Originally written on Nittany Lions Den  |  Last updated 10/13/14

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 7: Head coach Joe Paterno of the Penn State Nittany Lions stands on the field during warm-ups before a game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on November 7, 2009 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Irony has marked Joe Paterno’s career at Penn State in so many ways. Numerous undefeated seasons, yet few national titles. Incredible football accomplishments, yet a relentless focus on academics. A career marked by integrity and honor, yet a retirement marred by scandal. Another irony is that some of Joe’s greatest personal achievements came in his worst seasons. He passed the mystical 400-win mark in a 7-6 season (2010); he passed Eddie Robinson for all-time Division 1 wins (409) in the season where Penn State’s administration pushed him out. But the first record Joe needed to get was the major college football record: Paul “Bear” Bryant’s 323 career victory mark. The win normally would have happened in 2000, but a losing season—and then a terrible start to 2001, meant that the record still loomed. After a dramatic win over Northwestern a week earlier, No. 323 and a tie with Bryant had finally arrived; when would the record be entirely Paterno’s? Big Ten powerhouse Ohio State ...
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