Rose Bowl would welcome Penn St if it earns bid
The Lions are a game ahead of Wisconsin in the Leaders Division and would clinch a spot in the inaugural Big Ten championship game on Dec. 3 in Indianapolis if it wins road games against Ohio State and Wisconsin the next two weeks. PSU, with help, could get to the title game even if it loses one of those games.
The Rose Bowl matches the winner of the Big Ten and Pac 12 unless one of the conference champions is Nos. 1 or 2 in the BCS standings. In that case, the Big Ten or Pac 12 team is released to play in the BCS title game and the conference runner-up takes the champion’s spot in the Rose Bowl.
The Big Ten-Pac 12 agreement with the Rose Bowl has been in place since 1946.
“Based on our long-standing relationship,” Ash said, “we would embrace any champion from the Big Ten Conference.”
Hosting the Nittany Lions this year would certainly mean dealing to some degree with the Sandusky scandal. But fan interest in how Penn State responds to its first bowl game without Paterno in almost a half century would likely draw ratings, too.
Rose Bowl spokeswoman Gina Chappin said she couldn’t predict how the public would feel about Penn State playing in one of college football’s premier games. Chappin said Rose Bowl officials have not discussed any potential backlash from inviting Penn State.
“I don’t think we can control public opinion on this,” she said. “We can’t emphasize enough how sensitive a subject this is. I think it really is going to be a split story out there for people who still have anger or are upset versus the people who try to pull together and see through this should they come to Pasadena.”
Hogan, of the Capital One Bowl, said the child sex-abuse scandal won’t be a factor when, and if, his selection committee considers Penn State.
“It’s about what they’ve earned on the field and how it compares to their brethren in the Big Ten,” Hogan said. “Anything that comes with that we’ll deal with.”
Associated Press writer Genaro Armas in State College, Pa., contributed to this story.