If there is one thing for certain after three weeks of the college football season, nobody has a real firm grasp on where Penn state will potentially be going in the bowl season. While none of the updated bowl projections after Week 3 have the Nittany Lions cracking the College Football Playoff (although the USA TODAY Sports re-rank has them in position), the Nittany Lions are projected to go to one of three different New Years Six bowls depending on the source.
But with so much competition in the Big Ten, a few bowl projections suspect Penn State will take a couple of hits along the way to drop them to some other New Years Day bowl in the Big Ten’s lineup.
We’ve scanned a number of different bowl projections after Penn State’s 3-0 start to see what the bowl prognosticators are thinking. As you’ll see, there is not a lot of uniformity in Penn State’s outlook right now.
USA TODAY Sports: Citrus Bowl vs. Ole Miss
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Despite Penn State being ranked No. 4 in the latest USA TODAY Sports re-rank from Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY’s Erick Smith has a different outlook for the Nittany Lions in mind. Smith has Penn State taking on Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss Rebels in the Citrus Bowl, a considerable drop from most other bowl projections with New Years Six bowls in mind for the Nittany Lions.
ESPN: Rose Bowl Game vs. UCLA
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
This week sees ESPN’s two bowl projectors, Kyle Bonagura and Mark Schlabach, in unison when it comes to the Rose Bowl Game. Penn State is the team both see coming out as the Big Ten champion, reserving an automatic spot in the Rose Bowl. Previous updates to their bowl projections had Penn State in the Rose Bowl, but not necessarily as the Big Ten champion. But these projections see Ohio State missing out on the College Football Playoff, suggesting these two see the Nittany Lions as the team to beat in the Big Ten. Both are in agreement over who Penn State would face in the Rose Bowl as well, with a matchup with the UCLA Bruins currently projected. Bonagura has UCLA as the Pac-12 champion, but Schlabach has Oregon playing in the College Football Playoff, which would likely mean UCLA gets in as the next best option for the Pac-12.
CBS Sports: Outback Bowl vs. LSU
Syndication: The Daily Advertiser
Jerry Palm of CBS Sports doesn’t see Penn State reaching the New Years Six this season. He also doesn’t see the Nittany Lions getting the top non-New Years Six spot in the Big Ten bowl lineup. Instead, Palm has Penn State taking on LSU in the Outback Bowl. While it is still a January 1 bowl, a spot in the Outback Bowl would certainly feel like a letdown given the recent ride of optimism for the program after the first three weeks of the season.
College Football News: Fiesta Bowl vs. Cincinnati
Syndication: The Enquirer
According to the latest bowl projections from College Football News, Ohio State may still be the team to beat in the Big Ten. And the Buckeyes are sneaking into the College Football Playoff in the latest projections from CFN. That leaves a spot in the Rose Bowl open, but that would likely go to projected Big Ten West champ Iowa. But Penn State still manages to get invited to a New Years Six bowl game, and they’d be taking on the AAC champs for a second straight bowl appearance.
Action Network: Peach Bowl vs. Clemson
Syndication: The Greenville News
Add another New Years Six bowl projection to the fold. Brett McMurphy of Action Network has Penn State being one of two teams appearing in a New Years Six bowl lineup. Iowa, McMurphy’s projected Big Ten champion, gets the Rose Bowl slot against UCLA, while Penn State heads off to Atlanta to play in the Peach Bowl against the Clemson Tigers.
Athlon Sports: Peach Bowl vs. Clemson
Syndication: The Greenville News
Here’s another bowl projection sending Penn State to the Peach Bowl. Athlon Sports’ Steven Lassan has the Nittany Lions squaring off with Clemson in Atlanta as well. Penn State would obviously be getting in as an at-large while Clemson would be the ACC champion. The ACC champion usually plays in the Orange Bowl, but the Orange Bowl is being used as a College Football Playoff semifinal.