The college football regular season has finally twisted and turned its way to conclusion, and the bowl games are finally set. Needless to say, for all fans of the game, the year has been one of the strangest on record. San Antonio is one again set to host the Alamo Bowl, which will feature Penn State versus Texas A&M. The match-up should be an interesting one, with coach Joe Paterno coaching in what could be his last game (when you are still coaching at 128 year old, every game could be your last), and is his 500th career game. On the other sideline, the Aggies will be managed by interim coach, Gary Darnell, who will be filling in for the fired Dennis Franchione. A&M has named former Green Bay Packers’ coach and current Texans’ coordinator, Mike Sherman as head man, but he will not take over duties until after the NFL season wraps up.
The two teams have met before at the dome, the Alamodome that is, as Penn St. took the Aggies apart 24-0 in 1999.
A&M is coming off a lackluster 7-5 season overall, but did end on a high note, beating arch-rival Texas 38-30 in Coach Fran’s last game as an Aggie. The Aggies have certainly had their ups and downs this season, but getting a win over Penn State would be a nice way for the team to get an 8th win for the year, and to start preparing for 2008.
Before the season, Penn State was expected to contend for the Big 10 title, but although they did win 8 games, and put together some terrific games—a 38-7 mauling of Wisconsin, and a 27-7 victory over Iowa—the Nittany Lions were never in contention for the title.
The storylines will be deep and interesting in the game. PSU coach, Joe Paterno, certainly doesn’t have many years left coaching, but the past few years have seen him do what many thought was impossible, which was to turn the program around. While PSU isn’t contending for BCS slots, the program is in good shape these days, after winning only 7 games in the 2003-2004 seasons. Coach Paterno is coaching in his 42nd year, and has won 371 games.
The Aggies are a program looking to the future, after having fired Franchione for a newsletter scandal in which he sold inside information regarding players health and practice habits to boosters, as well as barely winning more than half his games at the school. Coaching aside, the Aggies have plenty of talent, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Jack-of-all-trades QB Stephen McGee leads the team in both passing (57.7% completion, 12 TD) and rushing (858 yds, 5 TDs), but also has big, bruising running back Jorvorskie Lane (746 yds, 16 TDs) to complement him.
This year’s Alamo Bowl will feature two storied and proud programs from two of America’s finest conferences. In addition to the action on the field, the Bowl will also host several other events, such as a Pep Rally (Dec. 27, 6:00 PM) at the Arneson River Theater, where players coaches, bands, and cheerleaders from both schools will get together to fire up the fans. Also, be sure to check out the AT&T Fan Zone at Sunset Station, which will feature more school spirit, multimedia exhibitions, and games for the whole family.