Last night, the College Football Playoff Committee announced their first ranking of top 25 College Playoff Contenders on ESPN. Despite a winning record (5-3), placement on two other national polls, and having a defense that is one of the best in the country at holding teams to field goals, Penn State was left off of the list.
The absence of the Nittany Lions wasn’t a total shock to some, as they have lost their last three straight games to Ohio State (33-24), Illinois (20-18) and Iowa (23-20), but were ranked No. 22 in the Associated Press Top 25 and No. 23 in the USA Today Sports AFCA Coaches Polls despite these losses. Some also argue that PSU should have been included as they beat the No. 13 ranked Auburn 28-20 in September.
This is not the first time PSU has been shunned by the CFP Committee. In 2016, the Lions were dismissed for a fourth place spot by the committee in favor for Ohio State despite beating them 24-21 in Week 8. At the time, CFP selection committee claimed the two teams were ‘comparable’ and the committee was ‘incredibly impressed’ by Penn State – but ‘felt for a number of weeks that Ohio State was simply a better team.’
This years 2021-22 season CFP initial rankings include Georgia at No. 1, Alabama at No.2, Michigan State at No. 3, and Oregon rounding out the top four. The top 10 continued to include No. 5 Ohio State, No. 6 Cincinnati, No. 7 Michigan, No. 8 Oklahoma, No. 9 Wake Forest, and No. 10 Notre Dame.
Penn State is the only three-loss team in the top 25 rankings of both the AP and the Coaches Polls, but there are two other three-loss teams questionably ranked ahead of the Nittany Lions in the CFP Top 25 with Mississippi ranked at No. 17 and Wisconsin at No. 21.
The Nittany Lions will have a chance to gain respect from the CFP Committee and to turn around their ranking in the coming weeks when they go up against Michigan, ranked No.7 on November 13th and Michigan State, ranked No. 3 in their season finale on November 27th.
Tune in to see if Penn State’s continued on-field success translates into off-field respect from the CFP. Below is the schedule for the remaining CFP top 25 announcements. All times ET:
- 9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9 (approximate time — will be revealed between the Champions Classic basketball games)
- 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16
- 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 23
- 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 30
- 12 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5 (Selection Day)