Onward Debate: Where Do We Want To See Penn State Go Bowling?
Penn State has quite a few options for where it’ll go bowling this winter. Sure, the Pinstripe Bowl is the favorite, but so many factors go into the selection that the Nittany Lions could end up anywhere. Our staff argued which of those destinations is most preferable in the latest Onward Debate.
David Abruzzese: TaxSlayer Bowl
If I were to side with any specific bowl game, I’d have to go with the TaxSlayer Bowl for a number of reasons.
First off, the game is played in Florida, where the sun will be shining and you won’t succumb to frostbite sitting in the stands, because odds are the temperature will hover around the mid-70s.
The game’s venue, Everbank Field (home to the Jacksonville Jaguars), is fully renovated, and boasts plenty of fan-friendly amenities that would bolster the viewing experience. One of those amenities includes a pool, located in the upper deck of the stadium. I’m going to repeat that one more time —a pool. That means, you and your friends can get drunk, go swimming, and watch a football game all at the same time!
The game is affiliated with the SEC, which means fans will get to see the Nittany Lions take on a notable opponent. In this case, the opponent would most likely be Arkansas, as the Razorbacks currently sit alongside Penn State at 6-6. There is bound to be plenty of excitement, with both teams matching up reasonably well. Past Big Ten-SEC matchups have been fun to watch, and have given us moments like Jadeveon Clowney’s annihilation of Michigan’s Vincent Smith. I personally would love to see Penn State’s dominant defense match up against Arkansas’ massive offensive line, because I’m sure the Razorbacks would offer a stiff final test for a Nittany Lion team that struggled down the stretch.
The game will be played the day after New Year’s, which would make traveling a bit tough. However, a New Year’s celebration in Florida followed up with some Penn State football sounds like a damn fine vacation to me.
There’s only one real downside to this game, and it’s that last season’s game was announced by the legendary crew of Mike Patrick and Ed Cunningham, two names that should ring a bell. They aren’t locks to call this game, but the possibility is there. Hell, with Penn State’s luck this season, Dave Witvoet will probably be assigned this game too.
While some of the other bowl games have plenty to offer, the TaxSlayer bowl would have to be my destination of choice for Penn State this postseason.
Alex Robinson: Quick Lane Bowl
Yes, I know that Detroit is probably the least glamorous spot on the list, but the combination of location and price makes it the most desirable bowl location out of the five possibilities.
Let’s start by eliminating the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, the Music City Bowl in Nashville, and the Foster Farms Bowl in San Francisco. While they’re all in great locations, they’re just too far away and too expensive for the average fan to travel to. That leaves us with just the Pinstripe Bowl in New York City, and the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit.
While I love New York City, the game will be played in Yankee Stadium. That is a *baseball* stadium. While many teams have played in the “House That Jeter Built,” it certainly doesn’t measure up to a traditional stadium designed for football. Also, the game is scheduled to be played on December 28. I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but one of the biggest New Year’s Eve celebrations in the world casually takes place in New York just three days later. The entire city will be more packed with tourists than it usually is, and the prices will be through the roof for every hotel and restaurant. Not to mention, it will most likely be snowing in New York at that point. I love watching the Nittany Lions, but I do not love being in the cold and snow for 4+ hours.
Detroit, on the other hand, will not be anywhere near as crowded as New York. It will be cheaper, because everything in Michigan is cheap as hell. And perhaps most importantly, the game will be played in the warm confines of Ford Field, the domed stadium that is the home of the Detroit Lions. If I’m going to watch a football game in late December, I’d much rather have it be indoors, where the temperature is controlled and the snowy weather won’t affect the outcome of the game. Also, the game is only six hours from Happy Valley, and just a four-hour trip from Pittsburgh, where a huge group of alumni live. Those are certainly one-day drives for most fans.
I’ll be happy watching Penn State play in a bowl, no matter where the game is. It would just be most convenient for all parties involved if the game was in Detroit.
Tim Gilbert: Pinstripe Bowl
Someone has to like it, right?
The consensus from Penn State Twitter since we’ve started sucking is that the Pinstripe Bowl is one of our most undesirable options, but I’m just not seeing it. I ask you — how many times will you get the chance to see your favorite team play in a world famous baseball stadium? While some may not appreciate the aesthetics, a glorified exhibition such as a lower-tier bowl should have some novelty involved. Perhaps it’s because I’m a baseball nut, but the venue alone makes the Pinstripe Bowl the best option for me.
Of course, that’s not the length of this bowl’s appeal. It’s in New York, a city within very reasonable driving distance of many hotbeds of Penn State alumni. And, you know, it’s New York, the capital of the world. It might not have the weather some other locations do, but we should want our postseason game to be played in the biggest venue of them all. Traffic and bustle shouldn’t deter fans from a chance like this.
I could find a host of other reasons, like “we actually deserve this bowl,” and “Notre Dame might make this one,” but here’s the real thing of it all — I am a broke-as-shit college senior, who really just wants to see Penn State play in a bowl game one time in my Penn State career. The only option for this to happen is New York, due to free lodging and cheap travel. I don’t often root for New York in anything, but just this once, I can make the exception.
CJ Doon: Music City Bowl
Played at LP Field in Nashville, Tn., home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, the Music City Bowl presents a unique and fun atmosphere for both the players and fans. I’ve worked at Vanderbilt University the past two summers, and although I didn’t have a ton of free time on my hands, I was able to explore my fair share of the city. For those of you Nittany Lion fans out there who have yet to venture below the Mason-Dixon line, Nashville is a growing city filled with promise and a boatload of good food, good people, and good ol’ fashioned southern hospitality. There are tons of great bars and local watering holes scattered throughout the city, and the historic Honky Tonks on Broadway are a must-see. There’s also some of the best live music, karaoke, and dueling piano bars to keep you thoroughly entertained throughout the evening, and cheap concerts to boot. In the days and hours leading up to the game, Centennial Park is a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown, featuring a full-scale replica of The Parthenon, complete with a re-creation of the 42-foot statue of the Greek goddess Athena. Hillsboro Village, a small shopping district located near Vanderbilt and Belmont University, is home to a number of outstanding shops and restaurants, including breakfast hot-spot The Pancake Pantry. The Frist Center for Visual Arts, Country Music Hall of Fame, and Bridgestone Arena (home to the NHL’s Nashville Predators) also make for exciting stops on your tour of the city. Not to mention, the temperature will hover around 50 degrees in late December with lows in the 30s, a welcome reprieve from the bitter cold of State College, Detroit, and New York City.
Along with being a fun destination for those lucky enough to see the team’s first bowl game since 2011, James Franklin would make his return to the city he worked in for three years as the head coach at Vanderbilt. Franklin coached the Commodores to a 38-24 win over N.C. State in the 2012 Music City Bowl, the program’s first ever back-to-back bowl game appearance and first 9-win season since 1915. Although many Vandy fans aren’t pleased with Franklin’s decision to leave the team and take some of his recruits with him, watching him make his return to his old stomping grounds would be an interesting subplot to go along with Penn State’s matchup against an SEC opponent.