I grew up in PA and was a Penn State fan before I was a Michigan fan.
As somebody who wants what is in Penn State's best interest, I would rather see them take a year off, "reboot" the program, and start over clean, rather than the scholarship limits and bowl bans.
On paper, it may seem like they got away with a lesser punishment, but I don't think so. With the scholarship limits and bowl bans over four years, it just drags the program through the mud for a long time, and in a diminished capacity. It emerges stained and bruised with no clean separation from the past.
A self-imposed year off would benefit everyone. It gives time to reflect on what went wrong and what the program should be. It can then come back clean, reorganized and refocused, and stronger for it.
Penn State is not SMU. SMU had to buy the only success it ever had. Given its status as the only major D1 program in talent rich PA (sorry Pitt), Penn State will always be successful. A year off will let them return to that success the right way.