FSU scandal could increase Paterno's wins lead

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Florida State is in big trouble, and the penalties leveled against the football program for violations stemming from academic fraud likely will affect the all-time FBS coaching victories race.

Florida State's Bobby Bowden and Penn State's Joe Paterno have traded the top spot for some time, with Paterno holding a slim edge (383-382) heading into 2009. But Bowden's total should drop significantly as the NCAA sanctions might require Florida State to vacate all wins that featured ineligible players in 2006 and 2007.

My colleague Heather Dinich reports that it's not yet clear how many games will be vacated. But unless Paterno steps down very soon (unlikely) or Penn State goes in the tank again (highly unlikely), it's hard to envision the 79-year-old Bowden catching up.

"Dennis Thomas, the vice chair of the Committee on Infractions and acting chair for the FSU case, said only one ineligible player would have had to participate in a game for the entire team record has to be vacated."

Paterno, 82, received a three-year contract in December and has indicated no immediate plans to retire.

This isn't how JoePa wants to secure the all-time wins total. Then again, it would be hard to see an academic scandal as bad as this one happening under his watch.