Penn State Football

How far did Penn State’s upset scare drop it in the AP top-25 rankings?

‘This is obviously going to be a critical win for us’

Penn State football coach James Franklin talks about overcoming adversity after the season opener against Appalachian State at Beaver Stadium.
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Penn State football coach James Franklin talks about overcoming adversity after the season opener against Appalachian State at Beaver Stadium.

James Franklin acknowledged Saturday night that, “We didn’t play the way we are capable of playing.”

The voters in the Associated Press Top-25 Poll agreed.

After surviving an upset scare against Appalachian State, 45-38 in overtime, Penn State dropped three spots in the top-25 rankings Tuesday afternoon. The Nittany Lions found themselves at No. 13, a fall from its preseason ranking of No. 10.

In reality, the drop is only a temporary setback. To make the College Football Playoff, Penn State can likely lose just one game — and it dodged an early loss with the OT win Saturday. In 2016 the Nittany Lions were unranked in Week 7 and ended up in the top 10.

Tuesday’s ranking drop is essentially meaningless. What’s a lot more meaningful is whether this is still the same Penn State team we thought it was a week ago. Can this team run the table against Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin? Will it beat Pitt?

Other Big Ten teams fared a lot better in their openers. Ohio State left no doubt in a 77-31 win over Oregon State, and the Buckeyes paced the conference with a No. 4 ranking. Other ranked Big Ten teams included No. 5 Wisconsin, No. 15 Michigan State and No. 21 Michigan.

The full top 25 is listed below:

1. Alabama (48 first-place votes)

2. Clemson (12)

3. Georgia

4. Ohio State

5. Wisconsin (1)

6. Oklahoma

7. Auburn

8. Notre Dame

9. Washington

10. Stanford

11. LSU

12. Virginia Tech

13. Penn State

14. West Virginia

15. Michigan State

16. TCU

17. USC

18. Mississippi State

19. UCF

20. Boise State

21. Michigan

22. Miami (Fla.)

23. Oregon

24. South Carolina

25. Florida

Others receiving votes: Utah 71, Oklahoma St. 62, Boston College 31, Texas A&M 29, Northwestern 28, Maryland 12, Mississippi 11, NC State 9, Florida St. 8, Memphis 6, Houston 6, Washington St. 6, Iowa St. 4, Kansas St. 3, Iowa 3, Hawaii 3, BYU 3, Fresno St. 1, Arkansas St. 1

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