Did Penn State football team move up in the final AP Top 25 rankings of the season?

Centre Daily Times (TNS)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 28: Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Micah Parsons (11) celebrates after a sack during the Cotton Bowl Classic college football game against the Memphis Tigers on December 28, 2019 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

The college football season came to an end early Tuesday morning and that means the final edition of this season’s Associated Press Top 25 Poll was released.

Penn State landed in the top 10 of the final poll of the season for the third time in four years.

The Nittany Lions finished the 2019 season as the No. 9 team in the AP Poll with 1,038 voting points, moving up four spots from No. 13 after beating the Memphis Tigers 53-39 in the Cotton Bowl.

Penn State finished the year 11-2 overall and 7-2 in the Big Ten with both of its losses coming to teams that also finished in the AP Poll’s top 10. The two teams, Ohio State and Minnesota, finished at No. 3 and No. 10 respectively. The Buckeyes defeated the Nittany Lions 28-17 and the Golden Gophers defeated them 31-26. Both games came on the road in November.

The Nittany Lions’ finish marks the third time in four years the team has finished in the top 10 and the fourth year in a row its finished ranked. It’s also the third time in four years Penn State has finished with 11 wins, marking the first time the program has accomplished the feat since it did so from 1968-1971.

Three of the Nittany Lions’ victories came against teams who finished ranked in the poll. Conference foes Iowa (No. 15) and Michigan (No. 18) were ranked, as well as Cotton Bowl opponent Memphis (No. 17). Penn State took down Iowa, 17-12, and Michigan, 28-21, in back-to-back weeks last October.

Penn State is the No. 2 team in the Big Ten, according to the rankings. Ohio State is the only conference school to finish ahead of the Nittany Lions, while Minnesota, Wisconsin (No. 11), Iowa and Michigan all finished behind Penn State. No Big Ten schools finished outside of the rankings and received voting points.

Of Penn State’s 2020 opponents, only Iowa, Michigan and Ohio State finished ranked. Those three opponents make up a three-game stretch next season during October that looks to be the most difficult set of games Penn State will have next season.

None of Penn State’s 2019 or 2020 opponents that finished outside of the rankings received any voting points. The Nittany Lions are currently set to return nine starters on offense and five starters on defense for the 2020 season.

The full top-25 rankings are below:

1. LSU 1,550

2. Clemson 1,487

3. Ohio State 1,426

4. Georgia 1,336

5. Oregon 1,249

6. Florida 1,211

7. Oklahoma 1,179

8. Alabama 1,159

9. Penn State 1,038

10. Minnesota 952

11. Wisconsin 883

12. Notre Dame 879

13. Baylor 827

14. Auburn 726

15. Iowa 699

16. Utah 543

17. Memphis 528

18. Michigan 468

19. Appalachian State 466

20. Navy 415

21. Cincinnati 343

22. Air Force 209

23. Boise State 188

24. UCF 78

25. Texas 69

Others receiving votes: Texas A&M 54, Florida Atlantic 46, Washington 39, Virginia 28, USC 16, San Diego State 13, Arizona State 12, SMU 10, Tennessee 8, California 6, Louisiana Tech 2, Kentucky 2, Kansas State 2, Louisiana-Lafayette 2.