These 5 teams will make the College Football Playoff soon

James Franklin, Penn State Nittany Lions. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
James Franklin, Penn State Nittany Lions. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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James Franklin, Penn State Nittany Lions
James Franklin, Penn State Nittany Lions. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Scouting Report. Big Ten. East. 2. Pick Analysis. Penn State Nittany Lions. player. 806

If Penn State beats Ohio State, they’ll punch their ticket to the playoff.

Now, we’ve arrived at the first of two teams who have a terrific shot of reaching the College Football Playoff for the first time in school history in 2020. It’s the same sort of deal the Wisconsin Badgers have in that the Penn State Nittany Lions need to beat the Ohio State Buckeyes to reach the playoff. However, Penn State gets the Buckeyes at Beaver Stadium every other season.

James Franklin is getting to the point in his Penn State tenure as head coach where the clock is ticking on him getting the Nittany Lions into the playoff. He already has won a Big Ten Championship during his run. However, it came in a two-loss campaign and the hated Buckeyes still got into the tournament as a one-loss, at-large team. That 2016 season still has to sting.

Penn State has the luxury of having more in-state talent for Franklin to work with than Paul Chryst at his alma mater in Wisconsin. It’s considerable, but it’s not everything. What is everything is the Nittany Lions are guaranteed to have their shot vs. Ohio State each season. If they beat them, whether that’s in State College or even in Columbus, they won’t play them for the conference title.

Until proven otherwise, whoever ends up winning the rivalry game between the Nittany Lions and the Buckeyes is the front-runner to win the Big Ten. The Big Ten West will have to step its game up. That’s not to say Wisconsin, the Minnesota Golden Gophers or any other team coming out of that division won’t be good, it’s just not at the same pedigree of whoever wins the Big Ten East.