CFB Playoff Committee explains Penn State football’s ranking

Tanya Simon
November 7, 2019

Oklahoma was ranked ninth in the playoff committee's initial rankings Tuesday night. Penn State (8-0)5. Clemson (9-0) 6. No. 2 matchup - just the 26th in the regular season in the 83-year history of the poll and the first since LSU and Alabama matchup in 2011. Florida (7-2)11. Auburn (7-2) 12.

The 8-0 Gophers landed at No. 17, about where expected. Baylor (8-0) 13. Wisconsin (6-2) 14. The Nittany Lions were rewarded for that strong schedule, and James Franklin doesn't have to politick like 2016. The Buckeyes also have, by far, the best chance to win the national championship this year, so again, the top spot it not surprising.

"When you look at Penn State's résumé, with wins over (No. 15) MI and (No. 18) Iowa, those are marquee wins", said committee chairman Rob Mullens, who is also Oregon's athletic director. In turn, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney can play the disrespect card. But with Oklahoma fighting to be the Big 12's representative and the Big Ten having two other realistic playoff teams, anything less than wild upsets will keep these two on a distant bubble. Of course, there is a huge game this weekend that could change the outcome on the final four, Alabama versus LSU.

They know that one slip-up will likely leave them no path to the CFB Playoff, so every single week will be important for them to show up and play at a high level from here on out.

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One former Tigers star isn't concerned with the first rankings, though. Ohio State and Penn State are ranked one and four and will meet on November 23. That's when the real fun begins. Those teams could include teams such as No. 6 Georgia (7-1), No. 7 OR (7-1), No. 8 Utah (7-1) and No. 9 Oklahoma (7-1). Two really, really good teams, both strong defensively, but in the end, what it came down to, and again, much debate, Penn State has the marquee wins over 14th-ranked MI and a road win at 18th-ranked Iowa, and a non-conference win over Pitt, which is a good win at this point.

Though Clemson and its fans could take the rankings as a sign of disrespect, there is no real reason for them to panic yet.

Coming into the season, it appeared the conference was already being overlooked.

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