The Nittany Lions are ranked #7 in the first College Football Playoff rankings, released today on ESPN. The ranking comes after Penn State dropped its first game of the season against Ohio State, but still sits at 7-1 (4-1 in the conference) on the season.
Also in the rankings are former opponent Ohio State (#6), future opponent Michigan State (#24), and undefeated Wisconsin (#9), who sits behind the Lions in the rankings despite being undefeated. Notre Dame’s also in there at number 3, with the best loss in all of college football - and a really tough schedule to back it up.
Of note in these first rankings of the season: no team who started off the season number one has won the college football playoffs. In the first year, Ohio State started off at 16 in the rankings before soaring; Mississippi State (!!!) was number one. In 2015, Alabama finished the year on top after starting at number four (their opponent in the final game, Clemson, was seeded first), and last season, those two teams were flipped - though both Michigan and Texas A&M were in the initial top four (!!! again).
Anywhere between 7 and 9 wouldn’t have been that surprising for a Nittany Lion squad without a ranked win, but with all wins coming from teams that are at least .500. They’ll have a chance to move up the rankings in the coming weeks, with four weeks of winnable games ahead.