With one game remaining in the regular season, at this point every Penn State fan has one thing on their mind, and that is what bowl game will their Nittany Lions end up. When the season begins, every college football team has the same goal, and that is to make a BCS bowl game.
At the start of the season, this seemed almost certain, and Penn State even had their eyes on the BCS title game. However after two disappointing loses, we watched our hopes of a BCS bowl game fade away, or at least we thought.
For those who aren’t quite sure what the BCS is, it stands for Bowl Championship Series. There are four BCS bowl games, and the national championship. The four games are the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and Fiesta Bowl. A rankings system is put into effect to figure who is eligible to make these bowl games.
The top two teams in the rankings go to the National Championship. After that, the six major conferences get automatic bids to their conference champion. The conferences are the Big Ten, Big Twelve, Big East, SEC, ACC, and Pac-10.
After those are given, there are four spots left and those are chosen by the bowl committees, these are called “at-large” bids. To be eligible for an at-large bid, you must finish inside the top 14 of the final BCS rankings. Also, only two teams can be selected from each conference.
This Saturday Penn State takes on the Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing at 3:30. First things first, Penn State must win this game before any BCS talk can even begin. Right now Penn State ranks 14th in the BCS, if they win this game they are all but certain to finish in the needed top 14.
There have been rumors circulating that the Orange Bowl committee is choosing Penn State regardless of any other team as long as they finish in the top 14. They feel they have had terrible matchups in the past that have not generated them much money or TV viewers. The last two Orange Bowls were Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati, and Virginia Tech vs. Kansas.
The Orange Bowl committee is sick of the poor matchups with teams the country is not that interested in. Since Penn State has such a huge following, and travels so well, they know by selecting the Nittany Lions that won’t be the case this year.
There was speculation that they said no matter who is ranked ahead of them and who might have been more deserving they would still take Penn State. Time will tell if these will happen or not, but it is rather interesting.
I think this really shows a lot for our program if we get selected over other teams just for revenue purposes. I am by no means saying this is right, as I think it is very unfair. The idea that Iowa, who beat us, can be ranked ahead of us but we still make a better bowl game is extremely unfair, and I couldn’t even imagine how I’d feel if I was on the other side of this.
However, these bowl games are a business, and they want to make money. Far or not fair, it seems at times money trumps everything. I feel it is a compliment if we get chosen, and shows us how much respect our program has, although I do not feel it is right.
On another note, this weeks game vs. Michigan State brings about the annual blood drive were the two schools compete against each other. The blood drive has been going on since 1994, and Penn State is 11-5 over the 16 year period. Over that time, the schools have selected 53,000 units of blood! I think this is a great tradition for a great cause and it will be good to see it go on in the future.