Consensus national titles: 2
Best team: Joe Paterno's 1968 team went 11-0 and won all but one regular season game by more than 10 points. The Nittany Lions finished No. 2 behind Ohio State.
Decline: Joe Paterno had one losing season in his first 34 years as Penn State head coach, but he's had four in the past five years.
Low point: Paterno promised some "soul searching" following a 14-7 loss to Northwestern at home on Nov. 6, 2004. The loss, the sixth straight for the Nittany Lions, came two weeks after Penn State lost to Iowa, 6-4.
Why they're for real: The offense seems a little more wide open, and Paterno is not hesitant to play -- or talk about -- the two star freshmen.
Why they're a pretender: The schedule has been soft and many people predicted a 4-0 start. Penn State will need to win one of the next three games -- Minnesota, Ohio State, Michigan -- if it hopes to finish with a winning record.
Dissenting opinion: www.firejoepaterno.com
The Web site shows the venerable Penn State coach holding a symbolic white towel and urges, "Joe, please throw in the towel." Its purpose: "Sometimes we stay longer than we should. . . . We all have the prime of our careers, Joe's came a long time ago." The site has "Please Go Joe" boxer shorts on sale for $14.99.
Today: vs. Minnesota (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten), 3:30