On Sunday the Penn State Nittany Lion football team was invited to the The Ticket City Bowl in Dallas, TX to take on the Houston Cougars. But instead of celebrating the Nittany Lion players expressed consternation.
"We feel a little disappointed (that) we got passed up by some teams we beat in the Big Ten," said Penn State safety Drew Asterino on the Big Ten Network (h/t pennlive.com). Are the Nittany Lion players and their administration really pompous enough to believe that this perceived slight has anything to do with how the team performed on the field?
The stigma attached to this team is hard for any bowl selection committee to overcome. After all, it was at bowl games where former Penn State defensive coordinator and alleged child molester Jerry Sandusky cornered his victims, young boys hand-picked from Sandusky's Second Mile charity who were brought along just to satisfy his warped appetites.
Penn State may have defeated some teams in the Big Ten who were maybe selected to a slightly better bowl in their eyes. But these programs are not submerged in the stinking muck of perhaps the biggest child molestation scandal in American history.
Can't Asterino and his teammates see past themselves?
There has been talk, realistic talk of a bowl bid not being extended to the Nittany Lions at all, and even more talk of them doing the right thing by not accepting one. Asterino and his teammates should be overjoyed that they're not spending New Year's on their own snow-covered campus.
There has also been talk of the dreaded death penalty. In fairness, the big wigs at Happy Valley made a large donation to sexual abuse charities, which was a baby step in the right direction.
As for Asterino and his teammates, they had better forget about the teams they have already beaten and try to prepare for the tall task of tackling Houston's Heisman Trophy-caliber quarterback Case Keenum and friends, a team that is still stinging from a 49-28 loss to Southern Miss in the Conference USA championship game, the only game that they dropped all season.
Bowl games are largely about "want to" and which team shows up to play. Teams who are complaining about their destinations do not have their minds right and are often dominated in these contests.
The Nittany Lion players have obviously not been keeping up with the headlines surrounding their own program. They may have even more trouble keeping up with Keenum and his capable receivers on the scoreboard, especially with an offense which is ranked 110th in Division I-FCS and a defense which was recently exposed by Wisconsin in a 45-7 manhandling.