ESPN’s Heather Dinich pointed out Monday that 22 of the 36 teams to reach the College Football Playoff have not finished the season perfect.

And even in a college football season where the top of each league looks dominant, we’re still very likely to see at least 1 or 2 1-loss teams enter the 4-team fray.

Penn State is one of those potential teams according to Dinich. She listed each 1-loss team by their chances of reaching the playoff, with Penn State placing 4th.


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Here’s what need to happen for the Nittany Lions to reach the CFP according to Dinich:

So many things. Drastic improvement on offense, immediately. Running the table, including beating Michigan at home. Other contenders losing, including Ohio State twice because the Buckeyes will win the head-to-head tiebreaker if they both finish with one loss. Winning the Big Ten. Then hoping a win against Michigan and beating … Iowa? … in the Big Ten championship are enough to prove they are one of the four best teams in the country.

Here’s the full ranking:

  1. Texas
  2. Oregon
  3. Alabama
  4. Utah
  5. Oregon State
  6. Penn State
  7. Mizzou

Penn State can definitely make the playoff, but there is zero room for error and they’ll likely need some help, too. The Nittany Lions have to beat Michigan and to do that, Drew Allar is going to need to get more comfortable with a tough Michigan defense to deal with.