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Penn State Football: Bowl Projections Tab Alabama, Oregon and Others Against Nittany Lions

by on December 04, 2019 3:25 PM

With bowl season just around the corner and conference championships this weekend there is only one remaining College Football Playoff ranking before postseason destinations are announced.

Where could Penn State go? It depends who you ask, but the prevailing assumption is that the Nittany Lions will end up in Pasadena for a second Rose Bowl appearance in four years.

That's good news for Penn State, the bad news, everything is out of the Nittany Lions hands, paws, this weekend with their regular season on the books and now ranked 10th in the nation.

All of these bowls require a certain arrangement of results from this weekend's games in order to happen. The clearest path is the Rose Bowl, explained below. The rest will become more clear as results roll in.

(LA) Rose Bowl: Oregon or Utah (ESPN, Yahoo and 247 Sports)

Utah only makes an appearance here because ESPN assigns two writers to do predictions in the same story. Otherwise the general consensus is that Oregon is headed to the Rose Bowl. For Penn State to make it the Nittany Lions will need help from Ohio State in the form of a big Buckeye victory over Wisconsin. The Rose Bowl is obligated to take the Big Ten title winner if that team doesn't make the playoffs, and since Wisconsin would need a lot of help to sneak in, even with a win over Ohio State, the Badgers would almost certainly end up at the Rose Bowl as Big Ten title winners. 

The Rose Bowl -generally- takes the highest ranked available Big Ten team and since Wisconsin might still stay ahead of Penn State in the rankings, even following a loss, Ohio State winning by a big margin will help the Nittany Lions' cause the most if Penn State needs Wisconsin to fall behind it in the rankings.

(Tampa) Outback: Auburn (CBS)

I'm probably in the minority here but this would be an interesting addition to Penn State's upcoming home-and-home series with Auburn. Who needs Pitt when you can play the Tigers instead of the Panthers? Or something. In any case this is not an overly exciting location relative to some of the other options but might be a more entertaining mini-series in the long run with these teams meeting again in the regular season not too far down the road.

(Orlando) Citrus: Alabama (SI)

(More on this here.)

Honestly this would be the most fun of all the trips. Forget the prestige of the Rose Bowl, Penn State and Alabama play once every two decades these days. Take your mandated classic football rivalry restart and enjoy it. Normally a team doesn't go to the same bowl twice in a row but there are exceptions to this rule that involve a lot of fine print. Mostly, who cares, does anyone say no to Penn State/Alabama? Considering the precedent here, it would be interesting to see which players from Alabama might sit this one out, but that's several bridges away right now. Michigan might get the nod here if the bowl wants to avoid repeats.

(Miami) Orange: Virginia (Bleacher Report)

Does this count as the second game in Penn State's long forgotten home-and-home series with UVA? Miami might be the most enjoyable location of the bunch (Sorry LA) but Virginia feels like the least interesting opponent even as probable ACC runners up. All told there are worse things than a week in Miami and Penn State isn't going to turn down a slightly less daunting path to 11 wins.



Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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