The dust has settled on the 2019 regular season, and PSU football is headed to Dallas to play the in the Cotton Bowl to face no. 17 Memphis.
It is the first Cotton Bowl appearance for Penn State since 1975, when the-then 9-2 Lions beat Baylor to finish the season ranked number 7. The Tigers are the highest ranked Group of 5 opponent, which is how they made it into this bowl against the third Big Ten team in the NY6.
Headed into the final weekend (save one game) of the college football regular season saw the Nittany Lions on the sidelines, waiting to find out whether they’d be able to squeak into a New Year’s Six bowl game, and who their opponent was. For the most part, things fell into place the way PSU needed them to fall, but ultimately not in the way many folks expected (PSU was predicted by most to head to the Rose Bowl).
Ohio State beat Wisconsin but not in as dominating a fashion as LSU knocked off Georgia, so the Buckeyes finished 2nd behind the Tigers and will face #3 (and defending champion) Clemson in the first round of the playoffs in the Fiesta Bowl. No. 1 LSU will face Oklahoma, who narrowly defeated Baylor in the Big Twelve title game to play in the first round in the Peach Bowl.
Wisconsin, ranked 8, will play the number 6 Oregon Ducks in the Rose Bowl. The Badgers got the nod after losing to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship game, despite having one of the worst losses in the top ten (against Illinois). UGA (no. 5) will face Baylor (no. 7) in the Sugar Bowl. Florida (no. 9) will face UVA (no. 24) in the Orange Bowl.
Other previous PSU opponents who are ranked in the final college football playoff rankings include Iowa (at number 16), Minnesota (18), and Michigan (14). All non-NY6 bowls will be announced in the coming hours and days.