In a development that could affect Penn State, the Big Ten has informed its member schools that one of its 10 bowl-eligible teams could be shut out of the postseason, ESPN.com reported Thursday.
The website said it obtained a copy of the memo, which explains that the agreement with the Orange Bowl may create a situation in which the Big Ten could be one bowl spot short.
While it does not seem likely that Penn State (6-6) would be affected because of the number of fans who traditionally accompany the team to any bowl game, the Nittany Lions and Illinois (6-6) own the worst records among eligible Big Ten teams. Rutgers and Maryland are both 7-5.
The Orange Bowl involves the highest-ranked non-champion not in the College Football Playoff from the Big Ten, SEC, or Notre Dame. No. 8 Michigan State would likely get the spot if Alabama wins the SEC championship game Saturday.
If a Big Ten team makes the Orange Bowl, the Citrus Bowl could not have a team from the conference. If only one Big Ten team is in a CFP semifinal or a New Year's Six bowl, the conference would be left with seven bowl spots it had contracted for but eight eligible teams, ESPN.com said.
- Joe Juliano