1) I think PSU, like Michigan, has had a bad time of it in the 2000s. 9-4 isn't a good record for a school wanting to be a National Power. 12-1, 13-0 are good records, 11-2 are neutral, and less is going backwards.
If you want to be a Top 10 program, you can't have 4 losses or even 3 and maybe not even 2.
2) I don't think the PSU job will be toxic. What will happen is that PSU will lose a lot of money in litigation and there will be weeks where the National Press is in town. The second will be a problem for a new coach, the first is a problem for the college itself.
3) Can I throw Jim Tressel into the pot as a name?