Checking in around the nation on the latest bowl rumors.
Penn State eyeing Florida
As reported by Pennlive.com, it looks like Penn State is headed to either the Gator or Outback Bowl. They break it down this way:
After Penn State's comeback win Saturday over Northwestern, it's hard to figure out any way the Nittany Lions will fall below the Gator Bowl. The Outback Bowl remains a possibility. The Gator Bowl, new this year to the Big Ten lineup, is slated for 1:30 on New Year's Day. It holds the possibility of being Joe Paterno's last game although we certainly can't count on it. But as of the second week of December when all the bowl invitations will be made, that allure should enter into bowl reps' thinking.
Currently, I have Penn State projected to the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville taking on Florida. The Gator Bowl gets pick No. 4 or 5 from the Big Ten.
Liberty Bowl, Conference USA, SEC mess
Conference USA has sent their champion to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in every season since the league began in 1996, but there's a very real possibility that could be coming to an end. According to UCFSports.com, the 2010 C-USA Champion could be scrambling to find a new bowl, or be relegated to one of the league's lesser bowls, should the SEC not qualify enough teams to fill both their Liberty and Birmingham Bowl slots.
The Liberty Bowl's new partnership with the Big East apparently also gives first right of refusal to the SEC and they don't want to play a team from C-USA if they can help it. AutoZone Liberty Bowl Executive Director Steve Ehrhart spoke about this possibility Tuesday morning during his weekly radio segment on "Sportstime Extra with Dave Woloshin and Brett Norsworthy", which airs on 560 WHBQ in Memphis.
The early part of the interview centered around the possible SEC representative in the bowl, which includes Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Georgia or Kentucky. Assuming the SEC team would play the champion of C-USA, the show's hosts then asked Ehrhart to comment about UCF, who with a 5-0 league record is considered the current favorite to win the conference and that's when Ehrhart acknowledged a C-USA team may not go to Memphis after all.
"Not necessarily," Ehrhart said when asked about C-USA's participation in the bowl. "We may still go with a Big East team against the SEC, provided the SEC has enough teams. That's no disrespect to Conference USA. It just may work out the combinations work that way.
That's ridiculous that the conference champion might be forced to go play elsewhere. This really all comes down to whether or not the SEC gets two teams in the BCS or not. Also at play are teams like Ole Miss and Tennessee. Both are struggling to get bowl-eligible, but if they do, than there won't be a problem. Currently I project only one SEC team in the BCS, so Georgia or Kentucky would play the C-USA champion in the Liberty Bowl.
SMU or UTEP in Armed Forces Bowl
Looks like the Armed Forces Bowl is down to either one of those two from C-USA to play either a Mountain West school or Army in the Dec. 30 bowl. According to the El Paso Times, it looks like if SMU doesn't go to the Hawaii Bowl, the Armed Forces Bowl comes into play. It has been moved for this season only from Fort Worth to SMU's Robertson Stadium.
Air Force almost locked to Independence Bowl
It's not a done deal, but getting close, according to the Denver Post:
It doesn't take a lot of speculation to suggest that coach Troy Calhoun should contact his travel agent about making plans for the Air Force Falcons to travel to Shreveport, La., to play in the Dec. 27 Independence Bowl. Jim Hagan, chairman of the Independence Bowl selection committee, said Monday that the Falcons are more than sentimental favorites to get the call and return to the bowl for the first time since 1984. "I think you can say that if Air Force still is on the board when we pick, it's our top choice," Hagan said. "We're going to be at their game Saturday. We're looking at them real strong."
Maaco Bowl might look to Big 12
The Maaco Bowl in Las Vegas is supposed to feature a team from the Mountain West and Pac-10, but the Pac-10 might not have enough eligible teams. If not, look for the bowl to take somebody from the Big 12. According to the Las Vegas Journal, Iowa State and Texas Tech are the Big 12's most likely at-large candidates, though Texas could find itself looking for a bowl.
Greenwood to perform at Sun Bowl
Grammy Award winning artist Lee Greenwood will headline the Hyundai Halftime Show at the 77th Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl on Dec. 31 at Sun Bowl Stadium. Greenwood, who is a two-time Country Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year, won a Grammy in 1984 and has charted seven No. 1 hits on the Billboard’s country chart.