Penn State's bowl outlook unclear
Penn State lost a bowl option -- albeit an unlikely one -- when the Outback Bowl picked Wisconsin as its Big Ten representative Wednesday.
The Big Ten bowl picture will not come into complete focus until after Saturday's games. There is a possibility Big Ten champion Ohio State, currently No. 3 in the Bowl Championship Series standings, could move up from the Rose Bowl to the BCS title game if either Missouri or West Virginia loses.
If that happens, it is possible the Rose Bowl would take Illinois. But the Illini (9-3, 6-2), the No. 15 BCS team, would need a team or two ahead of them, such as No. 14 Tennessee, No. 13 Arizona State, No. 12 Hawaii, or No. 11 Boston College, to lose. Otherwise, Illinois would need a scenario in which the BCS at-large pool is expanded to the top 18 because not enough teams are eligible. Conferences are limited to two BCS bids.
"I think it's great for the Outback because they bought themselves extra time to promote the game," Alamo Bowl spokesman Rick Hill said of the Wisconsin selection. "For us, it makes it easier for teams because there are three bowls in the picture and only two cities."
If Illinois gets the BCS bid, the Capital One Bowl in Orlando could choose between Michigan (8-4, 6-2) and Penn State (8-4, 4-4). The other would go to the Alamo in San Antonio, which picks next since the Outback has selected. If Illinois does not make the BCS, it would play in the Capital One game, with the Alamo choosing Penn State or Michigan and the one not taken going to the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando.
Note: Penn State sophomore defensive end Maurice Evans, who had 21 1/2 tackles for loss and 12 1/2 sacks, has been named one of eight finalists for the Ted Hendricks Award, given annually to the top college defensive end.