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Rooting Guide: Which Week 12 games are most important for Penn State Football?

The Penn State football team still has a great shot at a NY6 bowl bid. But which teams should you root for to increase their odds this weekend?



Penn State football, Rooting Guide, College Football, NY6
Nov 11, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; The Washington Huskies celebrate after a fourth down defensive stop against the Utah Utes during the second half at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State football picked up their 2nd loss of the season on Saturday when they fell to Michigan 24-15. There once again was not a lot of other movement inside the top 10 other than No. 9 Ole Miss losing 52-17 to No. 2 Georgia. It was the second loss of the season for the Rebels and eliminated them from the College Football Playoff and SEC Championship game. But can the Nittany Lions make an NY6 Bowl after this up-and-down season?

Three Top 25 teams picked up their third loss of the season, something that will help Penn State as they now turn their attention towards trying to make a New Year’s Six bowl game. No. 13 Kansas fell to Texas Tech 16-13, No. 18 Utah lost at No. 5 Washington 35-28, and No. 13 Tennessee was dismantled by No. 14 Missouri 36-7.

Penn State football fans’ rooting guide to college football Week 12

Penn State fell two spots in the College Football Playoff rankings this week to No. 12 and have been eliminated from playoff contention. There is still a strong possibility that the Nittany Lions can make an NY6 Bowl game this season, but it will still need some help from the teams ahead of them. Here are the games to keep an eye on throughout the Week 12 slate.

No. 10 Louisville (9-1) @ Miami (6-4) 12:00 pm ET ABC

Louisville escaped Virginia 31-24 on Saturday to keep their dark horse playoff hopes alive. Miami played tough but ultimately lost to Florida State 27-20 on the road. The Cardinals can clinch a berth in the ACC Title game with a win and could still make the playoff with a ton of chaos. Miami enters as a 1-point home favorite.

Louisville currently sits 2 spots ahead of Penn State in the rankings so a loss would benefit the Nittany Lions. It feels like the CFP committee has been looking for a reason to drop Louisville all season but hasn’t been able to because of that one loss. They are the lowest-ranked one-loss team and even are behind 2 loss Missouri. A Cardinal loss would also mean that they could pick up their third loss of the season against Florida State in the ACC Championship game which would be enough for Penn State to move up.

Illinois (5-5) @ No. 16 Iowa (8-2) 3:30 pm ET FS1

Illinois has picked up steam in recent weeks winning 3 of their last 4 games. The Illini will be looking to become bowl-eligible against the Hawkeyes. Iowa is coming off one of their best games of the season, shutting out Rutgers 22-0. Iowa enters as a 3-point favorite.

This game is strictly on the rooting guide to help Penn State’s strength of schedule. If the Nittany Lions are on the bubble to make an NY6 when the committee makes their selection in two weeks, a higher-ranked Iowa will certainly help.

No. 5 Washington (10-0) @ No. 11 Oregon State (8-2) 7:30 pm ET ABC

Washington is entering off a 35-28 win over Utah. Oregon State is coming off destroying Stanford 62-17 on Saturday. The Huskies need to keep winning to reach the College Football Playoff. The Beavers still have a chance to make the Pac-12 championship game if they can take down Washington this week and Oregon the next. Oregon State enters as a 1-point home favorite.

This is a crucial game that Penn State needs to go their way. Oregon State currently sits one spot ahead of the Nittany Lions in the CFP rankings. A Washington win would be a huge boost for Penn State as they would enter the top 11 and be in the mix officially for an NY6.

Florida (5-5) @ No. 9 Missouri (8-2) 7:30 pm ET ESPN

Florida was beaten handily last week in Baton Rouge against LSU 52-35. Missouri is coming off a dominant 36-7 win over Tennessee. Florida has an uphill battle to make a bowl game this season as they either must beat No. 9 Missouri this week or No. 4 Florida State next week. Missouri has an opportunity to make an NY6 bowl game if they can finish the season 10-2. Missouri enters as an 11-point home favorite.

This one seems unlikely but a loss by Missouri would give them three losses and most likely push them behind Penn State. Nittany Lion fans will need to hope that Florida is playing extra hard to make a bowl game but given that the Tigers are a double-digit home favorite it will be an uphill battle.

No. 7 Texas (9-1) @ Iowa State (6-4) 8:00 pm ET FOX

Texas held off TCU 29-26 last weekend in a game that ended up being closer than it should have been. Iowa State traveled to Provo and dominated BYU 45-13. The Longhorns are already a lock for the Big 12 Championship but can’t afford another loss as it would eliminate them from playoff contention. Iowa State is currently in a 4-way tie for 2nd place, so a conference championship appearance is still a possibility. Texas enters as a 7.5-point road favorite.

Even if Texas loses it wouldn’t be enough for Penn State to jump them in the rankings most likely. However, the Longhorns still have one more regular season game after this week and the Big 12 title game to pick up a third loss if they were to be upset by the Cyclones. The least important game on the rooting guide this week, but still something to pull for nonetheless.

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Patrick is the Social Media Director and a staff writer for Basic Blues Nation. He covers Penn State football, wrestling, basketball, and ice hockey. Patrick is a Penn State alum, graduating in 2020. The Sweda family started getting Penn State Football tickets in 1966 and Patrick has attended over 170 games in his lifetime. He currently lives in Lancaster County Pennsylvania with his dog Newman.


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