Any sliver of hope Penn State had left to reach the Big Ten Championship or College Football Playoff was destroyed in last weekend’s loss to Michigan.
With a minimum three-loss regular season now secured, the odds at a third-straight New Year’s Six Bowl are also looking slim. With that in mind, here are the current probably destinations and matchups for Penn State this bowl season, according to the experts:
Sports Illustrated: Citrus Bowl vs. Auburn
Although not considered a New Year’s Six Bowl, the Citrus Bowl is played at 1 p.m. on New Year’s Day in Orlando. Given the disappointments of this season for the Nittany Lions, this is a pretty solid outcome. A big-time SEC opponent in a fairly large bowl game would give Penn State an opportunity to make a statement and be a nice final match-up for seniors like Trace McSorley.
This game would also serve as a nice preview for the 2021 matchup in Beaver Stadium between the two programs.
The Athletic: Citrus Bowl vs. Florida
The Athletic also projects Penn State making a trip to the Sunshine State for the Citrus Bowl to take on an SEC powerhouse. This would also serve as a tremendous opportunity for the Nittany Lions to claim some momentum heading into the offseason with a win over Florida in their own state.
SBNation: Citrus Bowl vs. Florida
I’m starting to sense a trend here…
247 Sports: TaxSlayer Bowl vs. South Carolina
Somebody finally strayed away from the Citrus Bowl! Played on New Year’s Eve, this would be a solid opprotunity for Trace McSorley and the Nittany Lions to finish their season. Although a step down from the Citrus Bowl, there are worse things then a game in Jacksonville against a strong SEC team on December 31.
Penn State last made a trip to the TaxSlayer Bowl after the 2015 season. That game ended in a loss to Georgia, but it was the first time Trace McSorley received extended playing time in his collegiate career.
Bleacher Report: Outback Bowl vs. Mississippi State
Now THIS would be interesting — James Franklin vs. Joe Moorhead in what would be a fascinating matchup between Franklin and the former Penn State offensive coordinator.
The two are still friendly, but this would give Moorhead a chance to take down his former boss in what would surely cause plenty of debate for the Penn State faithful.
My proposal: If this actually happens and Penn State wins, JoeMo comes back to Penn State as offensive coordinator. Deal?
ESPN: Citrus Bowl vs. Kentucky or Mississippi State
Why not wrap this up with another major outlet picking Penn State for the Citrus Bowl?
ESPN’s Mitch Sherman also thinks the Nittany Lions will take on Joe Moorhead’s program, but Kyle Bonagura predicted an interesting potential matchup for Penn State. Kentucky quietly emerged as a top 10 program and potential SEC East winner, but a loss to Georgia secured the Bulldogs’ spot in the conference championship game against No. 1 Alabama.
The Wildcats fell to No. 11 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings after their 34-17 home loss to Georgia, so putting them outside of a New Year’s Six game might be a bit harsh. Led by 1,000-yard rusher Benjamin Snell, Jr. and a stout defense, Kentucky should be able to earn a New Year’s Six bid if it runs the table.
Please choose an option below.