Penn State may have been on bye — but it still got a win in the latest polls.
The Nittany Lions (3-0) rose one spot to No. 12 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 Poll, which was released Sunday afternoon. Penn State did not play this past weeknd but was buoyed by the losses of several ranked teams and by Pitt’s 35-34 upset over then-No. 15 UCF, which made the Nittany Lions’ victory last week look all the more impressive.
James Franklin’s squad leap-frogged both Utah and Michigan in the polls. Utah dropped nine spots to No. 19 after falling 30-23 to USC, and Michigan slipped nine places to No. 20 after a deflating loss to No. 8 Wisconsin, 35-14.
The Badgers (3-0), which were tied with Penn State at No. 13 last week, were the only team to jump Penn State this week.
As it stands, CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm currently projects the Nittany Lions to take on Florida in the Outback Bowl. That bowl will kick off at 1 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
It may not be the College Football Playoff, but it’s not a bad bowl considering CBS Sports has only one Big Ten team — Ohio State — in the New Year’s Six.
Regardless, it’s incredibly early in the season and those projections might change 10 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 nearly 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 remains in solid position when it comes to the rest of the conference. Ohio State is still the Big Ten team to beat as it came in at No. 5 — followed by No. 8 Wisconsin, No. 12 Penn State, No. 14 Iowa, No. 20 Michigan and No. 25 Michigan State.
Minnesota also received votes but was left just outside the top 25.
The next AP Poll will be released 2 p.m. Sept. 29.
The full top-25 rankings are below:
1. Clemson 1,543
2. Alabama 1,485
3. Georgia 1,400
4. LSU 1,344
5. Ohio State 1,288
6. Oklahoma 1,283
7. Auburn 1,169
8. Wisconsin 1,071
9. Florida 1,022
10. Notre Dame 989
11. Texas 968
12. Penn State 848
13. Oregon 839
14. Iowa 714
15. California 547
16. Boise State 524
17. Washington 498
18. Virginia 430
19. Utah 426
20. Michigan 287
21. USC 257
22. UCF 252
23. Texas A&M 233
24. Kansas State 230
25. Michigan State 104
Others receiving votes: Wake Forest 73, Oklahoma State 57, Southern Methodist 55, Army 46, Memphis 42, Iowa State 31, Appalachian State 24, Washington State 21, Missouri 14, Mississippi State 14, Pittsburgh 6, Arizona State 5, Minnesota 5, Colorado 5, Tulane 1