After beating Rutgers 27-6 Saturday at Beaver Stadium,Penn State moved to No. 11 in the Coaches Poll and No. 11 in the AP Poll.
Penn State’s still the third-highest ranked team in the Big Ten behind— you guessed it— Ohio State and Michigan.
Those are the teams that were responsible for Penn State’s only two losses last season and, so far, are the only teams that have beaten Penn State this year, too. Ohio State beat Penn State 20-12 in Columbus Oct. 21 and Michigan did the same in Happy Valley three weeks later, 24-15. Ohio State stayed at No. 3 in both polls and Michigan No. 2.
In losing to Michigan last week, Penn State lost its chance to win the Big Ten— which it hasn’t done since 2016– and make the College Football Playoff— which it hasn’t done ever. Now, the best Penn State can hope for is a New Year’s Six bowl game. PSU’s played in four of those since James Franklin took over as coach in 2014. The most recent one was last season’s Rose Bowl, where Penn State beat Utah 35-21.
To get to a New Year’s Six game, Penn State must beat Michigan State next week. Sparty’s 4-7 and won’t be bowl eligible for the second start season after going 11-2 in 2021. 2021 was the last year Michigan State beat Penn State and also the last time Penn State played in East Lansing. Penn State beat Michigan State 35-16 for last season’s Land Grant Trophy.
That beautiful block of wood will be on the line Black Friday, but the game won’t be in East Lansing.
It will be in Detroit at Ford Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 on NBC.