Penn State ranked No

THE SERIES: Clemson and Ohio State have played twice before, both in bowl games.

Georgia Tech and Colorado shared the honors in 1990.

No NCAA team has won 15 games in a season. Two of the most talented teams in the country.

There's been little talk about the College Football Playoffs. It was the largest comeback in the six-year history of the game. Unfortunately, the Playoff has just four spots.

On its face, it's an nearly inarguable quartet.

Led by dynamic quarterback Deshaun Watson, Clemson lost to Alabama in the national championship game last season in Arizona.

The Crimson Tide (13-0, No. 1 CFP) bolted to a 16-9 lead in the first quarter, despite being held to minus-7 yards and no first downs. Clemson and Ohio State will face off in the Fiesta Bowl.

And if the Buckeyes are still chosen, they contend, Penn State has a better overall resume than Pac-12 champs Washington, a team that lost its one marquee game to Southern Cal.

"We don't look at it as just this year".

This talent, and the intriguing matchups they present, will be in full display on December 31. Years pass, postseason formats change and powers come and go, all tied together by one common thread: controversy. Junior cornerback Lubern Figaro misplayed his angle and allowed the junior wide receiver to run 40 yards for a touchdown and gave the Nittany Lions some momentum heading into halftime.

Clemson finished No. 3 in the AP Top 25, a spot behind Ohio State (11-1).

When Sean Spencer became Penn State's defensive line coach in 2014, he nicknamed his group of tackles and ends the "Wild Dogs" and upped the ante a year ago by using a 3-foot rawhide bone as their encouragement.

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Penn State's performance was enough to win Saturday.

USC will make its record 34th appearance in the Rose Bowl, far more than any other team. "We understand how hard it is to make the playoffs and we're humbled and honored". Ohio State's wins against Wisconsin and MI both came in overtime. The Nittany Lions also were beaten by 39 at MI in their last loss.

Penn State claimed its first lead of the game when McSorley connected with Barkley on an 18-yard touchdown pass. Lions kicker Tyler Davis stretched the lead to 7 points with a 24-yard field goal with 4:38 remaining.

Despite its Big Ten conference title and win over one of the invitees, Penn State has been left out of the 2016-17 College Football Playoff.

Certainly any outcome would've had its detractors, and so no matter which four-team field the committee chose, there would've been tears over which teams were excluded. The rankings revealed that Penn State was closer to Washington than Ohio State; the Buckeyes have been a lock since beating the Wolverines.

The selection protocol does not require the committee to pick conference champions or the victor of head-to-head matchups. They have been to the Big Ten Championship 4 of those 6 years.

Southern California will face Big Ten champion Penn State in the Rose Bowl on January 2.

Let's rephrase that for added emphasis: The champion of the nation's best league was trumped by the league's runner-up, and defeated that same team during the regular season. Our side of the conference is maybe the best in all of conference football.

Penn State: Coach James Franklin insisted all week that his team was focused more on winning a Big Ten title.

Coach Clay Helton's Trojans have won eight games in a row, capped by back-to-back victories over top rivals UCLA and Notre Dame. "We would have all loved to be in the playoffs, but we're all appreciative for the opportunity that we have".

Conference championships are supposed to mean something. Is that the best way to determine the four best teams, as the committee so often repeats is its mission?


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