For all of the speculating about Penn State’s bowl projections we have been reviewing for the past few weeks, there could be one path to the Rose Bowl that we have yet to discuss. Could the Rose Bowl welcome Penn State as the Big Ten’s representative over Ohio State? Kirk Herbstreit laid out the case for that scenario on Tuesday night during the revealing of this week’s College Football Playoff rankings.
The Rose Bowl is tied to take the Big Ten champion unless that team is playing in the College Football Playoff in a year when the Rose Bowl is not hosting a semifinal game. When that is the case, the Rose Bowl is set to get the next highest-ranked option from the Big Ten. As the rankings revealed on Tuesday showed, Ohio State at No. 5 would be three spots higher than Penn State at No. 8, with a better record and a head-to-head victory in State College. So if Ohio State is left out of the College Football Playoff, in part because USC defeats Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game, it would appear the Buckeyes would be a lock to play in the Rose Bowl.
But what if the Rose Bowl doesn’t want a rematch of Ohio State and the next best option from the Pac-12, Utah? Well, Kirk Herbstreit had a thought.
“I would just add that Penn State moving up to eight, and if everything plays out as it should this weekend, Penn State a viable candidate for Pasadena in my mind at 10-2,” Herbstreit said. “I don’t know if they would send Ohio State out there again after last year. Potentially maybe go Penn State to the Rose, Ohio State maybe to the Orange if they’re left out of the Playoff.”
And it turns out, Herbstreit is on the money with that thought. According to the Rose Bowl contract, the game can take an alternate team from a cluster of options if available and if it makes sense. One of the reasons the Rose Bowl might consider another option would be based on the last time a team played in the game. Ohio State played in the Rose Bowl last season, against Utah, and has been to Pasadena twice since Penn State’s last visit in the 2016 season.
Bryan Fischer shared the Rose Bowl selection process to clarify the process that could end up benefitting Penn State.
Well, this just got a whole lot more interesting for Penn State.
Bowl selections will be made official on Sunday afternoon, so we will know for sure just where Penn State will be going bowling. But at this point, it appears to be as close to a lock as it can be that Penn State will be in a New Years Six bowl game.
Penn State sits at No. 8 in updated College Football Playoff rankings
Penn State players make appearance on All-Big team roster
Christian Veilleux says he will enter transfer portal
The three big questions for Penn State and the next College Football Playoff rankings
As Big Ten leaves ESPN, the end of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge is official
Follow Nittany Lions Wire on Twitter and like us on Facebook for continuing Penn State coverage and discussion. Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment on this story below. Join the conversation today.