Grow up, Lions fans

The Baltimore Sun

It's a shame that you can't major in whining at Penn State, because if you could, I contend it would be like getting a law degree from Harvard or an engineering degree from MIT. You'd be immediately recognized as the cream of your profession.

Few things in college football annoy me more than when fan bases kvetch about their place in the Bowl Championship Series rankings before the season even ends, but the grouchiness has already begun in Happy Valley after Texas Tech leapfrogged the Nittany Lions with its upset of Texas this past weekend. There is already a growing sentiment that somehow Penn State deserves this shot because it might be Joe Paterno's last hurrah and that it would be unfair if a school with so little tradition earned the invite instead.

The argument might have more merit if Ohio State hadn't embarrassed the Big Ten with two weak performances in the national championship game the past two years. Winning the Big Ten is like winning American Idol. It's a neat accomplishment, but it doesn't mean you're suddenly Bob Dylan, or even, arguably, John Mayer.

To finish the season undefeated, Texas Tech has to beat No. 8 Oklahoma State, then go into Norman and beat No. 6 Oklahoma. The Red Raiders would also likely have to beat No. 13 Missouri in the Big 12 championship game.

Penn State has to beat Iowa, Indiana and No. 21 Michigan State.

In all likelihood, Texas Tech will lose one of those games, and Penn State fans will get their wishes. But if the Red Raiders win out, the whining should cease. At the very least, blame Ohio State for making the Big Ten look like the SEC's junior varsity, and play a tougher out-of-conference schedule.

Better yet, start lobbying for a playoff.

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