Despite posting its second consecutive undefeated, untied season, the Nittany Lions did not have a shot at the national championship. President Richard Nixon said that he would consider the winner of the December 6 matchup between the Texas Longhorns and the Arkansas Razorbacks, then ranked at the top of the polls, and the real voters do not seem to have differed. At the time, national champions were selected before bowl games were played. Paterno, at the 1973 commencement, was quoted saying, "I'd like to know how could the president know so little about Watergate in 1973 and so much about college football in 1969?" Then Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer, got the White House's attention with Penn State's 2 season undefeated streak. A White House assistant called Paterno to invite him and the team to the White House to receive a trophy for their accomplishment. Paterno has stated many times that he responded with, "You can tell the president to take that trophy and shove it." 
Penn State declined an invitation to play the Texas/Arkansas winner in the Cotton Bowl Classic, instead playing an inferior sixth ranked Missouri in the Orange Bowl, which they won 10-3, while Texas beat Notre Dame 21-17.