Paterno defends 'good friend' Bowden

CHICAGO - Stealing the headlines at Monday's Big Ten Media Days, Penn State head coach Joe Paterno called the NCAA's decision to vacate a number of Bobby Bowden's career wins "ridiculous" and said they made him "a scapegoat for some things that went on at Florida State."

"Bobby is a good friend of mine," Paterno said. "I think it's ridiculous that the NCAA would take wins away from him personally. But I think that Bobby played with what he had and he won games with what he had, and I don't think there's any reason for anybody to say, hey, you're not entitled to have that win on your record."

Paterno and Bowden have been in a long battle for the most career wins in college football. Currently, Paterno has 383 career wins, which is just one more than Bowden. However, the NCAA is threatening to vacate up to 14 of Bowden's wins as punishment for an academic cheating scandal involving athletes at Florida State.

"I'm not interested in who wins the most games," Paterno said. "I'm just interested in what I've got to get done from my end of it ... If it turns out he's got more wins when he retires than I have when I retire, so be it. Why the big fuss about it?"

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