Last week was an interesting one as far as what Penn State wanted to happen goes. Illinois lost to Michigan State which was a good thing. But LSU upended Alabama which has now created this two-loss SEC monster ahead of the Nittany Lions. As we’ve mentioned here before, Penn State should want the least amount of two-loss teams as possible — especially when they are of the SEC variety.
Still though, Alabama’s loss combined with Tennessee’s loss to Georgia has now ever-so-slightly creaked open the “Rose Bowl” door for the Nittany Lions. There would need to be a number of things to go right for Penn State to make the Rose Bowl:
- Ohio State and Michigan need to make the College Football Playoff, which I’m not exactly sure is something that Penn State fans should be rooting for even if it means the Nittany Lions go to the Rose Bowl.
- One-loss Michigan/Ohio State would have to be ranked higher than all but one of the Big 12 Champ, the Pac-12 Champ, the ACC Champ, and a likely one-loss Tennessee.
So we are working with a very small percentage here, but as far as cool things to end the season with, a 10-2 Penn State squad going to the freaking Rose Bowl is high up there for me.
No. 9 Alabama (7-2) over No. 11 Ole Miss (8-1)
This is a tough one, but I think the move is to root for the Crimson Tide. Yes, that would create a second two-loss SEC team, but as shown in the ranking, the College Football Playoff committee certainly doesn’t respect the Rebels. A sound loss at the hands of Alabama should drop them below Penn State (provided it wins) for good.
No. 13 Utah (7-2) over Stanford (3-6)
So last week I talked about how it’s difficult to know what exactly to root for in the Pac-12 because USC, UCLA, and Utah have all beaten each other which makes it messy. A week later, and with a Rose Bowl as the prize, I think it’s become clear: Utah, Pac-12 champions. They have that out-of-conference loss to Florida which means that even with a conference title, they will likely be on the outside looking in of the CFP.
Now, is it likely that the Utes win the Pac-12? Not really. They’d have to beat Oregon at Autzen Stadium, and then beat one of USC, UCLA, or Oregon in the conference championship game. That just doesn’t seem too realistic, but at this point, it would be the best case for Penn State.
No. 25 Washington (7-2) over No. 6 Oregon (8-1)
I know Oregon got blown out by Georgia in Week 1, but they could potentially boasts wins over UCLA, Utah, and USC come the end of the season, while holding the Pac-12 title and a 12-1 record. If that happens, I just really don’t think the College Football Playoff committee could hold them out — right?
No. 18 Texas (6-3) over No. 4 TCU (9-0)
It’s clear the committee doesn’t really like TCU, as they had to begrudgingly move them up to No. 4 off the losses of Tennessee, Alabama, and Clemson. Obviously, the best case scenario is TCU losing twice, but I think we’ll see them take quite the drop even with one loss.
Louisville (6-3) over No. 10 Clemson (8-1)
The ACC was dealt a big blow to their College Football Playoff hopes with Clemson’s poor performance against Notre Dame. Given that the Tigers dropped all the way to No. 10, it’s hard to see them make the ground back up to break into the Top 4. Still, root for another Clemson loss.
Wake Forest (6-3) over No. 15 North Carolina (8-1)
As we talked about last week, North Carolina is just hanging out with its one loss. Ideally, that one loss turns into two losses before they make the ACC title game. On the road at Wake Forest, while not the toughest matchup, is definitely one that could see the Tar Heels fall.
Arkansas (5-4) over No. 7 LSU (7-2); Missouri (4-5) over No. 5 Tennessee (8-1)
This is obvious.
Arizona (3-6) over No. 12 UCLA (8-1); Colorado (1-8) over No. 8 USC (8-1)
Extremely unlikely either of these upsets happen, but hey, they would be good things for Penn State.