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PSU ranked 10th in both polls; should teams a month away from playing be ranked at all?

Update: 4 p.m.

Penn State is ranked 10th in both the AP poll and the coaches poll this week.

The Nittany Lions rose three spots in the coaches poll and are in the AP poll for the first time during the regular season. This week, the AP decided it would start allowing teams from conferences that aren’t playing yet to be ranked.

Ohio State is No. 6 in the AP poll as the highest-ranked team from the Big Ten, while PSU is the second-highest ranked team. Wisconsin is No. 19 and Michigan No. 23 from the Big Ten.

There already has been and will continue to be some debate about whether teams from the Big Ten should be ranked yet, since the league is still a month away from playing its games. By the time the league kicks off, other teams from around the country will be halfway through their schedules, so it certainly gives Big Ten teams an edge to be part of the rankings without playing at all.

Pitt, meanwhile, picked up a good win over Louisville and yet dropped in the rankings from No. 21 to No. 24. That can’t be going over well in Pitt country.

Update 2:30 p.m.

Penn State is No. 10 in this week’s AP poll.

Ohio State is No. 6.

 

Penn State will be eligible for The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time during the regular season when that poll is released later today.

Teams from the Big Ten and other conferences that haven’t played yet had not been eligible for the AP poll until this week. The AP decided to reverse course on that, even though Big Ten teams won’t be playing until Oct. 24.

Should PSU and Big Ten teams (plus the Pac 12) even be ranked when the start of their season is so far away? More on that later.

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The Lions were No. 13 in the coaches poll last week. No. 3 Oklahoma lost a stunning game to Kansas State, and No. 5 LSU lost to Mississippi State. (LSU was No. 6 in the AP poll).

So, where will PSU be ranked later today?

Last week’s coaches poll ranking of No. 13 is interesting because it indicates the Lions weren’t getting as much love as one would expect from a team that was No. 7 in the preseason poll.

PSU also was No. 7 in the preseason AP poll. We’ll see in this initial poll today if the media voters have changed their minds much about the Lions.

Prediction: I’ll go with No. 8 in the AP poll and No. 10 in the coaches poll.

**There are some excellent points made in this Twitter thread below by Alan Saunders of our sister site, Pittsburgh Sports Now. Should a team be ranked when it’s still four weeks away from playing a game?

One problem with that comes when a team that has already played and won a lot of games finds itself ranked below teams that haven’t played yet. For instance, Pitt could be in that very position.

Click on the tweets below and check out the thread for some good discussion points.

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Written By

Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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