With news that the Big Ten and PAC-12 would be returning to football this fall, the Associated Press re-entered teams from those conferences into their top 25 rankings. Penn State (re)debuted at #10.
AP Top 25— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) September 27, 2020
(Big Ten teams are eligible again)
5. Notre Dame
6. Ohio State
10. Penn State
MMQB asks should Penn State be ranked #10?
This question actually has two things to consider:
First, and more in line with general polling in the first place, are the teams ahead of Penn State actually deserving of being ahead of the Lions? In the last poll before the season, the last poll that included the B1G, the Lions checked in at #7. In order, the teams ahead of PSU were Clemson, Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, and LSU. Directly following the Lions were Florida, Oregon, and Notre Dame, to round out the top 10.
I could have made an argument that LSU - who lost everybody from their championship team - could have been one spot lower, but overall I felt that #7 was about right for these Lions.
Now? I’m being honest when I say I don’t truly understand Auburn, Miami, or Texas “leap-frogging” Penn State.
Auburn looked decidedly meh in a 29-13 win at home over Kentucky. Texas needed overtime to beat Texas Tech (who in turn barely survived the Houston Baptist Huskies, 35-33 in week one).
Miami I can maybe understand. They beat a ranked Louisville squad on the road 47-34, before dropping the hammer on Florida State 52-10 this past week. I’d note, however, that Louisville has an atrocious defense, and FSU is now 0-2 with a loss to Georgia Tech on its resume as well.
But that’s just minor quibbling over ranking, which happens in every corner of college football, every week of the season.
For me, I think it has more to do with my second question, which asks what exactly is the difference a month later for Penn State? It’s not very often that you see idle teams drop in the rankings, unless the team doing the leapfrogging has been completely dominant in its wins. That not really being the case, why is Penn State now considered the #10 team in the country, when they were previously #7?
I think it has to do with the pollsters looking at a certain player no longer being on the roster, and judging that one person no longer suiting up in the blue and white is enough to cause a 3-spot drop in the polls.
But what say you? Are the Lions about right where they are? Should they be higher, because the teams ahead of them aren’t really deserving? Should they be lower, since they haven’t played at all? Should players opting out have a sizable shift in rankings, especially when the team still hasn’t played a snap this year?
Let me know what you think.