Rose Bowl No.5 USC vs No.6 Penn State

PASADENA — Pete Carroll is leaving the practice field wearing a gray sweatshirt, khakis, athletic shoes.

Joe Paterno is headed to the practice field wearing a gray sweatshirt, khakis, athletic shoes.

One difference. The cuffs.

True to his legend, even on a stroll through a hotel lobby when next to nobody is watching, Paterno's cuffs are rolled up above his shoes, the quintessential 1920s hipster.

Says Carroll: "I love those cuffs, I really love them. I roll my pants up sometimes for the team, we all have fun with it, it's a classic, Joe is a classic, those cuffs are the greatest."

Says Paterno: "He loves my what?"

Pete Carroll is talking in quick, cool bursts.

"Joe is remarkable, simply remarkable. To be that tough for so long, to endure so much, to stay in one place and keep winning, he's a once-in-a-lifetime coach."

Joe Paterno is talking in quick, antique bursts.

"Pete, boy, he's not only a great recruiter, but he knows what to do with the players once he gets them. That kid is quite a coach."

That kid is, um, 57 years old.

"At this stage of my life, pretty much everyone is a kid."

For the guys running the show in today's Rose Bowl, it's more than a football game, it's a fable.

Call it "Coaches in Wonderland."

Or, "Pete Through The Horn-Rimmed Glasses."

On one sideline will be perhaps the best college football coach of our generation.

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