Bye-Bye, Bye; Lions Will Play This Week

Penn State and Minnesota will play at the Metrodome as scheduled this weekend. The final day of the major league baseball season broke just the right way to prevent the game from having to be rescheduled for late November.

It turns out the Penn State football program will not get a bye week during the 2006 schedule, after all. And the Nittany Lions have major league baseball's Kansas City Royals, of all people, to thank for the schedule staying as is.

Here is why: When the Royals beat Detroit 10-8 in 12 innings Sunday afternoon, it knocked the Tigers into second place in the American League Central with a 95-67 record on the final day of the regular season. Detroit entered the playoffs as a wild-card entry.

That's because the Minnesota Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 5-1 to finish 96-66 and claim the AL Central crown.

The scenarios were complicated heading into the day. But this was the bottom line: Had Detroit won and/or Minnesota lost Sunday, the Twins would have been the wild-card team. They would have played host to the New York Yankees this Saturday in the Metrodome, forcing the Penn State-Minnesota NCAA football game scheduled for the same day to be bumped to Nov. 25.

Instead, the Twins grabbed the division crown. They will travel to Oakland this weekend, leaving the Metrodome open for the Golden Gophers and Nittany Lions to have at it.

One train of thought said a bye week would have helped PSU, because it would have allowed extra time to prepare for an Oct. 14 home date with Big Ten power Michigan. The sixth-ranked Wolverines (5-0) face rival Michigan State in the Big House this weekend.

But after beating Northwestern 33-7 to improve to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten Saturday, most of the Nittany Lions wanted to face Minnesota (2-3, 0-2) this week to keep the momentum rolling.

“I would just love to play,” senior captain Paul Posluszny said. “We have something good going right now; we just need to keep playing.”

“I really don't want to have to play on Thanksgiving [weekend],” added Jay Alford. “But if it happens, we have to go.”

They both got their wish.

The Golden Gophers fell to Michigan at the Metrodome (28-14) Saturday.

This weekend's game will kick off at noon. Television coverage will be announced Monday.

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