How tough was Penn State's schedule this season?

Five of its 2008 opponents are playing in bowl games, with three playing in the Bowl Championship Series and/or on New Year's Day. They are:

Iowa in the Outback Bowl, Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl, Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, Oregon State in the Sun Bowl and Wisconsin in the Champs Sports Bowl.

Date to remember

In case you forgot, on Dec. 29 last year,

Joe Paterno's 500th game

as Penn State coach ended the way most have, with a win. The Nittany Lions erased an early 14-point deficit to beat Texas A&M, 24-17, at the Alamo Bowl.

Did you know?

Ohio State

is the only Big Ten team with a better record than Penn State over the last 52 games? Penn State is 42-10.

Penn State this year had its 14th season with at least 11 wins under Paterno. With a win Thursday, the Nittany Lions will post their fourth season with 12 wins under JoePa.

Traveling man

Paterno is the only coach to

win the Rose, Fiesta, Orange, Sugar and Cotton Bowls.

He has taken Penn State to 13 different postseason games, winning in 11 locales, more than anyone in college football history.

Tough competition

Southern Cal is the highest-ranked team

Penn State has played in a bowl game since the Nittany Lions defeated No. 1 Miami (Fla.), 14-10, in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl to win the national championship.

What a class

Penn State is 40-10

since the start of the 2005 season, tied for No. 7 in the nation in winning percentage. The 40 victories are the most since the Class of '97 won 41 games from 1994-97.

Streaking

The Nittany Lions'

10-game nonconference winning streak

is the seventh-longest one in the nation, trailing only Boston College (21), LSU (18), Kentucky (13), Texas (12), Texas Tech and USC (11).

Old timers

The Rose Bowl represents the oldest college football agreement between two major conferences in the nation. Since its inception, the Pac-12 and Big Ten have met 61 times in the game.

Numbers game

1923:

The first meeting, in the Rose Bowl, between Penn State and USC. The Trojans won, 14-3.

92,542: Rose Bowl Stadium capacity. Thursday's game is sold out.

2: Times Penn State has not appeared on TV in its last 179 games.

- Compiled by Gary Miles