Paterno’s Grand Experiment produced perfection

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Pittman recalls Missouri star receiver Mel Gray saying the Tigers had played three conference rivals better than Penn State.

“I said, `You know what we beat them too,” Pittman said, referring to victories against Kansas the season before and Colorado and Kansas State in 1969.

Penn State beat Missouri 10-3, but it wasn’t enough. Texas beat Notre Dame 21-17 in the Cotton Bowl and President Richard Nixon proclaimed the Longhorns national champions.

The poll voters agreed and Paterno never quite forgave Nixon.

“I’d like to know, how could the President (Richard Nixon) know so little about Watergate in 1973, and so much about college football in 1969?” Paterno said.

Paterno and Penn State finally won the national championship in 1982 and he added another in 1986. The “Grand Experiment” unveiled in 1967 had produced an elite college football program.

“By the time you go to the end of the `69 season, when they beat a really great Missouri team, at that point Penn State was really there to stay,” Hyman said. “Joe obviously was the face of it.”

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