Alabama’s victory over Penn State is an illustration of where college football was (Joe Paterno) and where it’s going (Nick Saban)

While Penn State was kicking a field goal late to avoid a shutout for the first time since 2001, Alabama was methodically winning its 26th straight regular season game. While Paterno is awkwardly breaking in a true freshman quarterback (the first ever to start a season at Penn State), Saban is running out of ways to avoid the reality that his backup tailback (Trent Richardson) is better than returning Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram.

Paterno’s time is running down, health issues this offseason keeping him from his usual booster tour and sapping him of energy. Rival coaches adore him.

Saban, meanwhile, is just getting cranked up at a behemoth of a program in a meat grinder of a conference — where rival coaches were so miffed at how Saban pushed the envelope in recruiting, the NCAA eventually passed what coaches call the Saban Rule to limit spring contact periods.