The NCAA has spoken and wow did they punish Penn State severely. The restrictions handed down will cripple the once proud football team. I’m not here to discuss what was right, wrong, just or unjust, only to discuss how the sanctions will effect the local teams.
First, the rumors of the feeding frenzy of what is as close to a free agency in college football we will ever see are staggering. Schools have been faxing Penn State (seriously, faxing? how are they not at least emailing yet?) lists of current PSU players they are interested in.
The NCAA has stated that not only can all current PSU players transfer with out the standard one year waiting period, but schools at the max of 85 scholarship players will be able to go over that maximum if it is accepting a wayward PSU student-athlete (they will forfeit a future scholarship, though).
The Question will be if MSU and UM participate in the frenzy and try to bring in any additional bodies, and if so, which ones will they target? With the suspension of Fitzgerald Toussaint will UM target Silas Redd, Penn State’s leading rusher last year(already rumored to be headed to USC), to solidify the backfield behind Denard Robinson? Or will Brady Hoke focus on younger, promising players with bright futures to continue the build up of the UM Football program.
On a side note, with the vacating of wins, between OSU and PSU, Rich Rodriguez now has a career 19-18 record as head coach of the Wolverines. I heard an interesting question raised about this, with those now OSU wins, is RichRod owed any bonus money for wins over rivals? Ok, back to the point here…
Will the knowledge Mark Dantonio has of many players in the Penn State program from recruiting many more players than Brady Hoke over the previous 4 years give him an edge? Will Dantonio look to add a veteran receiver to solidify the young, inexperienced but immensely talented WR corps he has now?
Or Will Dantonio try to focus on young offensive lineman, a sore spot for the future of Spartan football? What would adding two prized former PSU lineman do to help sustain the success Dantonio has had in East Lansing? I believe it will answer the one big question that Dantonio has had trouble with.
On the field, Penn State is no longer on either team’s schedule this year and is not scheduled to play MSU until 2015. UM will host PSU in 2013 and play in Happy Valley in 2014 but that doesn’t mean they will go unaffected in 2012.
The Leaders division of the Big Ten now has two teams under NCAA restrictions with PSU and OSU and if the attrition at PSU is as large as many believe it will be, then they will be an easy win for all teams they play. This provides Wisconsin with what looks like a VERY easy road back to the Big Ten Championship game this year.
And going forward, if PSU is as bad as they could be, with minimal scholarship players on their roster and the inability to play in bowl games, recruiting lesser talent, being able to face them and Indiana and constantly mediocre Purdue every year, makes that division a two team race between Ohio State and Wisconsin for the foreseeable future.
For now, its wait and see mode with Penn State players likely needing this week to decide if they will transfer or not. I believe that a few upper classman will, even more Freshman and Sophomores will too and those committed to play there next year will soon change their minds and change the landscape of football in the Big Ten.
Update: according to US News no one wins the vacated games (this may have been common knowledge but I just never really cared before) so RichRod did not have a winning record during his time in Ann Arbor.
Update 2: Looks like the commitments are starting already. The Freep reports that 4* Cornerback Ross Douglas has decommitted from Penn State to join the 2013 UM recruiting class