Where Will the Lions Go Bowling?

We take a look at the Big Ten postseason tie-ins and rate Penn State's chances of landing in particular games.

1. Rose Bowl vs. Pac 12 (Oregon)
5 p.m., Jan. 2; Pasadena, Calif.; ABC

The Lowdown: Penn State did not qualify for this bowl. This is Wisconsin vs. Oregon.
Chances: 0 percent

1b. Big Ten Second Spot in BCS

The Lowdown: Penn State did not qualify for a BCS Game. Michigan will get this nod and will likely land in the Sugar Bowl.
Chances: 0 percent

2. Capital One Bowl vs. SEC
1 p.m., Jan. 2; Orlando; ABC

The Lowdown: Family friendly Orlando wants no part of the scandal at Penn State. Big Ten newcomer Nebraska has not been to this bowl since 1990, two years before the then-Citrus Bowl signed long-term deals to match Big Ten and SEC opponents.
Chances: 0 percent

3. Outback Bowl vs. SEC
1 p.m. Jan. 2; Tampa; ESPN

The Lowdown: The Outback has a built-in excuse for not picking Penn State -- the Lions were there last year. So even without the scandal, the folks in Tampa probably would have gone with the loser of the Big Ten's first championship game (Michigan State).
Chances: 0 percent

4. Insight Bowl vs. Big 12
10 p.m.; Dec. 30; Tempe, Ariz.; ESPN

The Lowdown: If we are to believe that a back-room deal has been brokered to pit Ohio State vs. Florida in the Urban Meyer … er … Gator Bowl, the Insight will have an interesting decision to make. Take 7-5 Iowa, which was there last year and has lost three of its last five games. Or take 9-3 Penn State, which is sure to boost the bowl's poor TV ratings of late (ratings were “up” to 2.24 last year, but only because the bowl moved from NFL Network to ESPN). The Nittany Lions also have a strong history at Sun Devil Stadium, sporting a perfect 6-0 record in the Fiesta Bowl (which has moved to Phoenix's NFL Stadium). The problem for Penn State is that the Insight Bowl is run by the same people who run the Fiesta Bowl. And they've been dealing with a scandal of their own, as organizers have been accused of misusing bowl funds. From a pure football perspective, this would seem to be a spot where a classic matchup between an outstanding offensive team (Baylor) and a strong defensive team (Penn State) would be a natural.
Chances: 43 percent

5. Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl vs. Big 12
1 p.m., Jan. 2; Jacksonville, Fla.; ESPN 2

The Lowdown: Any shot PSU had of going to this bowl likely went out the window when Meyer was named the new head coach at Ohio State. Though the former Florida mentor will not coach in the bowl, matching the Buckeyes and nearby UF is a no-brainer for the folks in Jacksonville. The Gator Bowl, which goes head-to-head-to-head with the Cap One and Outback (who thought that was a good idea?) had a terrible rating of 1.71 last year. Penn State vs. anyone would have doubled that and more. But Ohio State-Florida will, too.
Chances: 1.5 percent

6. Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas vs. Big 12
Noon, Dec. 31; Houston; ESPN

The Lowdown: There is little chance Penn State slips below this bowl. In its five-year history (formerly known as the Texas Bowl -- Meineke is a new sponsor this year), it has never featured a powerhouse program such as PSU. This year, it could possibly pair the Nittany Lions with another traditional power in Texas. And even if Texas does not fall this far, another extremely attractive opponent would be Texas A&M, which will be playing its last game as a member of the Big 12. The Lions and Aggies set a record for attendance in the nearby Alamo Bowl in 2007 (66,166).
Chances: 47 percent

7. TicketCity Bowl vs. C-USA
Noon, Jan. 2; Dallas; ESPNU

The Lowdown: To fall this far, the MCCB of Texas would have to take a lower profile 6-6 team over Penn State (Illinois, Northwestern or Purdue). The Nittany Lions beat all three teams head-to-head. But that really does not matter. None will generate the sort of TV ratings PSU will. Expect the Boilermakers to get the nod here.
Chances: 7.6 percent

8. Little Caesars Pizza Bowl vs. MAC
4:30 p.m. Dec. 27; Detroit; ESPN

The Lowdown: If you had your heart set on spending the holidays in Detroit, forget about it. This will be Northwestern, which won four of its last five (as opposed to Illinois, which has dropped six straight ).
Chances: .9 percent

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