STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -Given the chance to weigh in on the BCS, Joe Paterno passed.
Come back to him at the end of the regular season if No. 3 Penn State remains undefeated and is still shut out of the national title game.
Playfully sparring with the media on Tuesday with a classic blend of humor and bluntness, the wily Paterno said he's focused only on getting the Nittany Lions (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten) ready for their final three conference games, starting with this weekend's at Iowa.
``I want to try to get my team as ready as they can be ... with the idea that we got a tough football game and go from there,'' Paterno said when asked about the scenario of a one-loss team jumping Penn State in the BCS rankings.
It was one of several questions Paterno got about the BCS at his weekly news conference at Beaver Stadium.
But Paterno, a vocal proponent of a playoff system, didn't bite on a chance to take a shot at college football's current postseason setup.
rom now I may jump off Rec Hall,'' he deadpanned in referring to an old gym on campus. ``Who knows?''
Some Penn State fans are crying foul after Texas Tech moved into second in the BCS rankings, ahead of the Nittany Lions, following the Red Raiders' win over then top-ranked Texas last weekend.
Penn State remains third behind Alabama and Texas Tech, and the top two teams advance to play in the championship game.
The 81 year-old Paterno would love a chance to get Penn State a third title, the first two coming in 1982 and 1986. He's also experienced the disappointment of going undefeated without a national championship four times, the last time in 1994 when the Nittany Lions finished second in the polls.
Now, Penn State may find itself in the same predicament again if Alabama and Texas Tech win out.
``In '94, the problem was not with me personally. It's a question of a bunch of kids who do everything you ask them to do, and then at the end they don't get what they deserve.
``Yeah, I'd be disappointed,'' he added. ``There again, what am I going to do?''
Then there's the scenario that Penn State might still not move up into one of the top two spots even if Alabama or Texas Tech does lose, with a one-loss team leapfrogging the Nittany Lions.
out of the SEC or Big 12.
The players, just like their Hall of Fame head coach, are following the party line. Paterno told his team at a meeting Monday to forget about the BCS.
``It's not tough at all, all that ranking stuff,'' safety Anthony Scirrotto said about heeding Paterno's advice. ``We still got three weeks go. All we got to do is stay focused on who we play this week.''
A bye last weekend allowed Scirrotto and his teammates a chance to catch the Texas Tech-Texas game and rest their aches and pains.
It was especially beneficial for quarterback Daryll Clark, who was pulled in the fourth quarter of the Oct. 25 win at Ohio State after suffering a mild concussion. Paterno said the eager Clark is back at practice and should be ready for the Hawkeyes.
Paterno played it coy again about his own health. Doctors last week checked out his injury, which at random times JoePa has referred to as a problem with his hip, right leg or both.
``We spent most of the time figuring out how to handle the press, to be frank with you,'' Paterno said.
On Tuesday, he said the problem was minor and affected his leg. He reiterated that he might have a minor procedure to fix the problem after the season is over.
final decision.
As for the BCS? Forget about it.
``I haven't got the slightest idea what the BCS ... is it the BCS or the BSC? I don't know,'' he said. ``They are going to do what they are going to do and it won't make any difference what I say or comment on.''

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