Penn State and Boston College first met in 1949, a 32-14 Nittany Lions win in State College, Pa. While Penn State leads the series, 19-4, Boston College has won the last three contests.
"This is one of those old rivalry games; two Northeast powers battling each other. It's just so exciting," Boston College head coach Steve Addazio said. "I'm happy for our kids. When we announced it, the whole place went bananas. That's where our kids wanted to go. Ninety percent of our team is New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio. They all understand the Penn State-BC thing."
This game will mark Boston College's 24th bowl game appearance and the school's second consecutive under Addazio. The Eagles finished the regular season with a 7-5 record.
Penn State, led by James Franklin in his first year as head coach at the school, finished the season with a 6-6 record. Making their 45th bowl appearance, the Nittany Lions have 27 postseason victories, tied for the fourth-most nationally and leading all Big Ten Conference teams.
"It's exciting because I know how important this is for our program," Franklin said. "To get to prepare to play BC, to continue to get better as team, it's invaluable."
With New York City in close proximity to both Penn State and Boston College, each school expects a large contingent of fans to make it to the Bronx for the game.
"Where's better to be at Christmas than New York City? It's got it all. Our alums, our fans will be there to support the game, it'll be a sold-out crowd. I'm just excited," Addazio said. "I couldn't be more happy about this matchup, this bowl game, and we're honored. The Yankees picked us to be there, and it means the world to our players."
Franklin echoed those same sentiments.
"This season has allowed us many unique opportunities," he said. "Now we are going to be able to have a strong presence with fans, alumni and former players, and even their families."
As far as the game, Boston College knows that against Penn State's defense, every yard will be a battle.
The Nittany Lions are just one of two defenses that ranked in the top 10 nationally in rushing defense, total defense, scoring defense, pass efficiency defense and defensive third down conversion percentage.
Penn State is led by senior All-America candidate Mike Hull, the Big Ten Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year, who led the Big Ten with 134 tackles.
"We went against our defense for the first time on Friday in practice and seeing what they have been doing all year and the stats they have been putting up, is a wake-up call to what kind of defense we have," Eagles center Andy Gallik said. "Our defense alone is going to get us ready for Penn State. Obviously, we play against good defenses, in terms of rush defenses -- Florida State, Clemson, USC and Syracuse. Our defense is going to do a good job preparing us for sure."
Franklin is most concerned about stopping Boston College's running game and the tandem of quarterback Tyler Murphy and running back Jon Hilliman.
Murphy's 1,079 rushing yards at quarterback in '14 marked the highest single-season total in ACC history. Hilliman established the school's all-time rookie record for rushing attempts (185) this year. His 12 rushing touchdowns were second-best in the conference.
"With a wildcat offense and a mobile quarterback, it's unlike anything we've faced this season," said Franklin.
The 2014 New Era Pinstripe Bowl will be the first in the bowl's history to feature teams from the Big Ten and ACC.
"When we found out that the Pinstripe Bowl was an option against Penn State, we just felt like that was a matchup and a place that we really wanted to be because it would be an unbelievable experience," Murphy said. "You have two teams that have had a lot of success in the Northeast. It's two programs that are really trying to turn the tide. A bowl victory would be big, so there is a lot at stake."