It was hard to miss the significance of the moment for the Penn State football program -- standing in a room at Yankee Stadium, surrounded by media, measuredly declaring that they were back.
This is "an opportunity to participate in the postseason, to bring our team back to bowl eligibility and to participate and show the world what Penn State is about," athletic director Sandy Barbour said at the news conference Tuesday announcing that the Nittany Lions would face Boston College in this year's Pinstripe Bowl, on Dec. 27 at Yankee Stadium.
Decidedly not ignoring the elephant in the room, she added: "For us at Penn State, certainly, the iconic coach Joe Paterno being from New York is not lost on us. We think that's a wonderful synergy for us and for Penn State to return to New York."
The NCAA earlier this season reinstated Penn State's postseason eligibility for the first time since 2012, making the Pinstripe Bowl the Lions' first bowl game since the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal that cast a pall on Paterno's legacy.
"It's a huge step for so many different reasons," first-year coach James Franklin said. "The seniors have been through a lot over the last couple of years, [and this is] keeping our family together and [laying] the foundations for a wonderful things to come."
Meanwhile, Boston College (7-5), coached by Steve Addazio, will be playing in its 24th bowl game. When he told his players they would be participating in the bowl, "our place exploded," he said. "Our place exploded. Our kids wanted to be here more than anything in the world. That moment was as cool a moment as I've been a part of as any football coach."
It was something of a dream for him, too.
"I had to look inside the Stadium," before coming down to the news conference, he said. "Growing up in Connecticut, coming down with my dad to Yankee Stadium, I never really thought there'd be a day where I could take the field."
Penn State (6-6) will make its 45th bowl appearance. This is the fifth Pinstripe Bowl, and the first with Big Ten and ACC opponents. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.
"This year's game is incredible," Yankees president Randy Levine said. "This is an old-school matchup between two awesome Northeast schools."