Pennsylvania loses to Iowa in College Football

As the evening came on Iowa City and Daniel Murray’s 31-yard field goal fluttered through the uprights, the college football world outside of the Big Ten conference let out a collective yelp. An undefeated Penn State looked like a near certainty to reach the national title game in what could be Joe Paterno’s swan song in Happy Valley. But its 24-23 loss at Iowa means that Penn State’s season will likely end in the Rose Bowl, provided that the Nittany Lions beat Michigan State at home in two weeks.

What does this mean for college football? Well, the situation that should unfold is that the winner of the Big 12 title game will play the winner of the SEC title game. The fright night possibility for college football would have been a Big Ten team getting pounded in the national title game for the third consecutive years; Ohio State has been the SEC’s whipping boy the past two seasons.

If the season ended at 7 p.m. Eastern time today, that would likely mean a title game between Florida and Texas Tech. (Alabama is slugging it out in the fourth quarter at L.S.U. as I type.)

Is that the best ending for this season for college football fans? Who deserves to play for the national title?

And now that Penn State isn’t in the conversation, they have no one to blame but themselves.