We hope you’ll start your day with us here at the Landof10.com as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know – Monday through Friday – around the world of Penn State sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, wrestling, hockey, baseball or just a wild story we hope you’ll find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.
This is your Penn State Wake-Up Call for Tuesday, Nov. 15. Let’s get started.
The CFP is (sort of) in play for Penn State
David Jones of Pennlive.com lays out a scenario under which Penn State could wind up in the College Football Playoff — which would have been ridiculous to contemplate six weeks ago. At that time, the Nittany Lions were 2-2 and coming off a 49-10 embarrassment at Michigan and were trailing Minnesota 13-3 at halftime before an uneasy crowd in Beaver Stadium.
But they rallied to beat the Gophers in overtime, upset Ohio State a week later and have won six straight in all, leaving them at 8-2. Jones notes that in addition to being ninth in the Associated Press poll and 10th in the USA Today coaches poll, they are No. 8 in this week’s Football Writers Association of America rankings. He expects that they will be ranked similarly in the CFP rankings, which are due out late Tuesday night.
In order to make the national playoff, the Lions must first win at Rutgers on Saturday night and beat Michigan State in their regular-season finale. They also need Michigan to lose one of its two remaining regular-season games, against Indiana or Ohio State. The odds of that happening went up Monday when word leaked that Wolverines quarterback Wilton Speight reportedly has a broken collarbone, though coach Jim Harbaugh has not confirmed that.
That would give PSU the Big Ten East title, and put the Lions opposite likely West winner Wisconsin in the conference championship game on Dec. 3 in Indianapolis. Win that, Jones writes, and the Lions would still need a lot of help to reach the CFP.
Specifically, they would need losses by Louisville and Clemson, and probably Washington and Colorado, to get in.
Then again, wacky things happened all over the sport last weekend, and wacky things have been happening to the Lions for weeks now. Some of the players might not be all that surprised, though. Mark Wogenrich of The (Allentown) Morning Call unearthed a story from July quoting since-injured linebacker Nyeem Wartman-White as follows:
“I feel like we have the pieces to go into the season thinking Big Ten championship. I don’t think there’s ever been a time since I’ve been at Penn State where I heard us say, ‘My goal is to win the Big Ten championship.’ I feel like that’s part of it. You’ve got to talk about it.”
Suddenly it doesn’t seem so crazy to do so.
New line crew
Here’s your standard disclaimer about the depth chart, which was released Monday: It ain’t exactly gospel, folks.
That said, here are the guys listed as starters along an offensive line that has been decimated by injury: Ryan Bates at left tackle, Steven Gonzalez at left guard, Brian Gaia at center, Connor McGovern at right guard and Chasz Wright at right tackle.
Paris Palmer, the regular left tackle for three and a half games, was injured on the first drive against Indiana and later seen with a large brace on his right leg. He’s not listed at all. Neither is tackle Brendan Mahon, who hurt his foot three plays into the Iowa game and was later hospitalized for undisclosed reasons.
If that remains the case, Bates, who was the starting left guard until Palmer’s injury, will make his first collegiate start at tackle against Rutgers. Gonzalez will make his first start, Wright his second. McGovern, who departed in the latter stages of the IU game with an injury of his own, will be back in his usual spot.
Gaia, the only guy to start every game in the same position all year, is the one constant.
One other note: While there is speculation that Penn State coach James Franklin might be forced to remove the redshirt from freshman tackle Will Fries, he is listed as a third-stringer.
Here is the complete depth chart.
Godwin goes high for TD
Below are two views of Chris Godwin’s leaping 21-yard touchdown reception from Trace McSorley in the third quarter of Saturday’s 45-31 victory at Indiana – the first a video courtesy of the NFL on ESPN’s Twitter feed, the second a ground-level still shot from BTN.com senior editor Brent Yarina.
It was the second of two TD receptions in the game by Godwin, who had five catches for 82 yards in all. He leads the Lions with 39 grabs this season, for 591 yards and seven touchdowns.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) November 15, 2016
I love pylon cam. pic.twitter.com/dhD5259ii0
— Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina) November 14, 2016
“So, Coach, about the CFP …”
The focus of Penn State coach James Franklin has been both single-minded and repetitive (i.e., “Iowa, Iowa, Iowa,” et al.) during his team’s winning streak, which led to this tongue-in-cheek tweet by the Daily Collegian:
— The Daily Collegian (@DailyCollegian) November 14, 2016
Also in the Land of 10
- CBS Sports predicts that Ohio State will be in the College Football Playoff.
- Ex-Northwestern basketball player Johnnie Vassar has filed an antitrust suit against his former school, as well as the NCAA.
- Michigan State’s basketball team is gearing up for a game against lordly Kentucky.