For the first time since 1970, Penn State will not be going to the Orange, Sugar, Cotton, or Gator bowls.
The Nittany Lions, losers only once this season, to national power Kentucky, have quarterback Chuck Fusina and an explosive offense.
But a low national ranking despite their record, a scheduling change for television's sake and the impatience of the bowls selectors kept the Lions from a major bowl this year.
So coach Joe Paterno will take his troops to Arizona for tea Fiesta Bowl against the Western Athletic Conference champion, either Arizona State or Colorado State.
Bowl bids went out Saturday and Penn State was under strong consideration for the both the Orange and Sugar bowls. The Lions were idle that day because both they and Pittsburgh had agreed at ABC's request, to postpone the game for one week so it could be televised nationally.
The change in the schedule is worth about $250,000 to each school. Both Penn State and Pitt had asked the Orange Bowl and Sugar people to postpone naming their invited team until after the game.
But both bowls got impatient. The Sugar Bowl, already committed to Southestern Conference champion Alabama, opted for twice-beaten Ohio State to oppose the Crimson Tide. The Orange Bowl, which has a contract with the Big Eight, chose once-beaten Arkansas as its other team.
Pitt quickly accepted a bid to the Gator Bowl, which left Penn State with the Fiesta invitation.
"They (the Orange Bowl) picked a team that lost one game by one point to the team that is ranked No. 1," a Penn State spokesman said yesterday. "You can't blame them for that. But we feel we have as fine a team as anybody. This whole thing is out of our hands now, though it's something we can't do anything about."
Penn State was ranked eighth in the UPI poll and ninth in the AP pol l last week.
Beating Ohio State, 14-6, in the Big Game Saturday, Michigan goes to the Rose Bowl for the second straight year, but its opponent has not been selected. It will be decided this weekend when ULCA plays USC. If the Bruins win, they go to the Rose Bowl. If they lose, Washington will go.
Washington is one-half game ahead of UCLA with a 6-1 conference record; over Bruins are 5-1. A UCLA victory over USC would tie it with Washington, but UCLA beat Washington in the regular season, and would thus get the bowl bid as the Pac-8 representative.
They are already calling the Sugar Bowl the coach's bowl. Bear Bryant and Woody Hayes are the biggest attractions and best-known commodities on their teams.
Before the Ohio State-Michigan game a fan got down on the field and threw a punch at Hayes. Hayes laughed it off.
Then, in the final minutes of the game, after his team had fumbled away its last chance at victory, hayes took out his frustrations on an ABC cameraman by trying to knock him out right there for the whole world to see.
Yet, after the game, Hayes was calm and cool, Michigan coach Bo Schembechler, a former player under Hayes, came over to him and said, "I tried to say something to you earlier, but I guess you didn't know it was me," Schembechler said he told Hayes.
"Didn't know it was 'I'," Hayes said modifying the phrase.
"I'm trying to find something nice to say and he's correcting my English," Schembechler quipped.
It looks like the Cotton Bowl will be the game for the mythical national championship. Texas can remain No. 1 and unbeaten going in by defeating Texas A&M this week, while once beaten Notre Dame, its opponent in the Cotton Bowl, has one regular-season game left - against Miami.
Oklahoma State's Terry Miller closed out his college career with a 155-yard day in a losing cause to Iowa State. It was the 19th straight time he has gained 100 or more yards. He has 1,680 yards for the season. He is only the third player in NCAA history to gain at least 100 yards in all 11 regular season games. The other two were Tony Dorsett and Archie Griffin.
Southern Mississippi tailback Ben Garry because the career rushing leader in Mississippi collegiate history, gaining 126 yards against Arkansas State for a total of 3,595 yards, bettering the mark of 3,563 set by Walter Payton at Jackson State.