It wasn’t so long ago we were talking about the possibility of Penn State playing in a New Years Six bowl game like the Rose Bowl or Fiesta Bowl. But two straight losses to Iowa and Illinois with games still to play against Ohio State (this weekend), Michigan, and Michigan State has turned Penn Stae’s bowl projection upside down.
The latest update to the USA TODAY Sports bowl projections from Erick Smith has dropped Penn State’s bowl positioning significantly in the Big Ten pecking order. Penn State is currently projected to play in the Las Vegas Bowl against Oregon State in this week’s updated bowl projection.
Penn State has played Oregon State once before. The Nittany Lions hosted the Pac-12 school for a regular-season game in 2008, which was won by Penn State by a score of 45-14. Oregon State is having a surprisingly good season and is in the race for the Pac-12 North Division this fall, although Oregon remains the favorite in the division and conference.
The Las Vegas Bowl is one of the new bowl tie-ins the Big Ten lined up and this would mark the first trip to the strip for the Nittany Lions. Of course, Penn State is still hoping to get into a better bowl spot at the end of the season. To do that, Penn State will have to win some big games in the remainder of the schedule.
A win against Ohio State would certainly give the Nittany Lions a major upswing in bowl potential, but winning four of their final five games would likely do the same as well. That would include wins against Michigan and Michigan State in addition to Maryland and Rutgers before the end of the season and would give Penn State a respectable 9-3 record. If Penn State manages to get a nine-win season, then their bowl outlook should be more rewarding than a trip to the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 30.
Given the most recent display of Penn State against Illinois, however, it is clear the Nittany Lions have something to prove to the bowl prognosticators right now.
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Source : https://sports.yahoo.com/viva-las-vegas-penn-state-093717828.html563