PSU news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

About

Penn State Football’s College Football Playoff Scenarios

If you love scoreboard watching, raise your hand! If you don’t, you better start enjoying the process, because Penn State won’t make the College Football Playoff without some help.

We outlined some of the Big Ten scenarios that need to happen after Saturday’s loss to Ohio State, but now that we know where Penn State stands in the eyes of the committee, we can potentially see how certain games may impact the Nittany Lions.

The best part about the season’s first (or any, for that matter) CFP ranking is that we know absolutely nothing, so these are just predictions. If you need an example, remember last year when Ohio State edged Big Ten Conference champion Penn State out of a spot in the playoff, despite the Buckeyes having lost to Penn State and not made the conference title game.

Without further adieu, here are a few scenarios that could play out over the next few weeks, with statistics from fivethirtyeight.com’s predictions generator.

Ohio State Loses To Iowa, Clemson Falls to NC State, Oklahoma Falls To Oklahoma State

I like this scenario a lot because it’s feasible. Penn State’s best chance to make the playoff is if Ohio State loses not once, but twice. After last year’s semifinal debacle, I just can’t see a scenario where the the CFP committee sends anybody besides the Big Ten champion through to the playoff, unless all conference champions somehow come into the end of the year with two losses.

Keep in mind this scenario is limited in a sense. Yes, Ohio State losing would be huge for the Nittany Lions, but nothing else matters as much if the Buckeyes don’t drop their final game to Michigan. Assuming Penn State wins out, and Ohio State loses to both Iowa and Michigan, then Penn State will book its trip to Indianapolis.

The other two major losses seen here are both quite feasible; Oklahoma showed it can lose, and faces an explosive aerial attack in Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph and James Washington Jr. Clemson is no stranger to upsets either, after falling to Syracuse at the Carrier Dome a few weeks ago. The best part about both of these matchups? They’re on the road: Clemson travels to NC State, while Oklahoma travels to Stillwater for the Bedlam clash.

Miami Falls To Virginia Tech, But Rallies To Upset Notre Dame

The rankings might not reflect the sentiment, but Miami is a very good, very much undefeated football team. We couldn’t use fivethirtyeight.com’s predictor for this one, since the Miami-Notre Dame matchup is two weeks away, but the magnitude of this one can’t be forgotten.

If Notre Dame wins out, even without a conference title, I firmly believe the Irish make the playoff. Secondarily, I also feel like an undefeated Miami cannot stay undefeated and beat Notre Dame. If that happens, expect to see Miami cruise for a potential ACC Championship showdown with — based on current standings, assuming these teams all win out — NC State, not Clemson.

Miami has a lot to gain in the next few weeks, and the ideal scenario is to have Miami head into the clash with Notre Dame with a loss on its record, but somehow find a way to rally and defeat the Irish, a result that should firmly boot the Irish from a spot in the Playoff.

Georgia Or Alabama Lose Twice

Hold off on calling me overly optimistic, but just take a look at the remaining schedules of both teams:

Alabama: 

Georgia: 

Before diving into this, it’s also entirely plausible that Georgia and Alabama win out, one beats the other in the SEC Championship game, and both make the playoffs. But, the location of these games is important. Mississippi State is no easy place to play, and quarterback Nick Fitzgerald is putting up Tebow-style numbers — and checks in at No. 6 in the conference for rushing. He’s arguably outperformed Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts this season, and I fully expect the Bulldogs to put up a fight against the Crimson Tide. If that one doesn’t happen, keep in mind that the Iron Bowl will be played at Auburn, against a feisty Tigers team that would love nothing more than to spoil everything for the Tide.

Georgia isn’t out of the woods yet, either. After steamrolling Florida, the Bulldogs host a resurgent 6-2 South Carolina team that should put up a fight. If that isn’t the case, then traveling to Auburn won’t be a cakewalk, either.

If either of these teams lose twice — and it’s almost guaranteed that they’ll drop at least one game (to each other, assuming both make it to the conference title game) — then it might be hard to keep both in the playoff.

***

Have you exhaled yet? That was a lot to take in, but if you think about it, some of this definitely could happen in the coming weeks. What exactly will it do to Penn State’s Playoff chances? Well, I’m not the one sitting in the conference center of the Gaylord Texan Resort. Only the College Football Playoff committee knows those answers, but I can guarantee you it’ll bolster Penn State’s cause. Tough road games are the constant here, and anything can happen in an upset-minded environment against an upset-minded team.

Just ask Michigan.

About the Author

David Abruzzese

David is a senior from Rochester, NY, nestled right in beautiful Western New York. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and as an avid sports fan, he passionately supports the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He is the first Penn Stater from his family, and couldn’t be prouder to represent Penn State University. In his free time, he likes to alpine ski, and play golf. You can follow him on Twitter @abruz11, and can contact him via email at [email protected]

Comments

More by David

So Long, And Goodnight: David Abruzzese’s Senior Column

It’s been a hell of a ride, folks. Senior staffer David Abruzzese rides off into the sunset with his senior column.

Saquon Barkley Mum On NFL Future; Relishes Fiesta Bowl Opportunity

DOTD: Nittany Lion Catches Pass At Fiesta Bowl

Athletics

Penn State Women’s Soccer Poised For Strong 2018 Season

Erica Dambach’s Nittany Lions return a solid combination of experience and young talent. They’re ranked No. 4 to start the season.

Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Men’s Soccer Trio, Reading United Win PDL Eastern Conference Title, Fall Short Of National Championship

Penn State Hockey’s Evan Barratt, Aarne Talvitie Participate In World Junior Summer Showcase

Student Life

Start The Semester Off Right With These Welcome Week Activities

Don your brightly-colored college shirt and officially begin your Penn State career with these Welcome Week activities.

Nike Releases New Penn State Sneakers

Penn State Parking Office Runs Into Student Permit Purchase Issues

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

Start The Semester Off Right With These Welcome Week Activities

Don your brightly-colored college shirt and officially begin your Penn State career with these Welcome Week activities.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Assessing Penn State’s Front Seven Following Tuesday’s Medical Retirements

Penn State’s defensive line rotation will be shaken up following Ryan Buchholz’s medical retirement from football, while the coaching staff is letting the linebackers duel it out during camp.

Send this to a friend