Penn State Football dropped to No. 16 in both the AP and Coaches poll, after a blowout loss to Michigan. They will head to a whiteout game against Minnesota in hopes of turning their season around.
Here’s a breakdown of this week’s AP Poll:
Key Movements in the Poll
Illinois was the biggest riser in this week’s poll jumping from No. 24 to No. 18 after their 26-14 win over Minnesota.
Meanwhile, Utah moved up to five spots from No. 20 to No. 15 after their upset win over USC.
Elsewhere, TCU moved up from No. 13 to No. 8 after their upset win over Top-10 Oklahoma State.
Finally, Tennessee made the most impressive jump this week rocketing up from No. 6 to No. 3 after their win over Alabama. The Volunteers also received 15 first place votes
What will it take for Penn State to move up in the poll?
The Nittany Lions have been pushed out of the Playoff and a New Year’s Six position after their ugly loss to the Wolverines.
The Minnesota game will be key to how the rest of the season shakes out.
If Penn State Football can get off the mat and defeat a solid Gopher team, there is still hope that they can finish 10-2 with an Ohio State upset at home not out of the question. If James Franklin’s team falls to Minnesota, this program is in danger of 3 straight losses and the wheels falling off like 2021.
With how many ranked matchups there are in a week and potential upsets, there will be plenty of room to move up with a win.
Key Games to watch Week 8:
No. 14 Syracuse @ No. 5 Clemson 12:00pm/ABC
The Orange will get their first real test away from the dome when they make the trip to Death Valley.
Syracuse has started 6-0, but 5 of those wins came at home with the lone away win at UConn. The Orange are led by star running back Sean Tucker who has run for 644 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Clemson has been steadily improving offensively and have gotten quality wins over Wake Forest, NC State, and Florida State to start 7-0. Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei has thrown for 1,665 yards with 17 TD’s and 2 Int’s. This game has potential to get ugly and will tell a lot about how good Syracuse actually is. Clemson opens as a 14-point favorite at home.
No. 20 Texas @ No. 11 Oklahoma State 3:30pm/ABC
Texas is coming off a scare to Iowa State over the weekend but are 5-2 and still control their destiny in the Big 12.
Oklahoma State will look to rebound after falling to TCU in overtime. Both teams still will have a say in the Big 12 title race and this game could be an elimination game for reaching that championship game. Texas enters the game as 3-point road favorite.
No. 9 UCLA @ No. 10 Oregon 3:30pm/FOX or FS1
This will be the biggest test for the Bruins to date as they make a trip to Eugene.
Oregon has rebounded nicely since their opening week blowout loss to Georgia. Both teams need this matchup to stay in the PAC 12 title race. The winner is in the driver’s seat while the loser will not have any wiggle room with the new format of the conference taking the top 2 teams. Oregon is favored by 5.5 points at home.
No. 24 Mississippi State @ No. 6 Alabama 7:00pm/ESPN
Nobody wants to play Nick Saban and Alabama after a loss. That is the task that Mike Leach and the bulldogs will look to conquer as they travel to Bryant-Denny Stadium trying to rebound after a loss of their own to Kentucky on Saturday.
This game could get ugly early if the Mississippi State offense isn’t able to move the ball and score like the games before Kentucky. Alabama opens as a 21.5-point home favorite.
No. 17 Kansas State @ No. 8 TCU 8:00pm/TBD
The Horned Frogs look to continue taking control of the Big 12 title race when they host Kansas state.
Both teams are the only two in the Big 12 that remain undefeated in conference play. TCU is coming off an impressive comeback victory over Oklahoma State. Kansas State has won 3 straight games since their upset loss against Tulane. TCU opens as a 4.5-point home favorite.
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