Schedule strength boosts Penn State to No. 4 in CFP rankings | TribLIVE.com
Penn State

Schedule strength boosts Penn State to No. 4 in CFP rankings

1909558_web1_AP19286066339269
AP
Penn State defensive tackle Robert Windsor (center) celebrates a sack with safety Garrett Taylor (left) and defensive tackle Antonio Shelton during the second half against Iowa on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in Iowa City, Iowa.

Penn State opened the season at No. 4 in the first College Football Playoff rankings, its highest position in the poll’s history. Previously, Penn State’s highest ranking was fifth in the final Selection Day rankings of 2016.

The Lions (8-0) opened ahead of defending national champ Clemson, which landed in fifth. Penn State’s previous best start was at No. 7 in 2017.

The Lions visit Minnesota on Saturday. Both teams are 8-0, and Minnesota is 17th and ranked for the first time since 2014.

Rob Mullens, the CFP’s selection committee chair, said Penn State climbed above Clemson based on its strength of schedule. According to ESPN, Penn State has the No. 2 strength-of-record metric in the country.

Penn State’s first eight opponents this season have a combined winning percentage of .613, while Clemson’s are at .551.

“We had a lengthy discussion about Penn State and Clemson, two really, really good teams, both strong defensively,” Mullens said. “In the end, what it came down to — and again, much debate — Penn State has marquee wins against 14th-ranked Michigan and a road win at 18th-ranked Iowa. In addition, they have a nonconference win over Pitt, which is a pretty good win at this point.”

Alabama, ranked third, is above Penn State despite a lower strength-of-schedule ranking. Alabama’s opponents have a combined winning percentage of .467.

“At the end of the day, when the committee watched Alabama, what they saw is a team that’s being dominant against that schedule, and that was the difference between Alabama and Penn State,” Mullens said.

Before Tuesday’s release, Penn State coach James Franklin called the rankings meaningless, and he has a point. No. 2 LSU plays No. 3 Alabama on Saturday, and Penn State has an upcoming visit to No. 1 Ohio State on Nov. 23.

“Preseason rankings mean nothing,” Franklin said. “Middle-of-the-season rankings mean nothing. At the end of the season, people will count up where we’re at and where they have us and tell us where we’re going to go, and we’ll be excited about going there.”

Categories: Sports | Penn State
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.