Dec 5, 2011, 2:29 AM EDT
Blue and white, you’ll have to forgive Nick Menta. He’s a Temple grad, and obviously was neglected as a child, and so even though it’s very exciting for ALL of Philadelphia (seriously) that the Owls will participate in the festivities on December 17, we should note the Nittany Lions earned some post-season love as well.
In fact, Penn State has themselves quite a game on January 2 — this year’s date for the traditional New Year’s Day bowl games. They are headed for something called the Ticket City Bowl in Dallas, and will face the Houston Cougars, an opponent that was undefeated up until this past weekend.
Houston’s BCS bid was crushed with a 49-28 loss to Southern Miss in the C-USA Championship, but they are no slouch. QB Case Keenum is a semi-legitimate Heisman candidate, leading the highest scoring and best passing offense in the entire nation to a 12-1 record in 2011.
Keenum threw for over 5,000 yards for the third time in four seasons, not to mention topped his career high of 44 touchdowns — which he did twice — with 45. I don’t care what conference you play in, that’s awfully impressive.
In Dallas of all places, it basically amounts to a road game for the 9-3 Lions as well.
Keenum faces the fifth-best defense in the nation, allowing a paltry 15.7 points per game this season. However, PSU is used to Big Ten football, its games often won and lost by strength and power. Houston spreads the field, which should provide a test as to the depth in their secondary.
Oh, and their 110th ranked scoring offense will almost certainly need to find a way to score a few more points than usual.
By the way, I know there are some folks who feel Penn State shouldn’t even play in a bowl game in light of a certain scandal. You should know the university will donate its share of the proceeds to the PA Coalition Against Rape and National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
You should also be advised that the kids who play in this program did nothing to deserve having this opportunity taken from them. Good for them that despite everything that’s gone on, they remained focused and have an opportunity to end the season on their own terms.
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