Penn State’s Case For The College Football Playoff
None of this was supposed to happen.
A ho-hum season seemed on the horizon after the Lions were embarrassed in Ann Arbor. Nothing special. Nothing out of the ordinary. That is, until Oct. 22 happened. Since that fateful night in Happy Valley that saw No. 2 Ohio State fall victim to Beaver Stadium’s clutches. From that moment on, the season’s been nothing but a wild rollercoaster ride that culminated in the Nittany Lions capturing their first Big Ten Championship since 2008. The No. 7 Nittany Lions did their part, but not everything went their way on Saturday night. Clemson, who’s ranked No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings, narrowly defeated No. 23 Virginia Tech despite blowing a three touchdown lead to win the ACC title — likely securing the Tigers’ spot in the Playoff. With Alabama and Washington near locks as conference champions, all eyes fall on No. 2 Ohio State.
The Buckeyes have the better overall record, but the Nittany Lions own the head-to-head victory and the conference championship. Still, fans and pundits across the country still feel as though the Buckeyes deserve the spot over Penn State.
This is patently untrue.
James Franklin and his team might not have much to (directly) say about the Playoff and the looming decision the selection committee must face. However, I’ll go right ahead and say what’s on the mind of every Penn State fan in the country: Penn State deserves to be in the Playoff over Ohio State. If the committee winds up snubbing the Lions, questions must be raised about the legitimacy of the Playoff itself and how fair it actually is.
To reiterate, the College Football Playoff was put in place to create a more level playing field. But more importantly, the Playoff is meant to factor in elements like injuries, adversity, and all the other human elements involved with football no computer could ever comprehend. The Nittany Lions were a different team when they faced Michigan, but they showed just how good they could be against the Buckeyes. If the program’s wild past two months weren’t enough to prove a point, Saturday’s result should be icing on the cake. Penn State overcame a 21-point deficit to beat a team most penned to beat the Lions, and they did so in commanding second half fashion.
Penn State is arguably the hottest team in the country save for Alabama, and it’s proven week in and week out over the last two months that it can overcome any adversity. No matter the challenge, James Franklin and his group of young men will persevere. I’d go as far to argue that no team deserves this spot more than Penn State. If the committee selects Ohio State, then the head-to-head victory might as well be null and void.
There’s not much else to say; Penn State deserves a spot in the College Football Playoff, and its body of work furthers that notion. Your move, selection committee.