VBR Penn State Prediction Roundtable: Which Bowl Game Will the Nittany Lions Play In?


The Penn State Nittany Lions finished the regular season with a record of 6-6. While that’s mediocre and disappointing considering the Nittany Lions started 4-0, there’s a bright side for the program. Earlier this season the NCAA restored Penn State’s Bowl Eligibility. Penn State will be headed to a bowl for the first time since the Ticket City Bowl during the 2011-12 season. Along with the bowl game comes extra practices that will be useful for such a young team.

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While it’s almost certain the Nittany Lions will be playing in the postseason (an Ohio State win in the Big Ten Championship could foul things up), it’s not quite clear where the game will be or who the opponent will be. About the only thing that’s certain is that Penn State is going to land in a lower-tier bowl, not one of the big ones on New Year’s Day.

As we’ve done on Fridays this season, we hear at VBR bring you another prediction roundtable. This week, we are predicting which bowl the Nittany Lions will be playing in.

Lead Editor Barry Leonard Jr.

I thought about tying to be different here, but there are too many signs pointing toward Penn State playing in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. This landing spot makes sense in so many ways. Sure, bowl committees are limited by who can be picked based on conference affiliation, but those in charge of making the decisions try create the best financial outcome possible.

Enter Penn State. Just a few short hours from State College is New York City and Yankee Stadium. It will be an easy trip for many people, whether they drive, fly or take a train. Aside from all the Penn State fans traveling to the game, the New York area is home to a large alumni association that’s sure to garner a lot of ticket interest.

As for an opponent, it will be someone from the ACC. While the dream matchup would be against Pittsburgh, that no longer looks likely. Other opponents could be Duke or Boston College, both of which would set up an interesting game.

I’m predicting a Penn State-Boston College battle inside of Yankee Stadium.

Staff Writer Ryan Lance

Like many Bowl experts (I am no expert!) I expect the Nittany Lions to accept an invitation to play in the New Ear Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, December 27th. After ending the season with back to back losses it killed the Lions chance of getting into a more prestigious bowl game. I think the Big Ten and the Bowl Committee would love to host Penn State in the largest market in the country, one in which they have recently expanded into with the addition of Rutgers to the Big Ten. They know how well Penn State fans travel and I would expect a sold out crowd at Yankee Stadium especially after two years away from bowl games due to the sanctions.

There have been predictions that place a handful of teams in the Pinstripe Bowl versus Penn State ranging from Boston College to Duke to even Pittsburgh. I think their most likely opponent will be that of Boston College. Boston College finished their season at 7-5 as they picked up victories over Massachusetts, USC, Maine, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, and Syracuse. This game would create a great regional matchup and would pose as a tough test for a Nittany Lion team who struggled all season long. It would most likely be a defensive battle as Penn State has the No. 3 overall total defense in college football while Boston College comes in at No. 12. It’d be a fun, hard fought, low scoring contest if these two teams were to meet.

However, as we all know, there is still a weekend left of action where anything can happen and a win here or there by an underdog can throw all of our bowl projections into a frenzy. This is my best guess on where Penn State will land and we’ll know for sure by the end of the weekend where Penn State will be going bowling this holiday season!

Staff Writer Eric Sion

I think that Penn State will ultimately end up in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. With so many Penn State alumni in the New York City metropolitan area, there would be great support for the team. And even though it wouldn’t necessarily be a nice destination like somewhere in California or Florida, the matchup itself could be a very intriguing one. There’s a good chance that if the Nittany Lions are in the Pinstripe Bowl, Boston College, Duke or Pitt could be the opponent. I think Penn State versus either of those teams would make for a good game. But no matter what bowl game Penn State goes to or what the result of that game is, the extra practices that the team will have is definitely the most important part of going bowling for this program this year.

Staff Writer Jeff Jezewski

It is currently a trying time in the Big Ten, as one of the bowl-eligible teams will seemingly not be partaking in a bowl game. However, I do believe that team won’t be Penn State. This team has been through too much and would make too much money for a prospective bowl game to not be chosen.

That being said, I expect the Nittany Lions to end up in the Pinstripe Bowl where they will seemingly dominate in terms of fan showing. If the Lions were to play the game in New York, Penn State fans will flock to the Big Apple to watch the first bowl game since the sanctions ended. Watch out for a Penn State vs. Duke matchup.