Where will PSU go bowling?
MADISON, Wis. - The Nittany Lions now have to play the waiting game to see which bowl will want them, warts and all.
At 9-3 with a great tradition and large traveling fan base, Penn State typically would be a shoo-in for a good bowl game. But with the Jerry Sandusky scandal looming over the school and program, some bowls may not want to deal with that type of bad publicity and could opt not to invite the Lions.
Bowl matchups will be finalized next Sunday, although PSU could learn its fate before then.
"This team, these people right here had nothing to do with the reason why people wouldn't want us to go to a bowl," PSU safety Drew Astorino said. "If they want to punish these 125 players for one guy's actions 10 years ago, then we can't do anything about it."
The Capital One Bowl and Outback Bowl appear to be out of the question for the Lions, which leaves the Insight Bowl (Dec. 30 in Tempe, Ariz.) picking next. That bowl is run by the same people who run the Fiesta Bowl, which is dealing with its own scandal for financial issues and may not want the added burden of the Penn State scandal.
Next in the selection process is the Gator Bowl (Jan. 2 in Jacksonville, Fla.), which reportedly wants a matchup between Florida and Ohio State (6-6), if the Buckeyes indeed hire Urban Meyer as their next coach. Meyer wouldn't necessarily coach the team in the bowl game but likely would be present and therefore a big draw in Florida against his former team.
If the Insight and Gator pass on the Lions, next up would be the Meineke Car Care Bowl (Dec. 31 in Houston) against a Big 12 team. Beyond that, the TicketCity Bowl (Jan. 2 in Dallas against a possible Conference USA team) and the Little Caesars Bowl (Dec. 27 in Detroit against MAC team) round out the Big Ten tie-in games.
The players, Astorino said, deserve an opportunity to continue to represent Penn State with class in a bowl game.
"We handled the situation great and kept playing football at the same time," he said of the ongoing scandal.
Millen: 'We'll survive'
ESPN broadcaster Matt Millen, a former Penn State All-American in 1978, addressed the Nittany Lions after watching a midweek practice in State College last week.
Millen downplayed any motivational role, saying only, "I talked to them and reminded them who they represent" in the wake of the scandal that brought felony charges of child abuse against former Lion defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and led to the firing of Joe Paterno.
Millen said Todd Blackledge, who led Penn State to the 1982 national championship, "did the same thing a week before" when Blackledge was the TV analyst for the Ohio State game.
Millen said he's confident the Penn State program will push forward.
"I hope people don't lose sight of all the good that has gone on and continues to go on," he said. "It's just right now, you're down, [and] they want to kick you when you're down ... I've been through that before [as general manager of the Detroit Lions]. We'll survive."
Still takes on Millen
Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still must have been told about some of Millen's comments during the broadcast and apparently didn't care for them.
"Matt Millen obv knows nothing about fb," Still tweeted after the game.
Still then tweeted, "Woulda thought he was a wisconsin alum...clown."
Still was held in check for the second straight week as he had only two tackles (and 1/2 sack) after recording no tackles against Ohio State. He said he had been playing with the flu last week and, when asked if he was playing injured Saturday, said he was not.
Badger duo impressive
Wisconsin's Montee Ball had four touchdowns Saturday and now has 34 for the season, second most in NCAA history behind Barry Sanders' 39 in 1988.
"It will be a really good day if I'll get there, but I'm not really looking forward to that," said Ball, who had 156 yards on 25 carries.
Quarterback Russell Wilson had another efficient day in charge of the Badger offense, completing 19-of-29 passes for 186 yards and two TDs. He tied an NCAA record by throwing a touchdown in his 36th consecutive game.
"We have a lot of talent on offense, and Coach [Paul] Chryst does a great job of exposing the defense," Wilson said. "No matter what it is, running the football or throwing it, we can do a lot of different things."
The Badgers now get a rematch against Michigan State in the Big Ten title game. The Spartans beat Wisconsin on a Hail Mary, 37-31, on Oct. 22.
"Obviously this is the first time in Big Ten history where you get rematches," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. "When this whole format came up, everybody knew it would be a possibility. Even leaving the field against Michigan State, I think probably a lot of the guys thought to that moment [of a potential rematch]."
McGloin angry at ref's call
Matt McGloin was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when he fired the ball to the ground after a false start penalty early in the second quarter.
"I've been doing that for two years now," McGloin said. "It's a ridiculous call to make in a situation like that. I'm not going to stand there with the ball in case a defender doesn't hear and he ends up clocking me. They threw a flag, I stepped back, I just spiked the ball, it's an incomplete pass. Like I said, I've been doing it for two years, and somehow it's unsportsmanlike conduct."
Asked if he said anything to the official, McGloin replied, "I said, 'I don't know if you guys watch TV or not, but I've seen other college kids do it, I've seen it on Sundays.'"
Looking ahead for Lions
The players will get a week off with no mandatory workouts so they can get away from football and clear their heads, interim coach Tom Bradley said.
Bradley also said he will go out recruiting but noted he will give the assistant coaches the option of whether to do that or not. All of the assistants face uncertain futures in the wake of the scandal, and Bradley wants to give them time if they desire to figure out what's next for them.
News and notes
PSU RB Brandon Beachum was in a wheelchair following the game with an ankle injury. ... Penn State's best play of the day and perhaps of the season was an 89-yard run by Stephfon Green in the third quarter. But it was called back because of a chop block on tight end Kevin Haplea. ... Wisconsin LB Ethan Armstrong suffered a hip injury covering a kickoff early in the second quarter and had to be taken off the field in an ambulance. ... Wisconsin WR Nick Toon usually wears No. 1 but wore No. 87 Saturday to honor his father, Al. That was Al's number for the Badgers, and he was on hand for his son's senior day. ... There was no pregame meeting between players on both teams at midfield, as there had been the past two weeks against Nebraska and Ohio State. There was simply a coin toss at midfield with the captains.