I had no idea how to react.

There I was, a 20-year-old college student sharing an elevator with an icon. Fortunately, I wasn’t given the chance to stand frozen with awkward indecision. No sooner had the elevator doors closed, Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno pulled out his wallet and began showing me pictures of his grandchildren.
I don’t remember names, ages, whether he was showing me pictures of boys or girls. I was too shocked at the fact that not only was I in an elevator with Joe Paterno, but he was proudly trumpeting the existence of his grandkids to a complete stranger.

OK, so it wasn’t a complete happenstance occurrence. It was Big Ten football media day in downtown Chicago, and we were in the elevator of the host hotel – where presumably we were both staying. I was wearing my media credential, as I was tasked to cover the event for my college paper, The Minnesota Daily. Perhaps he even saw my last name and figured a fellow Italian would obviously be interested in familial tales.

Regardless, the one thing I do remember from the brief interaction was the smile on the old man’s face. Paterno was beaming, a proud grandfather happy to be sharing stories and photographs with anyone willing to listen.

Never could I, or anyone else, have suspected the horrors of which he’d heard just six months prior.

How could a man so outgoing, so enamored with his progeny, be so cavalier in his handling of what’s turned into the preeminent college football scandal in history? As has been reported by several news outlets, Paterno was told by then graduate assistant and current wide receivers coach Mike McQueary of sexual activity he witnessed between then defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and a young boy in the shower of an otherwise empty Penn State locker room. Paterno is not being held legally responsible, at least currently, in the fallout of Sandusky’s recent arrest on several charges of sexual misdeeds with children. However, Paterno’s ethics and morals have come into question as a result of his relative inaction – to the point the New York Times is reporting that Paterno will be forced to step down despite being the winningest coach in Division 1 football history.

Paterno shouldn’t need to be forced. He should walk away willingly, apologetically, tearfully. Paterno didn’t commit heinous acts against young boys as Sandusky’s been accused of, but by not following through as the alpha employee on Penn State’s campus, he fell miles short of his obligation as not only a leader, but as a human being.

Paterno’s regularly scheduled Tuesday press conference was canceled as national media flooded Happy Valley looking for answers. Deservedly so, as Paterno apparently never followed up after informing athletic director Tim Curley of what he’d been told by McQueary. Legally, Paterno did the minimum. But I can’t believe that a man so revered for both his accomplishments on the field and kind nature off it didn’t know it was wrong to not follow through regardless of his professional relationship with Sandusky.

This is a man former Minnesota Gophers football coach Glen Mason speaks of with ultimate reverence. Mason held Paterno in the utmost regard when I covered that 2002 Gophers team, and he’s recently told a litany of Paterno stories in his regular visits with KFAN radio’s Dan Barreiro, calling the coach “a cut above” just two short weeks ago.

The point is, Paterno knows what’s right and what is wrong. Not going to the police when Sandusky reportedly later showed up with other boys on Penn State’s campus is indefensible. By continuing to avoid public comment, Paterno is only further damaging his reputation and that of his university.

This is the last way anyone could’ve imagined Paterno’s legacy coming to an end. At 84 years old and with more than 400 career victories, the face of Penn State – if not all of college football – earned the right to go out on his own terms.

But by harboring a sexual predator in his ranks, Paterno forfeited those rights. It’s a shame, but it was done of his own volition. Paterno should face the tough questions, apologize to the victims who suffered as a direct result of his inaction, and voluntarily walk away from job he’s held since 1966.

Then comes the hard part – looking into the eyes of those grandchildren he holds so dear, and explaining why he failed to help children just like them.

Good luck in the final weeks of the fantasy football regular season!

Week 12 2010 NFL Matchup Breakdowns

Considering Mike Vick’s two rushing touchdowns on Monday night, now is a good time to remind folks who use this worksheet that QB rushing scores are NOT calculated in QB fantasy points against since only a select few quarterbacks run the football in goal line circumstances, and even fewer run in non-goal line situations.

Week 10 2010 NFL Matchup Breakdowns

These numbers get more useful every week, and now there is a large enough sample size that the home and road splits are at least a little helpful — although who teams played at home or on the road still has a lot to do with the averages.

Week 9 2010 NFL Matchup Breakdowns

I calculated the London game between San Fran and Denver as a road game for both teams, FYI. Neutral would’ve made more sense, but I didn’t want to make a new column just for one game.

Week 8 2010 NFL Matchup Breakdowns

We are far enough along into the season that most of these numbers are useful. The road/home splits are still a bit light in data, but those are the less helpful stats anyway. The overall stats are showing some useable trends — like the fact I should’ve picked up Billy Cundiff to play instead of Matt Prater last week. Cost me 11 points…

Week 7 2010 NFL Matchup Breakdowns

Some definite trends are starting to take shape — the overall numbers can and should be used to help determine your fantasy starting lineup and who some plug-n-play candidates are off your league’s waiver wire.

Week 6 2010 NFL Matchup Breakdowns

Sorry that I missed a couple of weeks on this, but I had a good excuse. I was on my honeymoon in South Africa. Now that we’ve got five weeks in the books, these numbers have a little more authority to them. The home/road splits are still a bit shallow, but the overall numbers can lend some decent insight.

Week 5 2010 NFL Matchup Breakdowns

Again, its a little early to read much into these numbers, and the home/road splits are meaningless at the moment. Still, there are a few nuggets in here that might help with your fantasy matchup this week.

Week 2 2010 NFL Matchup Breakdowns

I haven’t posted in awhile, but I’m sure no one cares. I’m back to post stats after every week updating how defenses fare against specific fantasy positions. This data is calculated using standard scoring plus PPR. The first few weeks of data will fluctuate quite a bit, so don’t read too much into it. Later in the season is when this becomes more useful.

Week 1 2010 NFL Matchup Breakdowns