For the fourth time under head coach James Franklin, Penn State has finished with a top 10 ranking in the season’s final AP Poll.
Penn State came in at No. 7 behind – in order – Georgia, TCU, Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama and Tennessee. Penn State’s Rose Bowl opponent Utah, who was No. 7 entering the bowl game, finished ranked No. 10 after falling to Penn State 35-21.
The ranking officially caps a strong season for Penn State whose Rose Bowl win was their second in school history. Penn State simply took care of business this past year with Utah being the team’s lone ranked victory, but their two losses coming against playoff teams in Ohio State and Michigan, granted both by double-digit scoring margins.
Those were the only three ranked teams in the final AP Poll from the Big Ten. Although Minnesota (35), Iowa (4), Purdue (3) and Maryland (2) each received votes. The full conference breakdown goes Pac-12 (6), SEC (6), ACC (3), Big Ten (3), Big 12 (3), American (1), Independents (1) Mountain West (1) and Sun Belt (1).
Penn State finished 11-2 this season for their fourth 11-win season under Franklin. The Rose Bowl victory was their fourth bowl victory and third NY6 bowl win under him as well. This is the first time Penn State has had at least four top 10 finishes in a seven-year span since a six-year span from 1991-96.