Penn State had an easy win Rueger on Saturday. The Lions overcame a slow start and the early Scarlet Knights eventually led to them rolling up 436 yards in total offense while holding the hosts to just 167 yards in a dominating 55-10 win.
“I have a lot of respect for Coach (Greg) Schiano and Rutgers,” Penn State coach James Franklin said after the win. “You play hard. We’re getting better. We’re getting better every week. That’s really your goal, try to get better every week – at home, on the go, conference opponents, whatever it may be. I think we do. I think we’re getting better every week.
“We have a lot of people playing, a lot of people getting replays, which always makes me feel good as a head coach.”
Not every team in the top-25 can say the same thing. A college football playoff contender lost. A few others singled out Nail Biters as huge favorites. And a key PAC-12 result, which came after many Penn State fans had gone to bed, will shake this week’s selection committee top-25.
We’re still anywhere from 24 to 48 hours away from national pundits releasing their latest bowl projections ahead of Tuesday night’s new CFP top-25. But before all that, let’s take a little taste of what’s in store for us below.
The only thing we can say with confidence at this point is this: Don’t book plane tickets or hotel rooms at a bowl venue just yet. With two weeks to go before selection Sunday, it’s clear where the Lions might end up. But here is the summary.
Where will Penn State end up in the postseason?
A New Year’s Six Bowl is certainly still in play. Penn State has not participated in any of these since 2019. It could find its way into the Orange Bowl (December 30, Miami), Cotton Bowl (January 2, Dallas), or Rose Bowl (January 2, Pasadena, Calif.) based on how things play out. Let’s break down each scenario:
- The Orange Bowl is probably the longest shot on the board. It provides an ACC school versus the top-tier SEC or Big Ten program. Right now it looks like there are too many SEC teams ahead of Penn State to get into this game. Where the selection committee ranks Tennessee after his upset blowout loss South Carolina is a factor here.
- How did Penn State make the Rose Bowl? Quite simply: both State of Ohio and Michigan finish in the college football playoffs. A top 4 showdown is on deck on Saturday. The two sides are meeting in Columbus for this year’s edition of The game. If the result is close, the loser who has a loss could still finish in the last four due to other results. U.S.C and Clemson are two other one-loss teams that will fight for that spot, assuming Georgiathe Big Ten champion and TCU all finish undefeated.
- The Cotton Bowl is Penn State’s most likely sixth chance of the new year. It has to be the highest rated CFP top 25 team without a NY6 bowl pitch to get there. Again, it matters where the Lions compare to Tennessee in this weekend’s standings. The same goes for what the committee does with it Oregon after it hit Utah in a battle of the top 12 teams on Saturday. U.S.C will also rise in the rankings. and Washington moving up but will still be behind the lions. All in all, however, it will tell us a lot about how places 7-14 are developing. Of course, whoever goes to the Cotton is playing a group of five enemy. That will be either Tulane or UCF.
Finally, yes, a 10-win Penn State team could still come out of the NY6 mix. If so, the Lions will be in Orlando at the Citrus Bowl on January 2nd. Some will call this this week’s most likely scenario. However, here we see the Cotton Bowl as the most likely location.
Stay tuned for a roundup of this week’s bowl projections from national experts, as well as the latest CFP top 25.