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Penn State Football: Nittany Lions Finish at No. 9 in Final AP Poll

by on January 14, 2020 11:20 AM

Penn State football checked in at No. 9 in the AP’s final top 25 poll of the 2019 season.

The Nittany Lions moved up four spots from their previous ranking of No. 13 in the poll after dispatching No. 17 Memphis 53-39 in the 2019 Cotton Bowl Classic. James Franklin’s program was the second-highest ranked Big Ten team in the poll behind No. 3 Ohio State, which fell 29-23 in the Fiesta Bowl against Clemson that also served as one of this season’s national semifinals.

Minnesota, which capped off its regular season with an Outback Bowl upset of No. 14 Auburn, finished at No. 10, and Wisconsin checked in at No. 11 after losing a 28-27 heartbreaker in the Rose Bowl against No. 5 Oregon. Iowa checked in at No. 15 following a blowout win over USC in the Holiday Bowl, and Michigan slid down to No. 18 after losing to Nick Saban’s eighth-ranked Alabama side in the Citrus Bowl.

This is the fourth consecutive season in which Penn State finished the year ranked in the AP Top 25 poll, and three of those four finishes were inside the top 10. The team ended the 2016 season as the nation’s No. 7 team before wrapping up 2017 as the No. 8 team. After losing last year’s Citrus Bowl to Kentucky, the Nittany Lions checked in at No. 17 in the AP’s final rankings of the year.

In addition to the AP’s new rankings, Penn State earned the No. 10 ranking in the College Football Playoff’s final top 25 rankings of the year. Unlike the AP, the College Football Playoff committee unveils its final rankings prior to bowl season.

The Nittany Lions will be back on the turf of Beaver Stadium for the 2020 Blue-White game, which will be played on April 18, before opening their next regular season against Kent State on Sept. 5.

Mikey Mandarino is a staff writer for Onward State.
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