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Projection expert says Penn State football will make New Year’s Six Bowl

This scenario would be only the second time Penn State has made back-to-back New Year’s Six Bowl games under James Franklin.



Penn State Football, New Year's Six, Cotton Bowl, Kansas State
Dec 28, 2019; Arlington, Texas, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Micah Parsons (11) holds up the most outstanding defensive player award after the game against the Memphis Tigers at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The college football season is still several weeks away, but apparently, it’s never too early to begin predicting bowl matchups. After a Rose Bowl-winning season in 2022, the Penn State football program is looking to push for the College Football Playoff in 2023. But unfortunately for James Franklin’s squad, CBS Sports prediction expert Jerry Palm has the Nittany Lions falling short of this mark in new bowl projections released last week. However, Palm has Penn State making a New Year’s Six Bowl, playing Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl. 

Jerry Palm New Year’s Six Bowl projections: Penn State vs. Kansas State in Cotton Bowl

Jerry Palm may be most famous for his March Madness Bracketology, but he is one of CBS Sports’ leading College Football Playoff projection experts as well. Last week, Palm released updated predictions for all of college football’s bowl games. While the model currently has Penn State football falling short of the College Football Playoff, it does have the Nittany Lions making the Cotton Bowl against Kansas State. Palm’s full New Year’s Six Bowl projections are as follows:

  • Sugar Bowl (College Football Playoff game): Georgia vs. Ohio State
  • Rose Bowl (College Football Playoff game): Michigan vs. Alabama
  • Fiesta Bowl: USC vs. Boise State
  • Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. LSU
  • Peach Bowl: Clemson vs. Texas
  • Cotton Bowl: Penn State vs. Kansas State

Palm’s projections would have Penn State making the Cotton Bowl as an at-large bid. The model also has the Nittany Lions finishing outside the top six, with LSU and Texas being the first two teams left out of the College Football Playoff.

Given the sky-high expectations in Happy Valley this season, the outcome projected by Palm would likely be viewed as a disappointment. Given the Playoff projections included, this scenario probably means Penn State either didn’t get over the hump of Michigan or Ohio State once again, or stubbed its toe somewhere else along the way.

But, if the model played out as currently projected, it would be only the second time under James Franklin that Penn State made back-to-back New Year’s Six Bowl games, with 2016 and 2017 being the first. With an expanded College Football Playoff and the expectation of a veteran team in 2024, this result could be the building block that the Nittany Lions need to make a run at things next year.

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Matt is a co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.


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