November 16, 2012 at 3:11 PM
In his first season at Penn State, Bill O'Brien has landed on the Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year watch list.
O'Brien has steered Penn State through unprecedented sanctions and the Nittany Lions have gone 6-4 in his first 10 games. The former New England Patriots offensive coordinator is one of 18 coaches on the watch list for the honor named after the legendary Alabama head coach.
Urban Meyer, who is in his first year at Ohio State, is the only other Big Ten coach on the list. The Buckeyes, who are also not eligible for postseason play are a perfect 10-0 and beat Penn State, 35-23, on Oct. 27.
Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno won the award in 1986 the same year he won his second national championship. Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy is the most recent recipient of the honor.
O'Brien and Penn State have a chance to guarantee a finish above the .500 mark in the 2012 campaign as the team faces Indiana on Saturday at Beaver Stadium.
The award will be presented on Jan. 17, 2013.