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Momentum Building Toward Penn State Rose Bowl Bid

Despite its spot behind Ohio State in the College Football Playoff rankings, Penn State football has gained serious momentum toward a Rose Bowl bid ahead of conference championship weekend.

Nicole Auerbach and Stewart Mandel of The Athletic reported Wednesday evening that the Rose Bowl is “strongly considering” selecting the Nittany Lions instead of the Buckeyes.

Ohio State appeared in the Rose Bowl following the 2018 and 2021 seasons, while Penn State hasn’t played in Pasadena since its 2016 Big Ten Championship campaign. A bid for the Nittany Lions would avoid a repeat matchup for the bowl.

Following a similar comment by college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit on the Tuesday CFP selection show, many Twitter users re-surfaced the bowl’s selection criteria. While the Rose Bowl has typically taken the highest-ranked non-playoff Big Ten and Pac-12 teams, a caveat exists.

When teams from the aforementioned conferences are ranked in a “cluster,” the bowl will select the team that creates the “best possible matchup” rather than simply the higher-ranked program. Ohio State checked in at No. 5 and Penn State sits at No. 8, which would likely constitute a “cluster.”

The Rose Bowl lists “last time a team played in the Rose Bowl Game” and “multiple appearances in recent Rose Bowl Games” as deciding factors when selecting teams from a cluster scenario. Ohio State has 16 total Rose Bowl appearances while Penn State has four.

Ohio State Rivals also reported Tuesday that the Buckeyes could potentially politick their way out of the Rose Bowl in favor of an Orange Bowl matchup with Clemson.

James Franklin said following the Michigan State game that “the Big Ten will do everything they possibly can to help all the teams within the conference get in the best situations we possibly can.”

Penn State could also secure a trip to Pasadena with a Utah win over USC, which would likely thrust the Buckeyes into the College Football Playoff and leave the Nittany Lions as the highest-ranked Big Ten team remaining in the pool. But, a Purdue win over Michigan could throw a wrench in that path.

Selection day for the Rose Bowl is Sunday, December 4, and the game itself kicks off at 5 p.m. on Monday, January 2, in Pasadena, California.

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a redshirt senior majoring in business and journalism from "Philadelphia" and mostly writes about football nowadays. You can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9 or say hi via email at [email protected]

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