Penn State Bowl Projections Anticipating New Year’s Six Bowl Despite Michigan Loss
Now that Penn State football has lost its games against Michigan and Ohio State, its hopes of making the College Football Playoff are effectively over. However, it can still make an exciting bowl game against an interesting opponent.
Most experts and publications have the Nittany Lions returning to the New Year’s Six slate for the second year in a row. If Penn State wins out against Rutgers this Saturday and Michigan State in Detroit on Black Friday, a trip to the Fiesta, Peach, Orange, or Cotton Bowl is fairly likely.
Craig Meyer of the Detroit Free Press and CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm have Penn State playing Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl. The Rebels are 8-2, coming off a loss to Georgia, and ranked second in the SEC West. It would be Penn State’s first matchup against an SEC opponent since it defeated Auburn in 2022. The Nittany Lions have neither played Ole Miss nor appeared in the Peach Bowl.
247 Sports’ Brad Crawford also has Penn State slated for the Peach Bowl but instead facing Tulane. The Green Wave have a 9-1 overall record and are first in the American Athletic Conference, with their only loss coming at the hands of Ole Miss. Penn State’s only matchup against Tulane was a 9-6 victory in the 1979 Liberty Bowl.
The Peach Bowl is scheduled for noon on Saturday, December 30 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.
Meanwhile, ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura and Mark Schlabach disagree on where Penn State ends up. Bonagura has the Nittany Lions in the Fiesta Bowl against Oregon, while Schlabach has them in the Peach Bowl against Alabama.
Penn State has a 3-1 record against the Ducks, with the latest matchup being a 38-20 victory at the 1995 Rose Bowl. The Ducks are set to join the Big Ten next year. Oregon is 9-1 overall and second in the Pac-12 behind Washington, which handed the Ducks their only loss. They most recently won 36-27 against USC.
The Fiesta Bowl is scheduled for 1 p.m. Eastern Time on New Year’s Day at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
On the other hand, Penn State is 5-10 against the Crimson Tide. The two teams last played in 2011, when Nick Saban’s team won 27-11 at Beaver Stadium. Alabama is 9-1 overall and just clinched the SEC West title after beating Kentucky 49-21.
Penn State has been to a New Year’s Six Bowl four times under James Franklin. It most recently appeared at the Rose Bowl last season, defeating Utah 35-21. Its other Rose Bowl appearance under Franklin was a 52-49 loss to USC in 2017. Additionally, Franklin’s teams have been to the Cotton and Fiesta Bowls.
The Nittany Lions’ final home game is set for noon on Saturday, November 18, at Beaver Stadium. The game will be televised on FS1.
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Kotelnicki would be James Franklin’s sixth offensive coordinator at Penn State.
The Nittany Lions are now 11-0 all time against the Bulldogs.
The Blue-White Game returned to its traditional format in 2023.