As you’re probably aware, Penn State, although bowl eligible, might not be bowl bound if the stars don’t align properly and the Feng Shui is incorrect and the Creeks don’t rise, etc. There might not be enough Big Ten bowl slots to accommodate all the eligible teams. Penn State, with a 6-6 record and having lost to the other 6-6 team, Illinois, is on the bubble.
Overall, there are 76 slots for 80 bowl-eligible teams. Something’s gotta give.
Senior Turkey reader Big Al has been waxing poetic for quite some time now about the notion that the Nittany Lions could miss out. Many of us, especially the Sanguinarians, disputed Al’s scenarios. The thought of anyone passing up the Nittany Lions in favor of Illinois or Rutgers stuck in their craw. The bowl people would be cutting off their noses to spite their faces. Nevertheless, here we are — and the possibility of PSU missing out on the Toilet Bowl is a real one.
It is for that reason that we all must become Wisconsin fans for this weekend. Ohio State capitulating to the Badgers in the Big Ten championship game Saturday night is one condition for easing the bowl shortfall as it would impact Penn State. That way, Michigan State. Ohio State, and Wisconsin might all be heading to the major bowls, freeing up a crappy bowl slot for PSU.
It’s all a complicated mess. Of course, this is happening in the name of progress as the College Football Playoff takes effect this year.
What was thought to be the case earlier — that the Big Ten would meddle with the bowl selections — has been denied by Mark Rudner, senior associate commissioner for television administration. Of course, he left the door open via the other side of his mouth by saying: “Unless a contract bowl selects a team that is over-exposed because of recent trips to the same bowl or same region, we will not interfere with the bowl’s selection.” Yeah, right. They do and they don’t.
But those kind of machinations could only benefit Penn State, which hasn’t been to a bowl since 2011, and thus cannot be “over-exposed because of recent trips to the same bowl”.
So, anyhow, a trip to the Toilet Bowl for Penn State seems highly contingent upon the results of this weekend’s championship games, particularly the Wisconsin vs Ohio State game and the Alabama vs. Missouri game.
We’ll all know on Sunday when the selections occur. In the meanwhile, hold tight and ON WISCONSIN!
(This gives me an opportunity to point you to this site.)