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Palm predicts big Penn State jump in CFP rankings

CBSSports’ Jerry Palm expects Penn State to benefit from weekend chaos and a strong schedule in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, which will come out on Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. The Nittany Lions were 20th last week, but Palm predicts the Nittany Lions will check in at No. 12 this time around.

Penn State won comfortably at home against Wisconsin over the weekend, while No. 11 Kentucky fell flat against Tennessee, No. 14 N.C. State did the same against Wake Forest, No. 16 MIssissippi State lost on the road at Alabama, No. 17 Boston College came up short against Clemson and No. 18 Michigan State fell to Ohio State. On top of that, No. 15 Florida and No. 19 Texas needed comebacks to beat South Carolina and Texas Tech, respectively.

Palm has the Nittany Lions hopping each of those teams and Syracuse, who plays one of the marquee games of the week against Notre Dame on Saturday.

The score will not indicate a blowout, but Penn State was never seriously threatened by Wisconsin after an early Jonathan Taylor long touchdown run. Strength of schedule should boost the Lions up this week. (20)

That strength of schedule he is talking about was highlighted by SBNation’s Bill Connelly this week, which has the Nittany Lions playing the nation’s seventh-toughest schedule. Connelly has Penn State ranked ninth in his S&P+ Resume rankings, one spot ahead of 9-1 Ohio State. 

Three months into the season, nobody’s played anybody, I guess. Or at least, the teams that have, have lost. The teams ranked in the top 16 in strength of schedule are a combined 81-79. Of those teams, only LSU (8-2) and Penn State (7-3) are better than 6-4.

Penn State’s remaining matchups against Rutgers and Maryland give the Nittany Lions an excellent chance of running the table and finishing 9-3 on the year. The latest bowl projections have James Franklin’s team anywhere from Arizona to Florida at this point. If Palm’s projections run true, the boost could put Penn State in a prime spot to nab a third consecutive New Year’s Six Bowl berth.

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