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Penn State Football: Nittany Lions At No. 12 In First College Football Playoff Ranking Of Season

by on November 01, 2016 7:32 PM

Penn State football is a Top 15 program again. The Nittany Lions landing at No. 12 in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season announced on ESPN Tuesday night.

The ranking is a somewhat surprising one given that Penn State came in at No. 20 in this week's AP Poll and only just entered the Coaches Poll this past week at No. 23. According to the ESPN broadcast the Playoff Committee valued strength of schedule and wins against quality opponents. 

At 6-2, the teams the Nittany Lions have beat have won 30 games, fourth best in the nation according to Phil Steele.

"That is impressive," ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit said. "If you think about it, Penn State still, mathematically, has a chance, if things can work out, get to a Big Ten Championship Game. That's a shocker to me. That's great news for the folks in State College."

Asked about Penn State's recent entry into the Top 25 coach James Franklin was appreciative of recognition, but hesitant to say the new found attention is necessarily a good thing internally.

"I think externally it helps," Franklin said. "Internally, I don't think it does. Our focus is on Iowa, Iowa, Iowa, Iowa, Iowa, Iowa, Iowa internally. That's all we talk about. We don't talk about those other things. We talk about making sure we have a great environment on Saturday so we have a home-field advantage, making sure our guys are prepared."

"Penn State has played as tong schedule," CFP chairman Kirby Hocutt said on Tuesday night's broadcast. "Great win over Ohio State, four of their six wins have been against teams with a winning record, so Penn State in the eyes of the committee, we've been very impressed with their improvement, but also the quality of their wins."



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