The idea of Penn State going to the Rose Bowl is becoming increasingly realistic.
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) November 30, 2022
Tuesday night, college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit called Penn State a “viable candidate for Pasadena.”
Wednesday afternoon, another insider, Brett McMurphy of the Action Network, put Penn State in the Rose Bowl in his latest bowl projections.
Sources have told the Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach and Stewart Mandel that the Rose Bowl is “strongly considering” taking Penn State over Ohio State if Ohio State keeps its current No. 5 ranking through this weekend’s conference championship games.
Auerbach and Mandela’s article outlined these key points.
- The Tournament of Roses Officials and the Big Ten met Wednesday to talk about Penn State going
- The Rose Bowl has traditionally taken the Big Ten’s second-highest-ranked team when the conference champion went to the Playoff
- But, according to the Rose Bowl’s website, “if the next highest-ranked team is in a ‘cluster’ of teams, meaning there is another team or teams from the same conference ranked within several sports of each other, the Tournament of Roses will select the team from the cluster that will result in the best possible matchup for the Rose Bowl game.”
- Penn State hasn’t been to the Rose Bowl since the end of the 2016 season. Ohio State has gone twice in the past four years.
The Athletic asked the Rose Bowl Management Committee’s Chair, Laura Faber, what would constitute a “cluster.”
“There is no magic number,” Faber told The Athletic. “The teams have to be ranked within several spots of each other… while the Tournament of Roses makes the selection, we do it in conjunction with our conference partners. It’s collaborative.”
Penn State, which finished the regular season 10-2, is three spots behind Ohio State at No. 8. Ohio State won the head-to-head meeting, which took place Oct. 29 at Beaver Stadium, and finished the regular season with the better record overall (11-1) and in conference (8-1). Ohio State controlled its College Football Playoff destiny all season until losing to Michigan, 45-23, at home to end the year this past weekend. If Michigan, now ranked No. 2, beats Purdue in Saturday’s Big Ten Championship game, it will be in the Playoff for the second straight year.
The Athletic also reported that Rose Bowl officials are “concerned that Ohio State fans won’t travel in large numbers to the game.” For last season’s Rose Bowl, Ohio State only sold 13,000 of its 20,000 allotted tickets, the Athletic wrote.
If Penn State goes to the Rose Bowl, Ohio State will likely play in the Orange Bowl. That game features the highest available Big Ten/SEC school against the ACC champion.
Penn State has been to the Rose Bowl four times in its history; in the 1922, 1994, 2008 and 2016 seasons.