Found December 07, 2011 on Fox Sports Southwest:
Capital_one_bowl_6e2c
Penn State will be coming to Dallas and the TicketCity Bowl with a chip on its shoulder. The Nittany Lions have had a tumultuous season, to say the least, with the firing of legendary coach Joe Paterno just one of the facets of an ongoing child sex abuse scandal involving a former Penn State assistant coach. In a perfect world, the scandal would be separate from football and the current players who had nothing to do with it. In the real world, the scandal apparently cost Penn State a chance to go to a bowl higher on the Big Ten pecking order. Penn State, No. 22 in the final BCS rankings, finished went 6-2 in the Big Ten and tied Wisconsin for the top spot in the Leaders Division. The Nittany Lions finished 9-3 overall, yet 7-5 Iowa, 6-6 Ohio State and 6-6 Northwestern were selected by bowls higher in the Big Ten's selection order. Penn State defeated all three this season. Some of Penn State's players vented their frustration on Twitter upon learning of their bowl destination. "Someone please tell me that the rumors swirling about the TicketCity Bowl are a sick joke," appeared on linebacker Mike Yancich's Twitter account. That was one of several negative tweets from players, who reportedly held a players-only meeting soon after learning the news. Not all the players were unhappy about the bowl bid, at least not outwardly. "Ticket city bowl it is!" tweeted running back Silas Redd. "I'm excited to play against Houston and hopefully cap off this roller coaster of a season with a big win!" Penn State's players probably should consider themselves lucky to be going to a bowl at all. Bowl games are inherently about putting a positive image on their communities. What bowl wants to bring in a team that will have local and national media constantly asking questions related to the sex abuse scandal? Every story written, every television live shot from a banquet, will undoubtedly mention the scandal. No wonder bowl committees considered Penn State to be radioactive. TicketCity Bowl president Tom Starr said he never considered the scandal when the selected Penn State. The Nittany Lions' misfortune of falling down the bowl ladder was a boon to him. The TicketCity Bowl is in just its second year, in the cavernous, old Cotton Bowl Stadium. With the TicketCity Bowl seventh in the Big Ten's selection order, it won't be every year that Starr can host one of the conference's real "name" programs like Penn State. Another reason Penn State is fortunate: Things also fell Starr's way on the Conference USA side of things. Houston blew its chance at a BCS bowl by losing the C-USA championship game, but at 12-1 Houston, No. 19 in the BCS, is one of the highest-ranked opponents Penn State could hope to face. Houston also features one of the season's biggest stars in record-setting quarterback Case Keenum. If Dallas gets some nice weather on Jan. 2, when the game is played, and a decent crowd shows up, the Penn State players should have nothing to complain about. Not to mention they'll problem get some nice bowl swag. And they'll get a chance to make some nice memories at the end of a season a lot of Penn State folks will want to forget. Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire
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