The College Football Playoff committee sparked more questions Tuesday about its weekly rankings, including this one: Why isn't Penn State ranked in the top 25?
The CFP committee ranked five 6-3 teams, including two that Penn State beat, but chose not to rank Penn State for the second consecutive week. Chair Gary Barta told the Lions to keep plugging away, though, and their time might come.
"Are they in the discussion? Yes," Barta said during a conference call after the Week 2 rankings were released. "They haven't made it to the top 25 but very good football team."
The distinctions were curious. Penn State (6-3) has wins over Auburn (No. 17) and Wisconsin (No. 18), which have identical records. Purdue (6-3) is No. 19 with wins over ranked Michigan State and Iowa.
In addition, the committee ranked 6-3 Utah (No. 24) and Arkansas (No. 25). Utah has won five of its last six games but hasn't beaten a team in the current top 25. Arkansas beat No. 11. Texas A&M before losing three straight to No. 1 Georgia, No. 15 Mississippi and Auburn.
Clearly, the CFP committee struggled with Penn State's nine-overtime loss to Illinois, since Penn State's other losses are to ranked Iowa and Ohio State. Barta implied as much during Tuesday's conference call.
"I'd say this week we talked about them more than a week ago, and we talked about them a week ago," Barta said. "They're in the conversation. The committee sees them as a very good team, a tough team to play. When we talk about somebody beating Penn State, it's seen as a good win.
"Like most of the times when we have these conversations, when you compare them — I'll look at No. 25 this week who's Arkansas. They have a win over Texas A&M and they beat Mississippi State. So are [the Lions] in the discussion? Yes. They haven't made it to the top 25, but very good football team."
Penn State hosts No. 6 Michigan (8-1) on Saturday with a chance to keep its Rose Bowl hopes alive. The Lions began the week as 1.5-point favorites but now are 1-point underdogs, according to SI Sports Book.
After the first rankings were released, Penn State coach James Franklin described the system used to create them as unfair.
"If you're not going to have a true playoff system, the first thing you have to do is make sure everybody is playing under the same model," Franklin said. "How can you have some conferences that play FCS opponents and other conferences that don't? How can you have some conferences that are playing nine conference games and others playing eight? It's very, very challenging."
The Penn State-Michigan game kicks off at noon EST Saturday on ABC.