The Arizona Republic, a newspaper based out of Phoenix, had been running the 64-coach tournament for more than a month. Paterno, a No. 3 seed, also defeated Mack Brown (Texas), Frank Kush (Arizona State), John Gagliardi (St. John’s), Barry Alvarez (Wisconsin) and Duffy Daugherty (Michigan State) on the way to the title.
The newspaper reported more than 327,125 votes were cast, and there were quite a few surprises. Eastern Kentucky's Roy Kidd upset Alabama/Texas A&M coach Paul "Bear" Bryant in the first round, Carson-Newman's Ken Sparks defeated Florida State's Bobby Bowden, Southern's Ace Mumford knocked off Oklahoma's Bud Wilkinson and Baylor's Grant Teaff upset Ohio State's Woody Hayes.
Penn State has a reputation for doing well in online polls, mainly because of its large alumni base. According to the latest data provided by the Penn State Alumni Association, more than 4,100 alumni live in Arizona. Add in the power of social media to connect people from all over the planet, too.
At a Faculty Senate meeting in 2009, former Penn State President Graham Spanier discussed that reputation in light of being named the No. 1 party school by the Princeton Review.
“It's not like somebody came in here and did an assessment of the place,” Spanier said, according to a transcript from This American Life. “It's an online, web-based thing. And whenever there's an online, web-based thing, Penn State always wins.”