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.)
K. John says
BigAl’s scenario has always been possible, however, it remains as unlikely as it was a few weeks ago. Now Penn State would be in far better shape if they hadn’t found ways to lose games to massively inferior teams but look at what has to happen. The Big Ten has nine guaranteed spots for ten teams. For the Big Ten to only get nine games, several things have to happen regardless of what happens in today’s championship game. The Orange Bowl is a bigger player here than either though the title games do matter.
The Big Ten can send a team to either the Orange Bowl or the Citrus Bowl as its second selection. In non-playoff years, the Orange Bowl would host the ACC champion vs. the SEC #2, Big Ten #2 or an at-large bid. Should Florida State win today, the Orange Bowl will probably not be able to select an ACC team because there will likely be no other qualifier from that conference. The Big Ten can send a maximum of 5 teams to the Orange Bowl over the next 12 years. The same goes for the SEC but each conference is guaranteed 3. That is a whole lot of unknowns. Regardless, for a Big Ten team to sit out, the Orange Bowl would have to select a Big Ten team and it doesn’t have to.
Should everything line up in such a way that a Big Ten team sits out this off season, it will come down to Penn State and Illinois. The Big Ten still believes it is in its rights to withhold Penn State bowl payout. This is both irresponsible and foolish with the way things are going in the courts but I digress. Given that several bowls have been lobbying the Big Ten for Penn State ahead of the three 7 win teams and Illinois’ inability to draw for a bowl game, even in the rare instance when they are good, it throws another incentive.
At the end of the day, I fully expect Wisconsin to win and when you look at the pool of teams available I think it is highly likely that the Big Ten will be unable to supply enough teams to fill its obligations with Oregon, Alabama, TCU/Baylor and Florida State participating in the playoff. Because there are not a lot of eligible teams to fill the Orange, Cotton, Fiesta and Peach Bowls and should Wisconsin win, I expect the Badgers, Buckeyes and Spartans to fill three of those eight spots.
K. John says
It is being widely reported that Penn State held its first bowl practice today.