So you’re saying there’s a chance?
No. 7 Penn State’s chances of getting into the College Football Playoff took a major hit this past Saturday, as a 39-38 loss at Ohio State put the Nittany Lions in a tough spot when it comes to winning the Big Ten.
While Ohio State got into the Playoffs last year despite losing to Penn State and not getting into the Big Ten title game, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit thinks that the reverse is unlikely to happen this year.
Here’s what Herbstreit said. (via 247Sports)
“Ohio State had Oklahoma last year as their trump card… Penn State doesn’t have that. They don’t have that non-conference win. When you look at the Big Ten and who they still have to play, the best thing that Penn State can do is blow people out. If you go by the numbers and you look at the different comparisons, they will lose almost all of those arguments. So the best thing they can do is blow people out by 40 or 50 points if they can. And then have other teams lose in front of them. That’s their best hope at this point.”
Herbstreit makes a very good point here. Penn State’s out-of-conference schedule of Akron, Pittsburgh, and Georgia State doesn’t give them any sort of trump card like Oklahoma did last year for Ohio State. To make things even weirder, Ohio State’s loss this year to Oklahoma doesn’t affect them too much either, as the out-of-conference loss has no effect on the Big Ten standings.
Penn State also isn’t helped by their relatively unimpressive remaining schedule. They do face a good Michigan State team this upcoming weekend, but the final three games against Rutgers, Nebraska, and Maryland — all .500 or worse this season — won’t hold up while teams around them are playing ranked teams or teams over .500. Oklahoma is a great example of this, as they still have Oklahoma State, TCU (which could also bode well for the Horned Frogs), and West Virginia left on their schedule.
So it’s a tough road ahead for Penn State, but as Herbstreit explains, it’s not impossible.