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ESPN College GameDay’s ‘Stanford Steve’ has Penn State in College Football Playoff

Penn State ranking James Franklin Franco Harris
Penn State Athletics

A member of ESPN’s College GameDay Crew has Penn State in the College Football Playoff. 

“Stanford Steve” has PSU making it, along with Florida State (ACC), Alabama (SEC) and Georgia (SEC). 

Although “Stanford Steve”– whose real name is Steve Coughlin– didn’t give any record predictions for PSU or the other three. 

But considering he doesn’t have any other Big Ten teams– namely Ohio State and Michigan– making it, it’s safe to assume that Steve has PSU winning the Big Ten as well, maybe even going undefeated. Steve’s comments raised some eyebrows on the College GameDay desk, eliciting some “wows” from the panel, but he’s hardly the only person high on Penn State. There are other prominent college football pundits who have Penn State making it to what would be its first College Football Playoff.

Expert Josh Pate, who works practically everywhere but is best known for hosting the podcast “Late Kick with Josh Pate,” has PSU sneaking in despite not winning the Big Ten East. His four are:

No. 1: Ohio State (Big Ten champ)

No. 2: Alabama (SEC champ)

No. 3: Oregon (Pac-12 champ)

No. 4: PSU (at-large).

In this scenario, Penn State would lose to Ohio State in Columbus Oct. 21 but have a chance to avenge that loss on a bigger stage. 

At-large bids don’t always happen in the College Football Playoff. The first at-large bid took place in 2016. It’s still a sore subject for plenty of Penn State fans. Despite beating Ohio State and winning the Big Ten, the Buckeyes, who had one fewer loss than PSU snuck into the College Football Playoff. Penn State was the first team out. There have been just four other instances of a team making the playoff despite not winning the conference championship. These are Alabama (2017), Notre Dame (2020), Georgia (2021) and Ohio State again (2022).

Also, Barstool Sports’ Brandon Walker has Penn State winning the national championship championship. So, there’s that. 

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