The Nittany Lions are not in the BCS mix, and instead will head to Orlando to take on LSU in the Capital One Bowl on New Year's Day. The Tigers went 9-3 overall during the regular season, their 5-3 record in the SEC good for second place in the conference's West Division. "Everybody in college football is familiar with Joe Paterno's Penn State Nittany Lions and we recognize that coach Paterno is one of the great coaches of all time and the Penn State team will be trained and prepared as well as any," Tiger coach Les Miles said. "Any time you have a chance to put those mega-brands together, I think this is going to be one of the top games of the season. We're fired up," said Steve Hogan of the Florida Citrus Sports, which stages the game.
LSU's three losses this year were to powers Florida and Alabama, and also to Ole Miss.
This will be Penn State's fifth appearance in the Cap One, dating back to 1987. The Lions' record in Orlando is 1-3.
Ohio State won the Big Ten championship this year and the league's automatic bid to the Rose Bowl. The conference figured to get one more team into a BCS bowl as an at-large selection, but with two teams having met BCS eligibility standard -- Penn State and Iowa - someone had to be left out.
Though PSU and Iowa had identical 10-2 records (6-2 in the Big Ten), the Hawkeyes won the head-to-head matchup at Beaver Stadium Sept. 26, 21-10, and earned the BCS bid. Iowa will face Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl.
"I don't think we were too disappointed (by missing a BCS bid)," PSU linebacker and team captain Sean Lee said. "The theme our team has adopted is, we don't care where we are playing, we just want a good opponent. And we got that in LSU."