With the regular-season now but a memory, Penn State and its fans are now in “wait and see” mode, and although most bowl projections have PSU going to a New Year’s Six game.
But some things still need to happen for Penn State to make it there, and here’s a breakdown of what PSU fans should be rooting for so those NY6 Bowl Projections come true.
WASHINGTON BEATING OREGON WOULD HELP PENN STATE
The PAC-12 title game, scheduled to kickoff the Power Five championships Friday night, might not matter for Penn State’s New Year’s Six chances. If No. 3 Washington wins, it will punch its ticket to the College Football Playoff, while Oregon, who some have projected as a bowl game opponent for PSU, is a good bet to play in the Fiesta Bowl. If Oregon wins, Washington’s probably out of the playoff and in the Fiesta Bowl while Oregon would give itself a chance to sneak into that fourth playoff spot.
Either of those scenarios would be OK for Penn State, but the worst thing that can happen is Oregon winning the PAC-12 but not being selected for the playoff, thus putting two PAC-12 teams in NY6 games. If Washington wins, that won’t happen, so that’s what PSU fans should be pulling for.
MICHIGAN BEATING IOWA WOULD HELP PENN STATE
Rooting for Michigan is never fun for Penn State fans, but they must do so this week. If Iowa, the three-touchdown underdog, does the unthinkable, it will steal an NY6 bid as the Big Ten champion.
Michigan would still go to an NY6 game at 12-1.
Iowa HC Kirk Ferentz said in his weekly presser Tuesday that, by winning, his team “might screw things up” for the College Football Playoff. It “might screw things up” for PSU, too.
FLORIDA STATE BEATING LOUISVILLE WOULD HELP PENN STATE
As far as the ACC title game goes, the best possible scenario for Penn State fans would be for Florida State to beat Louisville, make the College Football Playoff and knock Louisville out of NY6 consideration. It must be said that the fact that FSU won’t have its star QB, Jordan Travis, for the rest of the season due to injuries complicates the matter a bit, as it could lead to the committee leaving an undefeated Florida State out of the playoff due to not wanting to see a backup QB leading one of the top four teams (which this writer thinks would be totally unfair to Florida State. It should be a “win and in” situation, but might not be.
An undefeated Florida State taking an NY6 bid would complicate things a bit for PSU, but the worst possible outcome is Louisville winning. In that case, Louisville goes to the Orange Bowl as ACC champion, and Florida State likely gets an NY6 at-large bid at 12-1. Regardless of what the committee decides, Penn State fans should be rooting for FSU.
TEXAS BEATING OKLAHOMA STATE WOULD HELP PSU
A similar situation to the ACC title game. Texas might or might not get to the playoff by winning.
But should Texas lose, there’s still a good chance it snags an at-large over Penn State (Texas has by far the best win, having beaten Alabama) while Oklahoma State would automatically go to an NY6 game. In any case, Mike Gundy’s team would cause some problems for Penn State by winning.
GEORGIA BEATING ALABAMA WOULD HELP PSU
Like the PAC-12 game, the SEC Title Game might not matter too much on Penn State’s end. If No. 1 Georgia wins, it will walk into the playoff with Alabama likely getting an at-large bid. If No. 8 ‘Bama wins… oh boy.
Two things could happen. ‘Bama could go to the Playoff over Georgia, or both teams could go in, thus complicating the whole picture. It’s really hard to say if two SEC teams making the playoff would be good or bad for Penn State, so to play it safe, PSU should be rooting for Georgia.