Bowl Game Projections: Where Will Penn State End Up?
There’s no doubt that the culmination of Penn State’s season was disappointing, but that is no reason to minimize the team’s accomplishments this season. The Nittany Lions finished the season with a solid 9-3 record, won in the Horseshoe, and shared the first Leaders Division title with Wisconsin.
Penn State is bowl game eligible for the 44th time in program history, and they’ll be seeking their 28th bowl win. The Nittany Lions’ matchup will be announced Sunday at 8:45 PM, and here is a rundown of the Lions’ potential bowl destinations:
- Bowl Game: Insight Bowl
Date: Friday December 30
Time: 10 p.m. ET
Location: Tempe, Arizona
Opponent: Big 12 Team
The Insight Bowl seems like a likely bowl destination for the Lions as it squares off a non-BCS qualifying Big Ten team against a Big 12 opponent. Possible opponents for the Big Ten squad selected include Baylor, Texas, or Missouri. It’d definitely be intriguing to see the PSU defense attempt to contain Baylor’s dynamic Heisman Trophy candidate Robert Griffin III, or even to see the Lions take on the Longhorns for the first time in 15 years. If I had to guess, this is where Penn State ends up.
- Bowl Game: Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl
Date: Saturday December 31
Time: Noon ET
Location: Houston, Texas
Opponent: Big 12 Team
This ridiculously named bowl game is not a game Penn State deserves to participate in. The game is supposed to involve a mediocre Big Ten team against a lower-level Big 12 team. As the co-champion of the Leaders division, Penn State is better than average, but other bowl games may shy away from the Nittany Lions amidst the ongoing Jerry Sandusky saga. It would be undeserved, but not entirely surprising to see the Lions slip to the Meineke Car Care of whatever Bowl. Possible opponents include Texas, Texas A&M or Iowa State.
- Bowl Game: Gator Bowl
Date: Monday January 2
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Opponent: SEC Team
The Gator Bowl is one of the oldest and most historic bowl games in college football, pitting the Big Ten’s 4th or 5th place finisher with the 6th placed SEC team. The Gator Bowl seems like a game that would shy away from the now-troubled image of Penn State. This bowl game would be the most accessible for any PSU fans hoping to make the trip, but internet rumblings seem to indicate that Ohio State is headed to Jacksonville to face Florida. Other possible SEC opponents include Auburn and Vanderbilt.
- Other possibilities:
TicketCity Bowl (Big Ten vs. Conference USA/Big 12 team) in Dallas, TX on January 2
Outback Bowl (Big Ten vs. SEC team) in Tampa, Fla. on January 2