SIDELINE PATROL: LSU has work cut out for them against Penn State
When LSU takes the field against Penn State New Year’s Day in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, they will be the underdog. The Tigers have failed to pull off an upset this season and they have their work cut out for them if they want to accomplish the feat today.
Of course, LSU has won four straight bowl games under head coach Les Miles but Penn State has won more bowls than any other school in history except USC. The Tigers and Nittany Lions have only met once before with the still head coach in Happy Valley, Joe Paterno taking a 16-9 victory.
I like Penn State. There, I have said it. I used to wear Nittany Lion paraphernalia when I was a child and LSU was coached by Mike Archer. I guess I like the blue and white because of Paterno. It amazes me that a man 85-years-old is still walking around on the sidelines coaching a game. And I guess I think we may be related somehow because we are both Italian.
Anyway, I had high expectations for the Nittany Lions this season after they won the Big Ten and played in the Rose Bowl against USC last year. They returned their quarterback Daryll Clark and top rusher Evan Royster, so I gave them a chance to have a memorable year.
Well even though they are not returning to Pasadena this year, today’s game is the marquee matchup of New Year’s Day and runner-up to only the BCS?National Championship that pits Alabama vs. Texas.
It all comes down to how football is played in back yards and high school stadiums in regions and that is inherited.
Rivals.com recently ranked states according to best high school football this year. No surprise, Texas is ranked No. 1, followed by Florida, Ohio, California, Louisiana, Georgia and Pennsylvania. Alabama’s No. 23 ranking proves Nick Saban is a good coach but that is irrelevant.
What I am trying to say is that Penn State will have football players on the field today because Pennsylvania is known for that. This is the state that has produced Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Fred Biletnikoff, George Blanda, Mike Ditka, Tony Dorsett, Joe Namath, Johnny Unitas and Jim Thorpe, no less.
Not cutting LSU short, I think the Capital One Bowl will be a great game between two different styles. The speed of the SEC vs. the grit of the Big Ten. May the best team win.
The Saints wrapped up home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with Minnesota’s loss to the Bears Monday night. This has never happened before in the history of the franchise. New Orleans’ only bye came three years ago when they advanced to the NFC?Championship before being knocked out in Chicago. Even though they have lost two straight games, it is hard to underestimate the Saints’ chances of finally making it to the Super Bowl. I?know I will be watching.