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Bowl projections: Where will Lions end up?

If Penn State beats Illinois this week to finish 4-5, it would seem to be a lock that the Nittany Lions will receive a bowl invitation. There are no requirements this season to have a winning record to go bowling, and with Penn State’s national brand and TV allure, there undoubtedly will be some bowl out there that would want them for their game.

OK, so where could the Lions end up? And against who?

It seems like we are down to two possibilities for the location: The Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Phoenix, or the Duke’s Mayo Bowl in Charlotte.

Here are the latest bowl projections from several prominent outlets:

ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura: Guaranteed Rate Bowl vs. West Virginia, Dec. 26 in Phoenix. This game kicks off at 10:15 p.m. EST.

Comment: It makes very little sense during a pandemic to have PSU and West Virginia fly all the way out to Phoenix to play in a game the day after Christmas.

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach: Duke’s Mayo Bowl vs. Virginia Tech, Dec. 30 in Charlotte. Game kicks off at noon.

Comment: This bowl location and matchup make perfect sense. These teams were scheduled to play earlier this season in Blacksburg, before the non-conference games were canceled.

CBSSports’ Jerry Palm: Duke’s Mayo Bowl vs. NC State

Comment: Ehh, not as crazy about playing NC State, but not too bad. Note: Bill Bender of Sporting News also has this matchup.

247Sports’ Brad Crawford: Guaranteed Rate Bowl vs. TCU

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Comment: Makes more sense than PSU vs. WVU both going all the way out there, but still …

Athlon’s Steven Lassan: Guaranteed Rate Bowl vs. Kansas State

Comment: James Franklin was an assistant at K-State in 2006-07.

It should be noted that these projections are being made with the idea that all current bowl games will continue with the plans to hold their games. There already have been a number of bowl games canceled, and if more are canceled, it could jumble the entire picture.

Giger: These Lions have shown a hell of a lot of fight

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Written By

Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.



  1. Ron Perttu

    December 14, 2020 at 9:52 am

    Cory, a bowl game itself makes no sense. First, will any bowl have a normal payout without fans? Doubt it. Will there be activities for the players between practices as is normal? Doubtful. Can the University afford such an expense at a time when they are too feeling a financial crunch from Covid-19. No. I say, with things considered, let the team get back to their families, foregoing any bowl.

  2. Cory Giger

    December 14, 2020 at 10:01 am

    It would be more like just a normal game, not all the bowl hoopla. There would still be money to be made because of the TV deals, which is what all of this will be about.

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