Two thoughts came to my mind when I learned our post-season fate yesterday afternoon. First, if it can’t be the playoffs, then what’s better than sunny Florida and the Magic Kingdom for some end-of-season tailgating? My second thought was of Daryll “The Captain” Clark, chock full of mud, doing everything he could to deliver his team a victory over the ‘mighty’ SEC (insert eye-roll emoji) the last time we made that trip to Orlando. Back in 2010, it was called the Capital One Bowl and the opponent was LSU. Today, it’s regained the name The Citrus Bowl and the opponent, eight years after that epic 19-17 last-second-win, is Kentucky. One thing is for sure Orlando, here come the Lions and Nittany Nation is already hard at work making plans to bring on the ROAR!
For any of you unsatisfied with the draw, you should probably schedule a check-up from the neck up sometime in the near future, just a piece of friendly advice. For the rest of us, a dance with the mighty SEC on New Year’s Day with a 10-win season on the line is just about as good as it gets. Sure, we may have had Peach Bowl aspirations after downing that delicious bowl of Turtle Soup two weeks ago, but the chips didn’t fall our way, no thanks to UGA and their fourth-quarter collapse versus ‘Bama in Atlanta. It is what it is, so no reason to cry over spilled milk. Kentucky represents a more than worthy opponent and Orlando represents a destination full of magic for both the young and old.
This game will be poked, prodded, and dissected to death until there’s nothing left between now and New Years Day but the game itself. At this juncture, all I have are those images of Daryll Clark and his Nittany Lions covered in mud celebrating a win on a field soggier than those cow pastures at home in Happy Valley. He was a leftover from a squad that reached it’s peak the year before with a Big Ten Championship and the first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1994. He had a victory over the Buckeyes notched on his pelt, was uncharacteristically defeated by the Hawkeyes two years straight, and left his legacy behind with a slew of records.
If that sounds a little familiar to the storybook career of our current Captain, Trace McSorley, we’re on the same page. A Big Ten title, a run for the Roses, defeated by Sparty being the only head-scratchers, and holds just about every record a QB can; many of which #9 leap-frogged #17 to attain. Times have changed since nearly a decade ago but some things stay the same. Here WE ARE again with visions of Disney dancing in our head, an SEC opponent laying in wait, with a Penn State legend at the helm for his final curtain call. If that’s not enough to get your juices going, then you might want to take a good, hard look in the mirror. Orlando, here come the lions and this time around we’ve got The Wizard to cast his magic one last time!