December 4, 2010

Early rumors, logic put Penn State in Outback Bowl

It's been floating around the past two hours or so, particularly since Auburn blew up South Carolina in the SEC title game, that Penn State will end up in the Outback Bowl this January 1.

The logic here makes sense. Penn State is a bigger name and draw overall than Iowa, which would be the Nittany Lions' next-in-line competitor for this bowl slot. Originally, the strong indicators were that the Gator Bowl would suck up Penn State, to face Florida. But that has changed a bit.

Look for Auburn to go to the BCS Championship Game, Arkansas to another BCS game, LSU to the Capital One against Michigan State, Alabama to the Cotton, South Carolina to the Outback maybe against Penn State, Florida to the Gator maybe against Michigan, and so on down the bowl list. Iowa probably go to the Insight, while Northwestern should end up in the Texas Bowl.

The important thing here is that Penn State won't fall farther down than the Gator Bowl, so the lower bowls don't/shouldn't figure into this scenario. Normally, the SEC Championship Game runner-up goes to the Capital One, but it's not a requirement. The Capital One will want a much better team to face Michigan State, and that means LSU. So South Carolina gets bumped down to the Outback, and voila!

If there is one curve ball here, it would be Florida getting the nod over South Carolina for the Outback Bowl against Penn State. I wouldn't be shocked if that happened.

But what's the biggest problem from all this?

Penn State has never beaten (Florida) or never played during the TV era (South Carolina) either of the possible teams we're looking at, which makes doing a 10 Minutes or Less Bowl Special nearly impossible without some finagling. We're feverishly working on an idea, though, promise.

The official announcement comes tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m. on the Big Ten Network, but we will surely hear much better info leaks come out well before then. After all, they're already starting tonight.

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