In the third week of the college football playoff rankings, the Nittany Lions find themselves at number 12 after falling to playoff contender Michigan by single digits.
Both teams that Penn State has lost two are in the top five of the rankings, with Michigan at number 3 and Ohio State at number 2. Iowa is now up to No. 16, which gives PSU a ranked win on the season (and the Hawkeyes were ranked the week that they were blanked in a whiteout).
Future Big Ten conference members Washington, Oregon, and USC are also ranked.
The committee has tipped their hand in what they hope to see come season’s end. PSU will be in the New Year’s Six bowl game, provided the team wins out. The Lions also have a shot at a second consecutive double-digit-win season with a win against Rutgers and Michigan State, and back-to-back 11-win seasons were they to defeat their bowl opponent. Next up for the team is a Rutgers squad that’s already bowl eligible with a very tough defense.