Penn State moved into contention for a New Year's Six bowl, moving up to No. 12 on Tuesday night in the fourth College Football Playoff rankings of the season.
The Nittany Lions did not lose ground after Saturday's uninspiring 20-7 victory over Rutgers. After being ranked 14th last week, they rose in the standings after losses by West Virginia and Syracuse.
Alabama remained the No. 1 team in the rankings, followed by Clemson, Notre Dame, and Michigan. Georgia continued in fifth place, followed by Oklahoma, LSU, and Washington State.
The Nittany Lions will take on Maryland on Saturday in their final game of the regular season, and a win will give them a chance of earning a New Year's Six bowl berth for the third consecutive year. However, wins by lower-ranked teams in the Big 12 and Big Ten championship games could nudge them out of the top 12.
Another possibly negative scenario for Penn State would be if No. 16 Washington defeats Washington State on Friday night, then beats Utah in the Pac-12 championship game the following week.
In a surprise, Central Florida climbed to No. 9 in the rankings, putting the Knights ahead of 10th-ranked Ohio State. It marked the first time since 2015 that a Group of Five team passed a Power Five team when both squads posted wins the previous weekend.