NEW YORK - The coaches for the Dec. 27 Pinstripe Bowl clearly are excited to be spending Christmas week in the Big Apple, though Boston College's Steve Addazio might have been a little more pumped than James Franklin of Penn State when the subject of food was discussed.
"If you're a foodie, and I'm a foodie, obviously - look at me - there are so many unbelievable places to go to," said Addazio, the former Temple head coach. "I spent a lot of years outside the Northeast just agonizing not being able to have a great dish of macaroni and a meatball that's meaningful. So I'm looking forward to it."
Franklin could only smile and shake his head.
"A meaningful meatball, I love it," he said.
"I don't know if you can find a bowl that's going to offer more opportunity from a cultural perspective, from an entertainment perspective," Franklin said. "There's so many things to do in New York City that's going to enrich our guys' experience. I don't care where you're from or what your background is. There's something here that's going to be attractive and exciting for all our players."
Mark Holtzman, the bowl's executive director, listed some bowl-week activities as a trip to Little Italy, a bus tour at night, a visit to the 9/11 Memorial, ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, a morning trip to FAO Schwarz before the famous toy store opens to the public for the day, and Christmas night at the Radio City Christmas show.
The Nittany Lions and the Eagles give the management of the New York Yankees, who operate the game, two longtime Northeast rivals, which means a probable sellout. Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour said the Lions already have sold their initial allotment of 7,500 tickets and will continue to ask for more.
Franklin said the Pinstripe Bowl is a good fit for the Nittany Lions as they return to postseason play after a two-year absence resulting from NCAA sanctions.
"It probably makes sense for where we're at and what we're trying to do in terms of building the program," he said. "On a lot of levels, being here in New York, being here at the Pinstripe Bowl, playing at Yankee Stadium, is probably the right thing at the right time."
Addazio said the game was big for both programs and their roots in the Northeast.
"This is a Northeastern event," he said. "For us to come here and play this game in this environment . . . hopefully the snow comes down after we get everybody in the stadium and then we just bang each other around. You can't get a better matchup – venue, programs, character, all A-1."