A week ago around this time, Penn State was sitting at the top of college football.
The committee released its first playoff rankings and the Nittany Lions were fourth in the country…ahead of Clemson. The defending national champion Clemson Tigers.
It was the first time Penn State had ever been in the top four since the playoff system was implemented. Life was beautiful.
And then in typical fashion Penn State went on the road and lost to No. 17 Minnesota, 31-26, in a game that they could have easily won if not for a slew of uncharacteristic mistakes.
Sean Clifford was off all day and threw three interceptions including the game-sealing pick on the final drive of the game. There are so many throws that he’ll look back on in the film room and will be kicking himself for.
It was a great game to watch and if I wasn’t having a heart attack seeing my favorite team lose I would’ve enjoyed it even more. We learned a lot from this one.
First off, Minnesota is way better than we gave them credit for. Granted they hadn’t played anyone good enough to warrant praise but the Gophers are for real. They run the ball extremely well and don’t make mistakes, especially at home.
On the flip side, I’m not sure what happened to Penn State’s defense. Prior to the Minnesota game they were one of the best defenses in the nation and only allowed one team – Michigan – to score more than 13 points all year. That wen completely out the window on Saturday and the Gophers torched Penn State for basically three quarters.
With that being said, the season isn’t over for the Nittany Lions. They still control their destiny, however, they have absolutely no room for error now.
Penn State has to run the table and win the Big Ten Championship. That means they’ ll have to go on the road to beat Ohio State and then win a rematch against Minnesota in the Big Ten title game.
I’ve already convinced myself that’ll happen. See you all in the final four.