By Harry Allison
Penn State and Nittany Nation are headed to the desert for the holidays!
The No. 9-ranked Nittany Lions will face No. 11 Washington in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 30 at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Both Penn State (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten) and Washington (10-2, 7-2 Pac-12) are at-large selections for the New Year’s Six contest.
The Nittany Lions cap their second consecutive season of double-digit wins with another postseason battle with a PAC-12 opponent. Penn State fell 52-49 in a thrilling Rose Bowl a year ago, despite Saquon Barkley’s monster performance.
Like Penn State, the Huskies had high expectations entering the season. Led by Heisman Trophy candidate Jake Browning and 1,000-yard rusher Myles Gaskin, Washington was supposed to contend for a Pac-12 title and spot in the College Football Playoffs. The Huskies lost 24-7 in the semifinals to Alabama last year.
But Washington fell on the road at Arizona State and Stanford — nixing its chances to reach the conference title game, let alone the playoff. Still, the Huskies routed Washington State 41-14 in the Apple Cup to close the regular season slate.
Penn State is rolling, too, having defeated Maryland 66-3 to finish 10-2.
Both Penn State and Washington got to 11 wins in 2016. The Fiesta Bowl provides an opportunity for one of them to do it again.