Penn State came is as the sixth-most entertaining team in college football in ESPN’s postseason Watchability rankings.
Surprisingly, the Nittany Lions actually moved down from their preseason ranking of No. 4 in this same category. The rankings were based on five different factors named after celebrities and college football, ranging from the “Steve Spurrier factor” which evaluates how exciting a team’s offense is to the “Hugh Freeze factor” which takes any scandals/controversy surrounding teams into account.
The five teams that finished ahead of James Franklin’s Nittany Lions were Oklahoma State, UCF, Florida Atlantic(!), Clemson, and Oklahoma. Of those five, only two — Clemson and Oklahoma State — finished ahead of Penn State in the preseason Watchability poll.
UCF leap-frogged the Nittany Lions after an undefeated season saw it win the American Athletic Conference and clinch a berth in the Peach Bowl against Auburn, while Lane Kiffin is mainly responsible for Florida Atlantic’s rise into the top five of these rankings.
Regardless, Penn State remained in this poll throughout the season mostly because of offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, star tailback Saquon Barkley, and quarterback Trace McSorley’s knack for going for it all in the passing game.
Whether Barkley was running for 69-yard touchdowns on direct snaps or doing his best Trace McSorley impression, he alone could have earned Penn State a spot on this list. McSorley and the rest of the offense certainly helped this cause; Joe Moorhead’s creativity in play calling also gave Nittany Lion fans even more excitement throughout the 2017 season.
The sixth-most exciting team in college football will get to play one more game this season. The Fiesta Bowl against No. 11 Washington kicks off at 4 p.m. December 30.