Coach Joe Paterno sounded upbeat Sunday night after learning the team is headed to the Capital One Bowl to play No. 13 LSU on New Year's Day, even though Iowa took the Big Ten's second BCS berth after getting tabbed for the Orange Bowl.
Ohio State is already headed to the Rose Bowl as the conference champion. No more than two teams from the same conference can make the BCS, so Penn State (10-2) got shut out.
"I don't know who was lobbying," Paterno said during a teleconference when asked if there was disappointment on getting left out. "We were trying to find out what was going on. You'd like to be able to say, 'Hey, you're going to go here, you're going to go there, what day of the week."'
Penn State did have designs on a BCS bowl in the days since the regular season ended Nov. 21 with a 42-14 rout at Michigan State.
Paterno and other athletic officials worked the phones, and the school launched a video and e-mail campaign touting the team as a TV ratings draw and revenue-generator with its large, traveling fan base.
Iowa apparently had an even BCS bigger trump card, though - a 21-10 win in September over Penn State at Beaver Stadium.
"The only thing that was important to me as far as this football team is concerned, is to go someplace nice and to have a really good opponent," Paterno said. "Whether you put a BCS in front of it, a BCS behind it, I really didn't think about it."
The Nittany Lions were then a virtual lock for the Capital One Bowl, which gets the first pick of non-BCS Big Ten teams. Penn State and LSU have met just one other time - a 16-9 win for the Nittany Lions at the 1974 Orange Bowl to finish the program's first 12-0 season.