgery, making notes to himself, just mostly watching.
A lot of this is about Paterno, though. It has to be. Penn State went through Michigan State easily yesterday, winning, 49-18, to finish the regular season 11-1, win the Big Ten championship, and earn a berth in the Rose Bowl (assuming some miracle doesn’t catapult them into the BCS title game).