Stubbornness may be part of the reason Penn State coach Joe
Paterno is ignoring the growing chorus of people calling for him
to step down, and it's hard to blame him. With all that the
76-year-old Paterno has given the school--338 wins and two
national titles, a stellar graduation rate and hundreds of
thousands of dollars in donations--he has more than earned the
right to retire whenever he's good and ready.

But that doesn't mean his plan to return next year--"Whether you
like it or not, I'm going to be around," he said last week--is a
good idea. Paterno has lost 28 of his last 50 games, and the
Nittany Lions' 17-7 loss to Northwestern dropped them to 2-8, 0-6
in the Big Ten. The six-game losing streak is their longest since
1931, and they've already tied the school record for losses in a
season. Those numbers, and the presence of longtime offensive
coordinator Fran Ganter, a potential successor who could continue
to run the program Paterno's way, make this the right time for
Joe Pa to step aside. For a man who has given so much to Penn
State, it would be his most selfless gift.


Tennessee's 10-6 win at Miami ended the Hurricanes' national
title hopes, but Miami had already shown that it wasn't
championship caliber. It's not just that the Hurricanes should
have lost to Florida and West Virginia, or that they have dropped
consecutive games. It's that Miami is producing its worst, most
undisciplined performances at a time when title contenders
separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

The Hurricanes have scored only one touchdown in each of their
last two games, and they have sabotaged themselves with penalties
all season. (On Monday, coach Larry Coker benched quarterback
Brock Berlin in favor of Derrick Crudup.) They had 12 for 121
yards against Tennessee, including a key flag that helped the
Vols score their only touchdown. Miami tight end Kellen Winslow
ripped the officials after the game, but the Hurricanes have only
themselves to blame for their late-season meltdown.


Duke's 41-17 victory over Georgia Tech, which ended the Blue
Devils' ACC-record 30-game conference losing streak, ought to be
enough to persuade the administration to give interim coach Ted
Roof a permanent job. Roof, the defensive coordinator before
taking over for Carl Franks, who was fired on Oct. 19, had the
support of his players even before the win.

Two weeks ago, cornerback Kenny Stanford told athletic director
Joe Alleva that the team had held a players-only meeting and
unanimously voted for Roof as their preference for the next
coach. Alleva has promised that Roof will get an interview but
hasn't guaranteed him the job. If school president Nan Keohane's
reaction to Saturday's victory is any indication, Roof is the
front-runner. After the win Keohane came up to the coach, who had
been drenched in ice-cold water by his players, and kissed him on
the cheek.


Congratulations to Texas Tech senior Wes Welker, who broke a
54-year-old NCAA record for career return yards with his 1,739th.
Earlier this season Welker set another NCAA mark with his eighth
career punt return for a touchdown.... It keeps getting worse for
Kentucky coach Rich Brooks, whose team is 4-5. Responding to
rumors that Brooks would be fired at the end of the season so the
school could court Steve Spurrier, Brooks's daughter Kerri, 37,
logged onto a Wildcats Internet chat board and blasted those
discussing the story. Kerri then wrote that her father was
unhappy at Kentucky. Brooks said he has told his daughter never
to post anything in a chat room again.