For the first time this century — yes, we said “century” — Penn State will start October among the Associated Press’ top 5 college programs in the country.
The Nittany Lions remained at No. 4 in the latest AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll, both released Sunday afternoon. Penn State moved to 5-0 (2-0 Big Ten) after a 45-14 thrashing of Indiana on Saturday at home.
The last time the Nittany Lions sat among the nation’s top 5 in the first October AP poll was Oct. 3, 1999, when then-5-0 Penn State was No. 2 behind Florida State (5-0). The Seminoles received 64 first-place votes that week to the Nittany Lions’ five.
The Nittany Lions last opened October among the AP top 10 in 2008, when Penn State landed at No. 6 in the Oct. 5 poll.
Penn State’s comfortable victory over a league foe allowed the Nittany Lions to remain in the catbird seat for a berth in the College Football Playoff. Depending on how the Big 12 handles Oklahoma, the fourth and final slot for the CFP bracket figures to be hotly contested — and debated — over the next two months.
My top 4 after week 5
— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) October 1, 2017
No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Clemson steamrolled Ole Miss and Virginia Tech, respectively, over this last weekend. The Sooners, the former No. 3, were idle and host Iowa State on Saturday. The previous No. 5, USC, was upset 30-27 late Friday at Washington State.
Penn State visits Northwestern (2-2) on Saturday. It’s the first time the Nittany Lions have gone into Evanston with a top 5 AP ranking since Nov. 1, 1997, when Penn State, ranked No. 2 at the time, pushed its record to 7-0 by holding off the host Wildcats 30-27. Curtis Enis rushed for 157 yards that day to help the Nittany Lions overcome 2 interceptions and 7 penalties.
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