By Sam Bush
Penn State’s unbelievable, last-second loss to Illinois Saturday lowers the Nits’ record to 6-5 and narrows their bowl possibilities.
But they still have an excellent chance of going bowling this year, even if their season finale against Michigan State. Because of Penn State’s massive fan base, there will be plenty of bowl games happy to extend an invite.
Here are three options:
Quick Lane Bowl (Big 10 vs ACC)
Fri., Dec. 26, 4:30 p.m. ET
Ford Field, Detroit, MI
This is a low-to-mid-tier bowl in Big 10 country, and they’ll probably end up with either Michigan or Penn State representing the B1G against Virginia Tech, Boston College or Miami (Fl.). The Penn State – Miami matchup is probably the most interesting, and would feature PSU alum and former coaching candidate Al Golden taking on James Franklin’s Nittany Lions.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl (ACC/Notre Dame vs. Big Ten)
Sat., Dec. 27, 4:30 p.m. ET
Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
This is the one that many Penn State fans circled on their calendars at the moment they found out the Lions would be bowl-eligible. New York has a huge concentration of Penn State alumni, and the organizers know that the Nittany Lions are probably their best catch from a commercial standpoint. This would be the perfect opportunity for a matchup with Syracuse, but the Orange are 3-7 and won’t be bowling this year. Again, Boston College, Virginia Tech, and Miami (Fl.) are all in the running, but Louisville is also a possible opponent here.
All things considered, this is the most likely bowl destination for Penn State.
Foster Farms Bowl, Big Ten vs. Pac-12
Tue., Dec. 30, 10:00 p.m. ET
Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
The loss to Illinois may ace Penn State out of this bid. The 2009 Rose Bowl proved that PSU fans travel in droves to the West Coast. Cal, Utah, and Washington are all possibilities, but local favorites Stanford would make for the most interesting matchup.