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Penn State Fan Rooting Guide: Week 5

Sorry for the jinx.

NCAA Football: Maryland at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The month of September is coming to a closer, and somehow Penn State is undefeated and ranked No. 11. That means it is time we put the cart waaaaaaaay before the horses and start dissecting what other big-time college football matchups could mean for Penn State’s College Football Playoff hopes.

This definitely won’t jinx Penn State. Nope. No way.

No. 14 Ole Miss over No. 7 Kentucky

While it’s likely that whoever wins this game will be ranked over Penn State come Sunday afternoon, I think it makes more sense to root for Ole Miss because their schedule the rest of the way is a bit tougher. The Rebels have @LSU, @Texas A&M, Alabama, and @Arkansas during an upcoming four game-stretch, meaning a loss (or multiple) are likely.

No. 20 Arkansas over No. 2 Alabama

This is just as simple as rooting for the team with one-loss over the team with no losses. Alabama does have Texas A&M and @Tennessee the next two weekends, so this three-week stretch for them will be paramount. They only face one other ranked team — Ole Miss — in their final five games.

No. 16 Baylor over No. 9 Oklahoma State

Same idea as above: Baylor has one loss, while Okie State has zero losses. The best case scenario for Penn State would be for the Big 12 to just beat up on each other. A two-loss champion from that conference would be ideal.

No. 10 NC State over No. 5 Clemson

The schedules are about equal the rest of the way for both teams. NC State has Florida State, @Syracuse, and Wake Forest left, while Clemson has @Florida State, Syracuse, and @Notre Dame remaining. I think this one comes down to the College Football Playoff committee likely not having as much respect for NC State as they would Clemson. The Tigers, given their decade-long run, could be given the benefit of the doubt in certain situations. I don’t think that would be the case with NC State.

No. 21 Minnesota over Purdue

Penn State wants Minnesota to be ranked as highly as possible come October 22. Root for the Golden Gophers.

No. 3 Ohio State over Rutgers

Figuring out what to root for with Ohio State is interesting. On one hand, if we are being honest with ourselves, Penn State will likely lose to Ohio State on October 29. If we move forward with that notion, what’s more likely: Ohio State being undefeated or the Buckeyes slipping up two more times? In my opinion, it’s the former so it might make more sense for Penn State fans to root for Ohio State to go 13-0, with the hopes that Penn State’s 11-1 lone loss is to an undefeated Buckeyes squad.

No. 4 Michigan over Iowa

Like Ohio State, Michigan has an interesting case too, but the timeline is more unlikely: Penn State losing to Michigan but beating Ohio State. If that were to happen, you’d hope for Michigan to lose twice in the Big Ten — once to the Buckeyes and once somewhere else. “At Kinnick” could be the somewhere else, but again, that scenario seems unlikely. Probably better for the Wolverines to go into the Penn State affair undefeated.