Penn State Football is safely inside the top-10 of the latest College Football Playoff rankings, with sights set on a New Year’s Six Bowl appearance, but the Nittany Lions’ destination could be impacted by how Championship Weekend plays out across the country.
The results of the various conference championship games could weigh on the selection committee, and impact where Penn State Football ultimately goes bowling.
Here’s a look at what to expect from this weekend’s championship game action, and how it impacts Penn State Football:
No. 11 Utah vs No. 4 USC Friday 8:00pm/Fox
This matchup will have big implications on the playoff as well as what bowl game Penn State Football goes to.
If USC wins they are in the playoff and this would most likely mean that Ohio State goes to the Rose Bowl — if the Buckeyes are even interested in a return to Pasadena, Calif., which reporting suggests Ohio State may pass on the invite which would open the door for Penn State.
If Utah wins it opens the possibility that Ohio State moves up into that 4th spot. The PAC 12 hasn’t had a representative in the playoff since Washington in 2016. USC enters the game as a 3-point favorite.
No. 10 Kansas State vs No. 3 TCU 12:00pm/ABC
This is the only top 10 matchup in this weekend’s slate but it still has huge implications for the playoff and NY6.
Obviously, if TCU wins If TCU loses there is still a chance that they stay in the top 4 ahead of Ohio State. If they lose big is where it could get interesting. Kansas State is locked into the Sugar Bowl regardless of what happens in this game. TCU enters as a 2.5-point favorite.
No. 14 LSU vs No. 1 Georgia 4:00pm/CBS
This game doesn’t have the juice that it did before LSU’s loss to Texas A&M.
Nonetheless, the Tigers still have an opportunity to win an SEC Championship and a Sugar Bowl appearance. Georgia can probably lose this game and get in but will look to hold onto their number 1 ranking heading into selection Sunday. Georgia enters as a 17.5-point favorite.
No. 22 UCF vs No. 18 Tulane 4:00pm/ABC
This game will decide which group of 5 team will make the appearance in the Cotton Bowl.
The Green Wave lost to the Knights when they played earlier this season 38-31. This could be one of the most competitive games of the weekend with a lot at stake. Tulane enters as a 3.5-point favorite.
Purdue vs No. 2 Michigan 8:00pm/FOX
This is the only power 5 championship game that doesn’t feature two ranked teams.
A testament to how much of a dumpster fire the Big Ten west was this season. Michigan will look to win its second straight Big 10 Championship and playoff appearance by taking care of the Boilermakers.
Purdue will be looking for their first Big Ten championship win since 2000. Michigan enters as a 16.5-point favorite.
No. 9 Clemson vs No. 23 North Carolina 8:00pm/ABC
This game no longer has playoff implications but still will be an intriguing matchup.
The high-powered UNC offense will face their toughest defense of the season as Clemson looks to win another ACC Championship.
The winner of this game will receive ACC’s bid to the Orange Bowl while the loser will be out of the NY6. Clemson enters as a 7.5-point favorite.