Friday January 27th, 2012

Greg Schiano has shuffled off this college coil. Everybody is mad at him. Hush. 

• "But the timing was so tacky!" Schiano leaves his post at Rutgers a week before Signing Day. That's awkward timing. But you know what would have been way, way worse? Leaving Rutgers a week after Signing Day, with his highly touted class all in the fold with the misapprehension that he was going to be head coach. The screamers in our inbox and the inboxes of our colleagues -- raucously upset that Schiano didn't attend Joe Paterno's funeral -- we're not even going to address. This is football, not feelingsball, and certainly not talk radio. Again, the more delays in Schiano's negotiations with Tampa Bay, the less time the new guy has to secure the 2012 class for next season. Schiano spent the better part of a decade in Happy Valley molding Nittany Lion defensive backs. We find it highly unlikely that he would set out to insult the Paterno family now, particularly given his statement upon Paterno's death.

"But he abandoned his assistants to flail awkwardly at a local high school!" This had to be an uncomfortable scene, and, yes, it undeniably could have been handled better. It appears from this story that his assistants were not dealt with gracefully, at least from the outset. This is the only real fault we can find with his departure.

"But Greg Schiano is disloyal to Rutgers, and a big meanie!" The hell he is, y'all. Eleven years at one job is an eon in the current college landscape. Two vacancies at Miami during his tenure and a brief fling with candidacy at Michigan didn't pull him away. You don't have to like this development. But if Eric LeGrand isn't mad at Greg Schiano, you don't have the right to be. As told to CBS:

"I'm not mad. ... I know he has reasons. I don't agree with it, but it's not my decision. It's his decision. I'm happy for him. I didn't want him to go. He's doing what's best for him and his family."

Schiano posted winning records in six of the past seven seasons, and led the Scarlet Knights to six bowl games (which brings the program's total number of bowl trips in school history to seven), emerging victorious in five. He's done a job of work here.

"But Rutgers is doomed! Doomed, I say!" The Scarlet Knights are most certainly not done for.

"This couldn't have happened at a worse time for Rutgers," Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said. "Never in the history of Rutgers football have things been going so well."

Does this seem a bit counterintuitive to anybody else? Schiano and his crew put together a great recruiting class, a large swath of which will surely be retained by the next hire. How much worse would he have looked if he jumped ship after the 2010 4-8 campaign?

Scarlet Knights bloggers at On The Banks are taking the measured, mid-range view:

 This is still a program with plenty going for it, albeit with the one gigantic lingering albatross of conference affiliation. You have a great local talent base, dedicated fans, an athletic department that's willing to do what it takes to win, there's the spotlight of the New York City media market, but paradoxically, plenty of patience.
These guys are not wrong. It might not feel like it right now for Rutgers' faithful -- precisely because their program has been marked by relative stability for what counts as a long time in the current landscape -- but it's going to be all right. Every program goes through this. They all have before, and they all will again. And with Todd Graham presumably off the job market for this season (at least), what's the worst that could happen?

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