Harsh Penn State Sanctions Leave Bobby Bowden With Most Wins
The NCAA’s profound punishment against Penn State – specifically the docking of 111 wins from the late Joe Paterno’s final record – will leave former Seminoles Head Coach Bobby Bowden at the top of the wins list in Division IA college football history.
All of Paterno’s wins from 1998 to 2011 were vacated, and his last official game was the 1997 Citrus Bowl, in which Penn State lost to Steve Spurrier’s Florida Gators 21-6. Paterno’s last official win came against the Wisconsin Badgers on November 22, 1997, with the team being lead by then-quarterback Mike McQueary.
McQueary is perhaps more known for his role as a witness in the Jerry Sandusky case.
Penn State’s other punishments include: $60 million in fines, five years of probation, a four-year bowl ban, reduction of scholarships and a Big Ten ban from competing in a conference title game for four years.
The last win and last game of Bowden’s 57-year coaching career came at the end of the 2009 season in the Gator Bowl. The Seminoles defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers 33-21 to open the new year and close the book of Bowden’s illustrious tenure at Florida State.
Bowden and Paterno have met head-to-head twice, with the last matchup coming in the Orange Bowl during the 2005 season. The Nittany Lions defeated the Seminoles 26-23 in triple-overtime. In the other matchup, Penn State was defeated by Florida State in the Blockbuster Bowl during the 1990 season. Because of the vacated wins, Bowden is officially 1-0 against Paterno.
Before the official punishment today, speculations about the “death penalty” were being thrown around as a possible punishment (basically meaning a cancellation of all football activities for a set amount of time). Some still argue that the NCAA’s wrath against Penn State was too lenient.
As Dan Bernstein of CBS Chicago states, “Unfortunately, no attempt to change this particular culture can really succeed without a suspension of the games themselves.”