Despite a combined 745 wins and being Nos. 1 and 2 on the all-time NCAA list, it’s no secret Florida State coach Bobby Bowden and Penn State coach Joe Paterno have fallen out of favor with their fans. In recent seasons, each man has dealt with a more than a handful of problems, coming from more than a handful of angles.
Players’ behavior and grades have been a shared issue. Graduation rates continue to dip and more players are dismissed from the teams each year.
Like the problems, there are multiple causes.
Whether it’s from recruiting with less of a filter for behavior problems or simply the result of giving 20-something males actual responsibilities, the two universities have shared the burden of multiple off-field issues.
But the greater issue for fans has been the lack of championship success by teams that at one time were considered yearly threats to win the Sears Trophy.
For coaches with a 75.3 win percentage, multiple losses in a single season is unacceptable. Reach a handful or more, and alumni will begin lighting the torches. Everything these coaches have done for their universities is easily forgotten in a sub-par year.
True or not, each has been accused of losing touch with this generation of players. It doesn’t help that Bowden and Paterno are older than most of their players’ grandparents, but that’s one of many reasons you won’t see the players and coaches breaking it down at the club.