Bowl destiny is on the horizon
Penn State probably won’t be playing Pitt in a bowl game, but it could wind up against another old rival when the bowl selections are announced today.
The Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 27 at Yankee Stadium in New York appears to be the most likely destination for the Nittany Lions (6-6). One of the strong possibilities for an opponent is Boston College, as the bowl pits a Big Ten team versus an ACC foe.
The Eagles would make sense from a geographic standpoint for the Pinstripe Bowl, just as PSU would, and a matchup between the two traditional Eastern rivals would give the game added appeal.
Boston College (7-5) has wins over USC and Virginia Tech on its resume, plus a three-point loss at Florida State. It also lost to Pitt.
If the Lions do go to New York, another strong possible opponent is Duke. The Blue Devils (9-3) have a win over Georgia Tech on their resume.
It’s not a slam dunk that Penn State will be going to the Pinstripe Bowl.
In recent days, there has been increased speculation that the Taxslayer Bowl (formerly the Gator) on Jan. 2 in Jacksonville, Fla., could be interested in Penn State.
The Lions haven’t been to a bowl game in two years, which could be even more incentive for fans to travel to a destination such as Jacksonville. Penn State fans have always traveled well to bowls, which would be a consideration for the Taxslayer or any game.
The Taxslayer Bowl pits an SEC team against an opponent from either the Big Ten or the ACC. It’s also a better bowl than the Pinstripe, which would mean a big step up in competition.
Potential opponents in the Taxslayer include Auburn and LSU, either of which would serve as a major challenge to the Lions.
Auburn is 8-4, at one point was ranked in the top five and has wins over Ole Miss and LSU. It also gave Alabama a tough game before losing, 55-44.
LSU is 8-4 with wins over Wisconsin and Ole Miss, plus a 20-13 overtime loss to Alabama.
The Foster Farms Bowl on Dec. 30 in Santa Clara, Calif., is another possibility. That game is at 10 p.m. EST, and the opponent would be from the Pac-12, such as USC (8-4) or Stanford (7-5).
The Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 26 in Detroit is the only possibility for a PSU-Pitt matchup. If Penn State does slip that far in the selection process, it would be tough for the Quick Lane to bypass the allure of pitting the Lions against the Panthers.