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Nittany Lions fall again in AP Top 25 poll, land at No. 16

The Nittany Lions, ranked second in the nation by Associated Press voters two weeks ago, dropped to No. 16 after their second loss in as many weeks.

Penn State head coach James Franklin says the rankings appeared to distract his players from focusing on their game.
Penn State head coach James Franklin says the rankings appeared to distract his players from focusing on their game.Read moreCARLOS OSORIO / AP

Following its second narrow loss in as many weeks, Penn State dropped to No. 16 in the Associated Press weekly poll released Sunday.

The Nittany Lions (7-2), who were ranked No. 2 in the nation before losing a one-point decision to Ohio State on Oct. 28, lost, 27-24, on Saturday at Michigan State on a 34-yard field goal by Matt Coghlin as time ran out. The loss dropped them nine spots from last week's No. 7.

The Lions, who came in at No. 13 in the coaches' poll, also are expected to tumble in the second College Football Playoff rankings to be released Tuesday night. They were voted No. 7 last week by the CFP selection committee.

The Spartans (7-2) vaulted from 24th last week to No. 13 this week, but two other Big Ten teams dropped in the rankings. Undefeated Wisconsin, despite a 45-17 win over Indiana, slid two places, from fourth to sixth. Ohio State, which was overwhelmed, 55-24, by Iowa, fell from No. 3 to No. 11.

Two Big Ten teams entered the polls – Michigan at No. 21 and Iowa at No. 25.

Alabama lost three more first-place votes to Georgia since last week's poll, but finished comfortably as the nation's No. 1 team. After the Bulldogs at No. 2, the poll had Notre Dame in third, followed by Clemson and Oklahoma.

Rounding out the top 10 after Wisconsin were Miami, Texas Christian, Washington, and Auburn.

Penn State's fall in the poll came one day after head coach James Franklin complained about how rankings and national attention appeared to be distracting his players from putting their full focus into the next game.

"There's playoff rankings coming out," he said. "There's this, there's that. There's stuff that doesn't matter. Preseason ranks don't matter, midseason rankings don't matter. We go 1-0 every single week, you respect your opponent, prepare like crazy, you get into the submarine, and you shut everything else out.

"It goes in one ear and it goes out the other. You focus on the things that you can control."