#3 PENN STATE VS. #22 FLORIDA STATE
FedEx Orange Bowl
Happy New Year! For the first time in way too long Penn State fans have something to look forward to in January and despite what many fans and some columnists say, this is a great matchup. A living legend and college football juggernaut on one sideline, Joe Paterno and a walking Southern stereotype caricature Bobby Bowden on the other. Between them they have over 700 wins. On paper at least, this is a coaching battle for the ages.
Penn State played poorly, but was strong enough to beat Michigan State. The Lions won their second Big11Ten title. It was great, wasn’t it?
THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT: FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES
For the first time in 15 years, Penn State is playing Florida State. The last time the two squads met up, the 1990 Blockbuster Bowl, FSU defeated the Lions, 24-17. The only other matchup, the 1962 Gator Bowl, ended in a tied at 17.
Free Shoes University has had a disappointing season this year, having gone 8-4. However, they got some redemption by defeating the Virginia Tech Chokies in the inaugural ACC Championship Game.
Head to head, Paterno has the edge over Bowden, 6-1, but all the wins came while Bowden was coaching whiskey bottle-throwing West Virginia Mountaineers.
PRESS CONFERENCE RECAPS
HEY DAVE JONES FANBOYS! HE IS BLOGGING FROM SOFLO
As if twice weekly columns are not enough, David Jones and others on the Patriot-News beat are blogging. You know you want it, you know you need it. Really, it is a good read.
4TH & 15
The biggest play in the last decade of Penn State football, Mike Robinson’s completion to TE Issac Smolko on 4th and 15 vs. Northwestern, is referenced in a few many of these articles.
COACH TO COACH
Another topic brought up is Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden’s relationship. Bowden sought the advice of Paterno in dealing with calls to step down following disappointing seasons.
Penn St. fears losing its edge during long trip – Palm Beach Post
Paterno is concerned that the team got to Florida too early because recent practices have not been great.
The Lions were voted the Centre County sports story of the year.
Notebook: Paterno doesn’t expect Williams to play – Tribune-Review
Deon Butler’s jet-ski stalled out in open water which had him marooned for 20 minutes. I don’t know anyone that sort of thing has happened to…
After a long absence, WWN is happy to report on Carroll H. Cook’s comments about Penn State in his weekly ESPN SportsNation chat. A number of weeks are posted starting with the least recent.
Jim (Phila.): Beano, do you think JoePa has it turned around at Penn State, or is this year a one time thing, like in 2002.
SportsNation Beano Cook: No, I don’t know if they’re going to win 9 of 10 next year, but he had a couple of bad years. They’ll lose a lot of players, next year will be tough. But in 2007 they’ll be tough. The schedule will be in their favor that year. Paterno will coach at least through 2008 if his health remains the way it is now. Shame on those people who wanted to see Paterno retire. Shame, shame, shame, shame.
Oh boy, Beano is shaming people who thought it was time for JoePa to move on.
Abraham , San Diego: Who would win if Penn State played UM in the Orange Bowl ?
SportsNation Beano Cook: Miami.
Moot point, Miami choked.
Brian (Portland, Ore): Beano my man – which team would present more trouble for the vaunted Notre Dame offense: Penn State or Ohio State?
SportsNation Beano Cook: That is a tough question. You can make an argument for either one, but I will say Penn State by a hair. Besides, I live in Pittsburgh.
Again, a moot point.
Wasim (SJ, Ca): What is all this talk of JoePa and PSU being the sentimental favorites to go the NCG if the top two lose. LSU went through so much earlier in the season, its a miracle they only have 1 loss. Where’s the LSU for sentimental favorite love??
SportsNation Beano Cook: Before the season began, I thought Penn State would win 8-9 games. I never thought they would win 6-7 games and I said that all year long. LSU is also a sentimental story and in the picture but let’s remember they had the big lead against Tennessee and blew it. Win that game and they are probably #2. Paterno’s team lost on the road on the last play.
I wish he had been prophetic, but Texas and USC didn’t lose.
Colby (Baltimore, MD): JoePa or Bowden, who do you think will outlast the other and will either of their all time win marks be challenged in the future?
SportsNation Beano Cook: I think they will both keep coaching. I think they will probably go another three years each. Paterno picked up some games on Bowden this year and may pick up another one before the whole season is over.
JoePa can pick up one by winning the Orange Bowl.
Rob (DC): Beano, why do you insist on taking pot shots at JoePa and the Nittany Lions even when a question isn’t refering to them? Is it because Joe won’t schedule Pitt?
SportsNation Beano Cook: Where did I take a potshot at Paterno? I am a supporter of him and I said they would win 8-9 games this season …I was wrong, they won 10 and almost beat Michigan if it wasn’t for the last play. You are probably the guy who said the game passed Paterno by and wanted him out last season.
Actually, Beano has been pretty good this year about not taking potshots at Paterno, they have been as absent this year as Casablanca references.
Rob (DC): Wrong Beano, as a PSU alumn I know how much he has done for the University and I am in the camp that thinks JoePa should stay as long as he wants, and that we should all be grateful to have him at our University.
SportsNation Beano Cook: I agree with that. I think he will stay three more years.
I think in two years he will sign a four-year contract extension.
Chuck (Chicago): Is Penn State back for good, or is this year a flash in the pan?
SportsNation Beano Cook: The schedule next year is a lot tougher, including a trip to Notre Dame. I don’t think they will win as many games next season, but if they win 8 or 9 games that would be impressive. They have not won at Ohio State since joining the Big Ten, so that will be tough too.
He is right that 8 or 9 wins next year will be impressive, but I do not foresee them falling off like they did in 2003.
Bryan (Delray Beach, FL): Hello Beano… I noticed Joe Pa has had his boys down here in Delray Beach since Dec 20th… Is it normal for a team to arrive so early for a Bowl game and miss Christmas with their families? Don’t most teams that are in the bigger bowls arrive only 7 practice days before their game? Joe Pa must really want to beat Bobby.
SportsNation Beano Cook: You have never lived in State College in December. That is why he went down there early. I think he wants to win, because JoePa trails Bobby by five games. If he wins, it’s down to four. Remember Penn State plays in an easier conference than FSU and plays easier non-conference games. If JoePa can cut it to four, there’s a good chance he can catch Bobby. And both of those coaches want to finish in the lead for wins. The egos are bigger than the Pacific Ocean.
Penn State usually heads south before Christmas. The ego crack is hysterical. He must have felt like he was not getting enough pot-shots in after the question the week prior.
Brock: Mclean, Va: What do you think of FSU/Penn St. In big games this year, this FSU team has played great. I think Penn State is in trouble.
SportsNation Beano Cook: You might be right. Penn State is favored, kind of a solid 8 or 9 point favorite. Both coaches want to win. My guess is PSU will win, but I won’t be shocked if FSU does. Everything went well for PSU this year, except the clock at Michigan.
Beano has been perfect predicting Penn State victories this year, which is still a really weird feeling. Even he thinks the Michigan officiating was bad, though it was not why the Lions lost.
Brian (Harrisburg, PA): Yo Beano. The entire Nittany Nation is just absolutely stoked that we have Notre Dame back on the schedule for next season. I know it’s a ways away, but being the college football guru you are, doesn’t that just tickle you to death, considering the awesome series they had in the ’80’s and early ’90’s?
SportsNation Beano Cook: It doesn’t tickle me to death. I understand that Penn State fans got ruined in South Bend by being forced to pay $600 a night with a three-day minimum. That’s what I heard from an ND guy. But in ’07 ND goes to Penn State with a new QB, playin on the road.
That is interesting, though not surprising about the hotel situation in South Bend. I thought State College area hotels were tough!
The contest is being televised nationally on ABC at 8 p.m. Mike Tirico, Kirk
Herbstreit and Erin Andrews will be calling the action.
There are fewer coaches better at bowl games than Paterno and Bowden. They are #1 and #2 respectively in bowl wins. This is going to be a lot closer than we want, but Penn State’s defense will simply force the less experenced FSU offense to make mistakes. Penn State will win 27 – 17, though FSU will threaten into the fourth quarter.
GO STATE, beat SEMINOLES!