With Penn State taking its first loss of the season this past weekend, a predictable drop in the polls followed. With the final stanza of the season looming and Penn State sitting at 8-1, it is worth taking a look at where the Nittany Lions sit in the formula derived rankings that don’t take wins and losses into account.
Both FPI and SP+ have the Nittany Lions sitting in a higher spot than the humans on the College Football Playoff Selection Committee do. Heading into this weekend’s contest against Indiana the Nittany Lions are sitting 6th in FPI, 7th in SP+ and as I’m sure you all know, 9th in the one that matters.
Both FPI and SP+ are very bullish on the Lions' chances in home matchups against Indiana and Rutgers. However, both think Penn State is going to be a heavy dog in Columbus against Ohio State–the team that happens to sit at the top of both of these rankings by a considerable margin.
This weekend against the Hoosiers, SP+ has the Nittany Lions winning 74% of the time and predicts a score of 34-22. Meanwhile, FPI sees Indiana keeping its all-time win total of ZERO at Beaver Stadium, 90% of the time.
In the sole remaining road game in the Horseshoe, SP+ sees the Nittany Lions getting a huge road win just 21.5% of the time, while FPI sees the Nittany Lions coming out on top just 15.9% of the time.
The following week against Rutgers, both formulas have the Nittany Lions winning over 99% of the time which is honestly hilarious for a conference game but also entirely unsurprising. So while the computers are higher on Penn State's standing on the national scale, everyone seems to agree that 10-2 is the most likely outcome for this season.