A recent competition by ESPN confirmed what we already knew, that Joe Paterno is the greatest football coach in Big Ten history, and Penn Staters are really good at Internet polls.
Paterno — the No. 4 seed in the field — took down several legendary football coaches en route to being voted the winner in the ESPN B1G Coaches Tourney, where he took down longtime Nebraska coach and No. 3 seed Tom Osborne.
Joe Pa won every matchup thanks to the votes of loyal Nittany Lion fans. His path consisted of a first round bye, then taking down No. 5 seed Fielding Yotes of Michigan in the second round, 62 percent to 38 percent.
From there, Paterno “upset” No. 1 seed Woody Hayes of Ohio State in a hotly contested battle, winning 52 percent of the 22,118 votes cast. In the finals, Paterno rolled past Osborne, receiving 63 percent of the 31,957 votes cast.
“I was surprised that Paterno won this tournament, considering the way his tenure ended and considering the normal power of the Huskers fan base in these voting situations,” ESPN’s Brian Bennett said. “Some of you noted some potential irregularities in our voting, as Paterno received vast support from international voters the past couple rounds (more than half the votes in the title game came from outside the U.S., according to SportsNation, and Paterno won 87 percent of those votes). Are there that many people around the world who are JoePa fans, or is there some funny business going on? We have no real way of checking that, and I’m not sure why anyone would go to the trouble of cheating to win a contest like this.”
While this probably won’t end up in Joe Pa’s biography or anything like that, at least we can all take solace knowing that the NCAA can’t take this one away from him.