Originally posted on Bloguin Best  |  Last updated 1/2/12

Tom Bradley took his headset off with under a minute to play in the 2012 TicketCity Bowl, with his Nittany Lions trailing 30-14 and unable to prevent the inevitable. It may have been the last time Bradley, a long time face inside the Penn State football program, put on Penn State blue and white on a game day.

"Well, obviously we're going to have a new football coach next year here for sure, whoever that may be," Bradley said after the game. "So in that regard, yes. I was disappointed in the way we played. I thought we'd play better today, I thought we'd play better defensively. I didn't anticipate us giving up those big plays. But it's going to be obviously new around here for a lot of people."

Since November everything at Penn State seems to have gone down hill. Joe Paterno, fired. Athletic director Tim Curley, on trial for perjury. Pristine image, tar and feathered. On the field, Penn State lost three of their final four games, with losses to Nebraska, Wisconsin and Houston. To add to it all, the search for a head coach has stretched in to 2012 and despite multiple reports seemingly coming out of nowhere about one NFL assistant coach or another, it remains a giant mystery just how soon a coach will e named, let alone who might have an inside track to the job.

"I didn't say it wasn't going to be me," Bradley said. "I don't know who it's going to be. I said this before. Dr. Joyner's committee are going to make this decision. I don't have a date when it's going to be. He hasn't set a time frame exactly when it's going to happen. I also said I had the opportunity to go speak to the committee. I had an opportunity to plead my case. I think one thing different for me coaching now is I turned the defense over to [Larry] Johnson and [Ron Vanderlinden]. I didn't think it was fair chirping in when I wasn't sitting in every meeting and going over every detail. I didn't think that was fair to them. On offense, we just tried to get better at the things we're doing. Next year we'll have a totally different look on offense one way or the other. I'm not sure what their timetable is going to be. Obviously I have some concerns because of recruiting. We can go on the road Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, which we're going to do. I told you I'm going to work till the very end until they tell me I'm no longer needed. That's what Penn State paying me to do and what is in my heart that I am going to do because I love this university and I love the people."

Following Case Keenum's thrashing of a bewildered Penn State defense, which ended Penn State's season with their fourth loss of the year, the focus on where the Nittany Lions are heading in the national landscape will try to become clear. Here is what we know about Penn State:

They have lost a couple of talented recruits as a result of the Sandusky issues, but they have retained a number of recruits despite the ugliness.

Penn State has a long road back to becoming the national power they were in the 1980's. Penn State has allowed 30 points in three of their last four bowl games, and has not beaten a top 25 team since beating LSU in the 2010 Capital One Bowl.

Nobody knows what coach would be the best fit for Penn State. Nobody.

And that may be one of the biggest problems right now for Penn State. Their stock as a football program has taken a hit, and it was inflated to begin with. Is it repairable? Absolutely. The budget is still there, as are the facilities. In time Penn State will be back, and it may not be the next head coach who returns them to being one of the top teams in the Big Ten. It could be the coach after that.

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