New Year’s Six Bowl Still A Possibility For Penn State Football
It appeared unlikely after the blowout at Michigan, but Penn State football could reach the premier slate of bowl games once again. The Nittany Lions landed back in the New Year’s Six column for a few different post-week 11 bowl projections.
Penn State slotted in at No. 14 in the College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday evening, so the team is on the cusp of a New Year’s Six bid. Many of the squads ahead of the Nittany Lions are entering tough stretches in their schedules, so it’s become a very realistic possibility for Penn State to reach a third straight NY6 game.
Here’s a look at what the experts are saying with just two games left in the regular season:
ESPN: Fiesta Bowl vs. West Virginia or UCF
How about a return trip to Glendale, Arizona?
The Fiesta Bowl is one of the prestige postseason destinations, and Penn State has never lost in it. With a win as recently as last year against Washington, a different location would be nice, but the Nittany Lions would certainly prefer going back here for a New Year’s Six game over playing in something like the Cheez-It bowl. No disrespect to the cheesy snacks we all know and love.
The Athletic: Peach Bowl vs. West Virginia
This is probably the dream situation, as it offers a New Year’s Six outcome against an intriguing opponent in a bowl game Penn State has never once appeared in.
Played in Atlanta, this would be the first time Penn State and West Virginia have met since 1992 and would serve as a preview of their upcoming home and home beginning in 2023. The quarterback matchup of Will Grier against Trace McSorley in each of their final collegiate appearances would also be a fascinating storyline.
SBNation: Citrus Bowl vs. Kentucky
Although they increased their chances at a New Year’s Six bowl this past weekend, there is still a solid chance the Nittany Lions come up just short. A popular pick last week, the Citrus Bowl would be a decent outcome for Penn State.
Facing off against a typically weak football program in Kentucky wouldn’t create the big conference-crossover hype that a bowl game can offer, but the Wildcats have had a strong year in the SEC and Orlando would be a good location.
CBS Sports: Citrus Bowl vs. Kentucky
247 Sports: TaxSlayer Bowl vs. Texas A&M
Two of the strongest fanbases in college football would make this New Year’s Eve game in Jacksonville interesting, but it’s hard to believe the Nittany Lions would end up in the TaxSlayer Bowl if they win out.
Texas A&M is likely to finish with five losses and unranked, so it might not be the most intriguing option for a Penn State team that could finish within the top 12.
Bleacher Report: Outback Bowl vs. Mississippi State
Bleacher Report kept the same exact pick as last week, and although it appears unlikely this actually happens, it’d sure be an interesting matchup between James Franklin and his former offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead.
My proposal for Moorhead from last week still stands: If Penn State wins, JoeMo returns as offensive coordinator. No hard feelings.
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About the Author
Barkley discussed a number of topics — including his cameo at this year’s Met Gala and progress towards earning his Penn State degree — following his youth football camp in Happy Valley.
Stevens will reunite with Joe Moorhead, Penn State’s offensive coordinator during the two best statistical seasons of the quarterback’s career.
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