Penn State

Penn State: The Consequences of Winning

Penn State misses playoff spot despite winning Big Ten Championship 

The College Football Playoff selection committee announced their picks yesterday, keeping the top four teams from last week intact. Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Washington filled the playoff spots as the Nittany Lions stood outside looking in this year. Penn State fans, angered and confused, do not know what to do with themselves. How could Ohio State get in over the Nittany Lions?

Penn State & James Franklin
James Franklin and Penn State were left just outside the top four at No. 5 despite winning the 2016 Big Ten Championship. (Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports)

First, Penn State handed the Buckeyes its only loss in Beaver Stadium 24-21 earlier in the season. Also, they beat Wisconsin this past Saturday night, 38-31, to win the Big Ten Championship. On the other hand, Penn State suffered two losses to non-conference rival Pittsburgh by three and division foe Michigan by 39, which consequently hindered the Lions’ playoff chances. Selection committee chairman Kirby Hocutt cited the two losses and Penn State’s schedule in comparison to Pac-12 champion Washington, who won the final spot. The Huskies’ only loss was against tenth-ranked USC. ”As we looked at those key statistics from an offensive standpoint, from a defensive standpoint, from starting field position differential, the edge was to Washington,” Hocutt said. Additionally, no team with two losses has made the playoff so far.

Big Ten champion Penn State did not make the playoff but will play USC in the Rose Bowl January 2nd.  The fifth and ninth-ranked teams, respectfully, combine for what seems to be an entertaining and competitive game for both programs.

As for the College Football Playoff, Alabama takes on Washington (Peach Bowl) while Clemson faces Ohio State (Fiesta Bowl) on December 31st before heading into the National Championship January 9th. Who will win this year’s CFP?

Photo Credit: Paul Burdick

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