Penn State Football

How much did Penn State move up in the top-25 rankings after rallying against Buffalo?

Penn State football’s history in the AP Poll

Penn State football has had a long history in the AP Poll and was first ranked in 1940. Here's a history of how the Nittany Lions have fared in the poll.
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Penn State football has had a long history in the AP Poll and was first ranked in 1940. Here's a history of how the Nittany Lions have fared in the poll.

Penn State may not have dominated for all four quarters in Saturday night’s 45-13 win over Buffalo — but voters still liked the performance enough to move PSU up in the latest Associated Press Top 25 Poll.

The Nittany Lions rose two spots to No. 13 in the poll, which was released Sunday afternoon. Fortunately for Penn State, the first-half struggles against Buffalo — which led 10-7 at halftime — were masked in the polls by other top-15 teams either struggling or losing to the underdogs.

PSU leap-frogged two squads who lost Saturday. Washington dropped nine spots to No. 23 after falling 20-19 to lowly Cal. And Texas A&M fell four spots to No. 16 after a 24-10 loss to No. 1 Clemson.

As it stands, 247 Sports currently projects the Nittany Lions to play in the Jan. 2 Gator Bowl against Mississippi State. That’s probably not the bowl most fans are hoping for, but it would be an intriguing matchup with former QB Tommy Stevens and former OC Joe Moorhead on the opposing sideline.

Regardless, it’s incredibly early in the season and those projections might change a dozen times between now and then. But, as we like to remind readers, the AP Poll offers a nice barometer to how experts are currently feeling about the Nittany Lions, before the College Football Playoff committee releases its first set of rankings Nov. 5.

The committee’s rankings are the ones that really matter. But, with two months until then, the AP Poll has some value — although it’s worth reminding Penn State was unranked in Week 7 of the 2016 season and, a month later, was a top-10 team. A lot can happen in a short period of time.

In the AP Poll, Penn State is gaining some ground in the conference. Ohio State remains the Big Ten team to beat, despite dropping one spot, as it came in as the conference’s top-ranked team at No. 6 —followed by Michigan (No. 10), Penn State (No. 13), Wisconsin (No. 14), Michigan State (No. 18), Iowa (No. 19) and Maryland (No. 21). The Terps were the nation’s biggest risers of the weekend, as they were unranked one week ago.

Minnesota was the only Big Ten team to receive votes without being ranked. The Gophers were ranked No. 25 by a single voter.

The next AP poll will be released 2 p.m. Sept. 15.

The full top-25 rankings are below:

1. Clemson 1,544

2. Alabama 1,489

3. Georgia 1,385

4. LSU 1,336

5. Oklahoma 1,315

6. Ohio State 1,291

7. Notre Dame 1,072

8. Auburn 1,056

9. Florida 997

10. Michigan 936

11. Utah 905

12. Texas 877

13. Penn State 781

14. Wisconsin 714

15. Oregon 677

16. Texas A&M 643

17. UCF 544

18. Michigan State 495

19. Iowa 473

20. Washington State 343

21. Maryland 207

22. Boise State 164

23. Washington 161

24. USC 137

25. Virginia 122

Others receiving votes: Iowa State 96, California 95, Mississippi State 73, TCU 66, North Carolina 48, Army 42, Colorado 21, Oklahoma State 20, Memphis 12, Arizona State 4, Boston College 2, Kentucky 2, Appalachian State 2, Syracuse 2, Minnesota 1

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