clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Rooting Interests: Big Games All Over The Place

Penn State can force a three-way tie atop the Big Ten rankings this weekend.

The S-Zone can be seen in the Penn State student section during the first half of a NCAA football game against Indiana at Beaver Stadium Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023 Dan Rainville / USA TODAY NETWORK

Penn State has entered the top 10! With Oklahoma losing last weekend, they exit the top 10, and Ole Miss and our dear Nittany Lions benefit as a result. Now, step one of the process is doing what no one other than Josh Pate thinks can happen: beat Michigan.

As with every year, now that we have College Football Playoff rankings, we’ll outline what needs to happen every week for Penn State to attain its best possible goal for the season. Here goes!

We’ll list these in order of likelihood to happen, so the first scenario has the best odds of happening, and so on. And, of course, all of these assume Penn State’s best possible regular season record, which as of today is 11-1.

In the Big Ten

Illinois over Indiana - The Hoosiers helped immensely last week, by beating a Wisconsin team that was tied for first in the West. Now, Penn State needs the West team to win, as the Fighting Illini is one of the teams the Lions played from the West.

Iowa over Northwestern - Now that Iowa is ranked, it becomes a good win for the Lions. Penn State needs Iowa to keep winning so that win looks better and better.

Northwestern over Wisconsin - As above, we need Penn State’s West counterparts to win, and Michigan/Ohio State’s to lose. This is a game that accomplishes both in one shot. And, if Braelon Allen is out for this game too, it might actually happen.

Maryland over Nebraska - Maryland has been in free fall as of late, and Nebraska just lost to Michigan State. Which team can bounce back faster? For Penn State’s sake, let’s hope it’s Maryland.

The Rest of College Football

Georgia over Ole Miss - This one may not make sense on the surface, since chaos is what we need. Yet, let’s work this through. An SEC team will make the College Football Playoff no matter what (within reason). So, Ole Miss beating Georgia likely puts them at 11-1 on the season with one of the best wins in the country. By virtue of Alabama, the Rebels likely won’t make the championship game either, so they’d have virtually no chance at another loss. Meanwhile, a 1-loss Georgia that wins the SEC is guaranteed a spot in the playoff. Some would say Georgia is guaranteed a spot in the playoff regardless. So, It’s best for as many SEC teams as possible to have two losses, assuming Georgia is in no matter what. That way, we reduce the chances of two SEC teams making the playoff.

Miami over Florida State - The Seminoles’ resume is starting to fall apart. No one on Florida State’s schedule has fewer than three losses, that’s both teams played and teams left to play (with the exception of Louisville in the championship game). A loss to Miami would be devastating to the Noles, as their resume would not be able to hold up against other 1-loss teams.

West Virginia over Oklahoma - Like Iowa, Penn State just needs West Virginia to win and find themselves at the end of the rankings. That would give the Nittany Lions two non-Michigan teams in the CFP top 25.

TCU over Texas - The last one loss team in the Big 12. A loss here would disqualify the Big 12 from contention, opening the door for multiple teams from one conference making it in.

Utah over Washington - Washington’s defense is not as good as Oregon’s so the Utes can score some. The question is whether they can slow down Michael Penix Jr. and the gang.