I feel a little bit selfish and near-sighted writing a post like this - hey, there was a massive sexual abuse cover-up and scandal at a school in Northwestern's conference, now let's talk about HOW IT HELPS US WIN SOME FOOTBALL GAMES - but what are we supposed to do? Not pay attention to it? I haven't really made up my mind whether this all is a good idea or a bad one - sure, the NCAA should punish a football program that made massive oversights to protect themselves, but on the other hand, the NCAA is a somewhat morally corrupt organization that now finds itself punishing a bunch of people that had little to do with the problem at hand.
Either way, apologies if I come off sounding like a vulture or something. But what else am I supposed to do, here? Ignore the punishments? So here's my post on how Northwestern benefits from the fallout of a sex abuse scandal.
Anyway, Northwestern is in Penn State's conference, but I actually don't think the sanctions against PSU really change that much for the Wildcats. Let's take a look.
Four-year bowl ban: This is the one that does have an effect on Northwestern most realistically: with one less team in the Big Ten able to go bowling, I figure any team in the conference should be able to qualify in most years with a 6-6 record. There's eight bowl tie-ins now distributed for 11 teams. Of course, with the other massive restrictions on Penn State, the bowl ban is somewhat moot, since it seems unlikely they'll be qualifying for a bowl anytime soon.
Massive scholarship restrictions: The implications here are severalfold. The first, of course, is that with essentially the roster of an FCS team, Penn State won't have a great team for the next few seasons. However, this won't really help Northwestern: After this year, when Penn State will lose 10 scholarships, PSU is off the Wildcats' schedule until 2017, so NU won't face Penn State while the full extent of the restrictions are in place. Most other teams in the conference will have a majorly weakened Penn State on their schedule while NU dodges the Nittany Lions. So NU will face a PSU squad that has modest restrictions once and miss out on playing them when they are weakest. So no extra wins for NU, if that's what you're interested in.
However, what most people are focusing on is the actually-somewhat-thoughtful ability for Penn State players and recruits to transfer with virtually now restrictions. Most coaches are presumably foaming at the mouth over this. However, I'd be surprised if NU nets anybody from this: I don't believe anybody of Penn State's recruits, freshmen or sophomores were highly considering Northwestern in addition to PSU. So I don't think the Wildcats will capitalize on that scenario.
Edit: Lou Vaccher from Rivals, who knows more than me, disagrees with me via twitter
In case you were wondering, there are 4 current Penn State commits with #Northwestern offers.— Louie Vaccher (@WildcatReport) July 23, 2012
So, to summarize: NU doesn't really benefit majorly from the hammer slammed down on Penn State, if that's what you're curious about. That's as it should be, right?
Back to regularly scheduled programming soon.