While the College Football Playoffs are just a distant memory for Penn State and its fans, the team finished the season a strong note, putting them in play for a selection committee bowl game.
On Sunday, Dec. 4, the selection committee sets up four more bowls after deciding the participants of the CFP. Those games are the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29, the Fiesta Bowl and the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30 and the Peach Bowl on New Years’ Day.
Depending on how some conference championship games end, Penn State could possibly slide up to No. 7 in the CFP rankings, which matters most for bowl season.
With that being said, here are three bowl matchups that would be the most entertaining for Penn State and its fans.
Penn State vs. Notre Dame – Cotton Bowl
This rivalry formed when coaches Lou Holtz and Joe Paterno were leading their respective schools in the 1980’s and 90’s.
Both coaches were among the most successful and tenured when the heart of the matchup came to fruition.
The rivalry fizzled out when Penn State ended its independent status and joined the Big Ten in 1992, but it was reignited in 2006 and 2007 for two more games.
Currently, the series is tied 9-9-1, with the last meeting going to the Nittany Lions in a 31-10 victory at Beaver Stadium, which gave the venue its fourth highest attendance at 110,078 in 2007.
Led by seventh year head coach Brian Kelly, Notre Dame sports a two-headed monster on offense with redshirt sophomore quarterback Brandon Wimbush and junior running back Josh Adams.
At one point, Adams was in the Heisman race before cooling off towards the end of the season.
Adams was ninth in the country in total rushing with 1368 yards and 9 rushing touchdowns.
What makes this hypothetical bowl a slightly more interesting is that Wimbush was committed to Penn State in 2014 before flipping to Notre Dame.
Wimbush was hailed for his arm strength and projected to be Penn State head coach James Franklin’s centerpiece of the offense, but that all changed.
In a battle of the two top 25 offenses in terms of scoring, this matchup could be a shootout that would have spectators on the edge of their seats.
Losing offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead to Mississippi State is a devastating loss to the unit’s chemistry, but Penn State has the weapons to continue its offensive output.
Joe Moorhead goes "let me see your hand" and tells one of his new players to find out his ring size. pic.twitter.com/YfmM4FuNIb— Ben Jones (@Ben_Jones88) November 29, 2017
Penn State vs. Miami (FL) – Orange Bowl
To continue the trend of historical match ups, I’m throwing in a date with the reborn Miami Hurricanes football program in their neck of the woods.
When Penn State alumni hear Miami, they think of the legendary 1987 National Championship that resulted in a 14-10 win for JoePa over the Jimmy Johnson led Hurricanes.
Penn State has the edge in the series, seven wins to six, and the new Miami would love to get the equalizer under first year head coach Mark Richt.
For those who have not heard, the Hurricanes sport the famous, or infamous depending on what type of fan is reading, turnover chain that is worn by the most recent Canes player to get, well, a turnover.
Miami is still in a position to crack the top four if they defeat Clemson in the ACC championship game, but are heavy underdogs.
Playing in Florida would give an obvious home-field advantage to Miami in a “neutral site” game, but Penn State took USC down to the wire in California, in the 2016 Rose Bowl.
Unlike the matchup with Notre Dame, the hypothetical Orange Bowl would be a battle of stingy defenses.
Penn State’s No. 7 scoring defense versus Miami’s No. 15 unit might spawn a low scoring game, coming down to a last-minute drive, similarly to 1987 moment.
Penn State vs. Ohio State – Fiesta Bowl
The article is dubbed most entertaining for a reason, and I would not want any other matchup if the bowl committee sees it fit.
A much needed rematch of the 39-38 thriller, which was one of the greatest games in collegiate football history.
It was a game that ripped Penn State fans’ hearts out and was the beginning of the end for Penn State’s playoff hopes.
For this game to even be possible, Ohio State would have to lose to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship.
Penn State could learn from its mistakes and develop a prestigious pass defense and offensive game plan that minimizes the impact of Ohio State’s talented defensive line, but this is easier said than done.
The Nittany Lions would love nothing more than to school their rivals on the neutral stage to settle things for good in the 2017-2018 season.
In my opinion, this would be the best potential game to send off this amazing group of senior players and running back Saquon Barkley.
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