Penn State’s New Years Six Chances Soar After Earning No. 12 Ranking

The likelihood of Penn State reaching a New Years Six bowl game skyrocketed when the College Football Committee slotted the Nittany Lions in at No. 12 this week.

A lot will depend on the outcome of this Saturday’s rivalry week games, but as long as James Franklin’s team takes care of business at home against Maryland, a New Year’s Six bowl looks more likely than it has in previous weeks.

Here are the experts’ projections for Penn State’s postseason destination heading into the final week of the regular season:

247 Sports: Peach Bowl vs. LSU

247 Sports has Penn State headed to Atlanta for a showdown with LSU which should garner plenty of hype. Although it seems like an exciting game, it is not one I’d feel great about Penn State winning — LSU’s style of play is very similar to that of Michigan, and we all know how the Nittany Lions’ trip to Ann Arbor went down this year.

CBS Sports: Peach Bowl vs. LSU

Penn State has never appeared in the Peach Bowl, which is another intriguing aspect to this potential match-up.

Penn State and LSU haven’t met since the 2010 Capital One Bowl — the Nittany Lions defeated the Tigers 19-17 in a sloppy game at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL.

The Athletic: Citrus Bowl vs. Kentucky

Anything other than a New Year’s Six appearance for Penn State at this point would be a disappointment, and meeting up with a non-traditional football school like Kentucky would make it even worse.

The Citrus Bowl remains the most likely outcome if Penn State fails to reach a New Year’s Six bowl. The Athletic projects that James Franklin’s program will take on Kentucky, which may have fallen out of New Year’s Six contention following consecutive losses to Georgia and Tennessee.

SBNation: Fiesta Bowl vs. LSU

SBNation has Penn State returning to a familiar location against — you guessed it — LSU. The Nittany Lions beat Washington in last year’s Fiesta Bowl, and they won all six of their previous trips to the desert.

Penn State has only met the Tigers twice in program history, but won both meetings. The two teams first met in the 1974 Orange Bowl — Penn State emerged victorious by a final score of 16-9.

ESPN: Outback Bowl vs. Kentucky; Fiesta Bowl vs. Florida 

Like The Athletic, ESPN’s Mitch Sherman thinks Penn State will take on Kentucky, but he projects the two teams to meet in the Outback Bowl on January 1 in Tampa, FL. The Wildcats were a dark horse candidate to win the SEC East and get a shot at Alabama in the conference’s title game, but a home loss to No. 5 Georgia squashed any and all of those hopes.

Meanwhile, Kyle Bonagura pegged James Franklin’s program into a New Year’s Six showdown with Florida at the Fiesta Bowl. The Gators also looked like a candidate to win their division and get a shot at Alabama in the conference title games, but losses to the Bulldogs, Kentucky, and LSU ended those hopes quickly.

Sports Illustrated: Citrus Bowl vs. Mississippi State

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About the Author

Brian Bachman

Brian Bachman is a freshman in the school of communications and a contributor at Onward State. He is from northern Virginia but fell in love with Penn State a few years ago and knew after his first visit he wanted to come here. If you are a fan of the SUPER BOWL 52 CHAMPION PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (!!!) or sports in general, follow him on twitter @brianbachman_. Email is [email protected].

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