What if I told you at the beginning of 2016 that Penn State had a chance to win ten or more games in three straight years and make three straight New Year’s Six bowls? You would have thought I was crazy. But believe it or not, Penn State stares that possibility in the face with just two weeks left in the regular season.
Following its win over Wisconsin last Saturday, Penn State sits at 7-3 on the season, ranked No. 14 in the College Football Playoff rankings. A win is all but guaranteed this Saturday when the Nittany Lions travel to take on Rutgers.
Then they return home to face Maryland on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. There is no reason they should not finish the season 9-3.
Penn State obviously does not control its own destiny to make a New Year’s Six bowl game but winning out strongly helps its case to get to one. To make a New Year’s Six bowl game, a team needs to finish in the top 12 of the College Football Playoff rankings.
The Nittany Lions only need to move up two spots to ensure themselves a spot in one of the premier bowl games. As we have seen every year, there is going to be chaos over the next three weeks and teams will fall.
If Penn State can take care of business the next two weeks, which they should, then they should have some cards fall their way and move up into the top 12. But what are some scenarios that could see Penn State leap into that top 12?
Syracuse is currently ranked two spots ahead of Penn State at 12 and play Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium this weekend. An Orange win would cause some chaos, but that is not what Penn State wants. Penn State wants to see Notre Dame win so the Nittany Lions can jump over Syracuse in the rankings.
Another scenario takes us right inside the Big Ten. Michigan plays Ohio State in “The Game” on November 24. A loss for the Buckeyes would drop them to at least 10-2 and maybe drop them out of the top-12, but they still have the head-to-head win over Penn State and a better record. Don’t bet on Ohio State out of the top 10.
UCF has a tough end to its season that could jeopardize the longest win streak in the nation. The Knights play Cincinnati this Saturday and USF on November 24. UCF has not looked spectacular this season, so maybe it drops a game.
Remember, if the Knights lose, another group of five team must join the top 12 in their place, but that team would likely fall behind Penn State.
When it is all set and done, there is a strong chance that Penn State will be playing in a New Year’s six bowl game by the time the season is done. Looking at how the season panned out, that is still a great accomplishment for this Penn State team, and something that can propel them to bigger things moving forward.
Gambling this season? Want to try it just to see what it feels like? Go to MyBookie.ag and use promo code ARMCHAIR25 at checkout. They will match your deposit dollar for dollar. Putting in $100? You’ll now have $200.