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MMQB - Can You Accept Penn State as a Non-Playoff Team?

There are increasingly few “haves” in college football

Rutgers v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Having just wrapped up the 2021 season, and looking ahead to the 2022 season, MMQB is left wondering: can you accept Penn State as a non-playoff team?

By that I mean more of the same that we’ve seen from the Lions? Regularly contending for New Year’s Six bowls, high-rated recruiting classes, players that attend class and graduate regularly, but always ending up with 2+ losses, and sitting on the outside of the playoffs.

Because from my armchair, I’m having a hard time envisioning the Lions making it over the hump.

This isn’t to say Penn State can NEVER make the playoffs. They probably should have made the playoffs in 2017. They were a weird loss to Minnesota away from the playoffs in 2019. Any team at any time can catch lightning in a bottle a la LSU in 2020.

But reliably? Can you say with comfort that Penn State will ever get past Ohio State more often than not? That they won’t trip up a random other game somewhere along the line?

So can you accept that Penn State is a really good, top 15/top 10 program most years, and will vie for NY6 bowls, and maybe a B1G Championship every once in awhile, without actually making the playoffs? At least not without playoff expansion?

Or do you realistically think they can push their way into the playoffs, and make regular appearances there? Perhaps they’re one player away at a key position, or just need that one weird fluky play to bounce their way for once? Do you hope against hope, despite the odds being ever NOT in the Lions’ favor?

What do you think?