Schedule strength boosts Penn State to No. 4 in CFP rankings

Ross Houston
November 7, 2019

The Sooners would have probably been a top-six team had it not lost to Kansas State two weeks ago, but now they sit below Utah, Oregon, Georgia, Clemson, Penn State, Alabama, LSU and Ohio State in that order.

"Penn State's been very consistent", CFP chair Rob Mullens said on ESPN while highlighting the Lions' marquee wins over Iowa and MI while praising the team's defense.

The College Football Playoff committee on Tuesday released its first rankings of the season, and there are two big takeaways. But it's nice to see OR and Utah sandwiched between Georgia and Oklahoma. But with Oklahoma fighting to be the Big 12's representative and the Big Ten having two other realistic playoff teams, anything less than wild upsets will keep these two on a distant bubble.

That leaves Ohio State as the No. 1 team in the first version of the ranking.

"Penn State is No. 4 because of its strong play", Mullens said during a conference call. Clemson held on for a 21-20 victory over the Tar Heels in late September but has won every other game by at least two touchdowns.

The current CFP rankings do show us the committee does not think a ton of the extremely light schedule the ACC-dominating Tigers have played so far. The two teams will play on November 23. However, they could jump into the top-4 teams as early as next week if the loser of the Alabama-LSU game falls out. It's feasible three teams could finish undefeated, leaving a scramble one-loss teams vying for the final spot. The Wildcats join No. 9 Oklahoma, No. 12 Baylor and No. 23 Oklahoma State. The Cyclones came into the season ranked and were considered maybe the third-best team in the Big 12.

■ Penn State at Indiana - The Hoosiers are on their way to their best season in 15 years and they will face the Nittany Lions after Minnesota and before Ohio State. No. 2 matchup - just the 26th in the regular season in the 83-year history of the poll and the first since LSU and Alabama matchup in 2011. Alabama and LSU link up for a top-four showdown.

Clemson at SC.

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