Penn State did everything right in Saturday’s 38-3 win over Maryland, and it again moved up in the polls. But it may not matter.
Although the Nittany Lions moved up one spot to No. 14 in the most recent Associated Press Top 25 Poll, which was released Sunday afternoon, a New Year’s Six bowl will be a lot harder to attain. With Ohio State’s surprising win over Michigan, along with a few other results that didn’t help Penn State, the consensus destination for James Franklin’s crew now appears to be the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla.
Last week, the Fiesta Bowl and Peach Bowl were floated as possible options. But, as Sports Illustrated notes, if Ohio State misses the playoff, then Michigan will likely earn a spot in the Peach Bowl and Penn State will move into the Citrus on Jan. 1.
According to the newest AP Poll, Ohio State is now ranked No. 6 while the Wolverines are No. 8.
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Once again, however, as we reiterate every week, the AP Poll in and of itself doesn’t mean a whole lot. It doesn’t count toward the playoff rankings, but it does act as a sneak preview with how the playoff committee ranks the teams.
Last week, for example, the AP Poll had Penn State ranked No. 15 — and the College Football Playoff committee had it at No. 12. The week before, the rankings were different by just two spots and, before that, just one spot.
Those CFP rankings, which directly impact the bowls, will be released again Tuesday evening.
Based on Sunday’s AP Poll, four Big Ten teams are ranked in the top 25 — No. 6 Ohio State, No. 8 Michigan, No. 14 Penn State and No. 21 Northwestern. Iowa is also receiving votes in the poll.
The full top-25 rankings are listed below:
1. Alabama (61 first-place votes)
3. Notre Dame
6. Ohio State
T-12. Washington State
14. Penn State
15. West Virginia
19. Boise State
20. Mississippi State
22. Texas A&M
24. Iowa State
25. Fresno State
Others receiving votes: Utah St. 92, Missouri 88, NC State 39, Cincinnati 33, Stanford 10, Iowa 4, Appalachian St. 1, Buffalo 1, Oregon 1.