Joe Paterno used Penn State's trip to Ohio State to take a cheap shot at his brethren in the East. When reminded that some Nittany Lion backers still think Penn State would have been better off joining the Big East instead of the Big Ten, Paterno said, "You've got to be kidding. There's no comparison. Maybe one or two teams in the East could compete, but they'd really have their hands full in this league right now."
Although visibility at Saturday's game was limited by swirling snow, this much was clear after Penn State's 24-6 loss to the Buckeyes: Paterno should forget about the East and concentrate on the Midwest. Just because Penn State is sixth in the Big Ten, Paterno has no reason to belittle the Big East. West Virginia (7-0) and Miami (6-1) are doing just fine, Joe, and Virginia Tech (6-2) and Boston College (5-2) are O.K., too.
Still, Paterno wasn't the Geek of the Week in Columbus. That was Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee. Early in the fourth quarter, when the Buckeyes had the game in the bag, Gee appeared in the press box. Passing behind the writers, Gee said repeatedly, " John Cooper out-coached Joe Paterno, and you can quote me on that. I want to see it in the paper."
TOASTS OF MANHATTAN
Although he inherited one of the most woeful traditions in college football when he took the Kansas State coaching job in 1989, Bill Snyder has done what seemed impossible: He has turned the Wildcats into a bowl team that will finish 9-1-1 if it beats Iowa State, Missouri and Oklahoma State. Last Saturday, a week after tying Colorado 16-16, the Wildcats drilled Oklahoma 21-7.
Don't assume that the Wildcats went bonkers after their first win over the Sooners in 23 years. Quarterback Chad May, who passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, chided his fellow students for trashing the goalposts. "People tearing down the goalposts show that our fans didn't expect us to win," said May. "I knew we were going to win."
The triumph over Oklahoma may help quiet some of the furor over the 10-year contract Snyder signed earlier this year. When the contract was made public by the Manhattan Mercury, a few faculty members got their noses out of joint. Snyder's deal calls for an annual base salary of $126,504, a series of incentives that could almost double that salary, an annual bonus of at least $10,000, an annual raise of 7%, $70,000 a year from radio and TV shows, a membership at the Manhattan Country Club and use of two vehicles.
Although Snyder said he was "pained" by the criticism from the faculty, he directed most of his anger at the Mercury. "I have a real concern about why there's a vendetta—maybe that's a poor choice of words—about why our local newspaper made that so important," says Snyder.
How about that? A football coach who's feuding with the media and the faculty about money. Welcome, Kansas State, to the wonderful world of winning.