Saturday afternoon, the Penn State Football returns to the field to face Rutgers, following a 24-15 home defeat against the Michigan Wolverines that saw Penn State
’s Big Ten title and College Football Playoff hopes disappear.
However, even if the Nittany Lions
did not reach the lofty expectations set for the program at the beginning of the season, PSU can reach the 10 win mark in the regular season for the 5th time in 10 years under James Franklin
and reach their second consecutive New Year’s 6 Bowl game.
Sitting at number 12 in this week’s College Football Playoff ranking, Penn State Football will need to do more than just win out to secure another prestigious New Year’s 6 Bowl invitation.
Here are two things that can help Penn State’s New Year’s 6 Bowl chances this week:
1. Win, with style points
With two losses now, Penn State Football no longer has the luxury of any wiggle room to stay in contention for the non-playoff New Year’s 6 Bowls.
Winning the final two contests of the season is obviously the first step toward securing the Nittany Lions place among the top bowl selections.
However, with only two games left against non-ranked opponents, and with how close the gap is to other teams fighting for the final few New Year’s 6 slots, Penn State will need to win the games against Rutgers and Michigan State convincingly. For better or worse, Penn State’s games against Rutgers and Michigan State will be looked at through the lenses of common opponents, since the Committee is also ranking both Michigan Ohio State who also played Rutgers (who also played Iowa) and Michigan State. Even with new offensive coordinators, Penn State cannot afford to stumble to a close or unconvincing win if the Nittany Lions want to stay ahead of Ole Miss and Oklahoma and move ahead of Oregon State, Louisville, or Missouri.
2. Get help
If the season ended today, Penn State Football would be the highest ranked team not invited to a New Year’s 6 bowl.
With 12 spots in the New Year’s 6 Bowls (including the four playoff teams), Penn State will need to be in the top 10 or 11 due to bowl tie-ins. At least one non-top 12 team will likely get a New Year’s 6 Bowl invitation, the highest ranking group of 5 team, with the autobid tie-in.
In order to secure a place in the top 10 or 11, Penn State must win convincingly, but could also use some help.
Oregon State losing either this weekend to Washington or next weekend to Oregon would greatly help Penn State’s chances to rank in the top 10 or 11 to end the season.
A loss by Louisville, Missouri, Oklahoma, or Ole Miss would also greatly help the Nittany Lion’s New Year’s 6 Bowl chances.
Penn State is in a decent position for now to secure its second New Year’s 6 Bowl birth in a row and its fifth under head coach James Franklin in 10 years. By convincingly and getting a little help over the next two weeks, the Nittany Lions should have a (relatively) exciting selection Sunday.