The goal for Penn State this season is to make it to the College Football Playoff, not just any bowl game.
Ok, that’s the goal every season.
But this year, many feel that it’s the best chance Penn State’s had of being one of the final four since the current format debuted in 2014, which was also the year James Franklin took over as coach.
Led by the No. 1 ranked defense in the country, Penn State’s 6-0, ranked No. 7 and has won its games by an average of more than 36 points. PSU’s biggest game of the season thus far— and maybe the biggest of the Franklin era— is coming up this Saturday in Columbus. Penn State takes on No. 3 Ohio State, a program its beaten just once in nine tries under Franklin. Penn State also hasn’t won in Columbus since 2011, when Tom Bradley was the interim coach. Beating Ohio State would go a long way toward getting Penn State to the College Football Playoff for the first time.
But as of now, College Football Insider Brett McMurphy of The Action Network has PSU outside of the playoff.
In his latest projections, McMurphy has Penn State playing North Carolina in the Orange Bowl. The only Big Ten team he has in the playoffs— the league sent two last season— is Michigan.
My new @ActionNetworkHQ bowl projections. @CFBPlayoff: UGA-FSU, Michigan-Washington; Cotton: Texas-Ohio St; Orange: Penn St-UNC; Peach: Bama-OU; Fiesta: Oregon-Air Force; Gasparilla: James Madison (yes JMU!) vs. Memphis; Citrus: Ole Miss-Iowa ⤵️https://t.co/CG1103ZkoA
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) October 16, 2023
McMurphy has coach Jim Harbaugh’s team winning its third straight Big Ten championship and making its third straight Playoff trip, this time taking on Washington in the Rose Bowl, which Penn State won last year.
He has Ohio State playing Texas in the Cotton Bowl.
For what it’s worth, the Action Network has Penn State as an 8-point favorite over Drake Maye and UNC.