With groundwork laid by his predecessor Bill O’Brien, Penn State head coach James Franklin has successfully navigated the Nittany Lions back into the prestige it lost in 2011.
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Everyone who knows sports knows what happened to the Penn State football program in 2011. In the aftermath the team lost just about everything: wins, coaches, fan support, even players who transferred out. But there were some who held fast and with head coach Bill O’Brien keeping the team above .500 in 2012 and 2013, they had to build around when James Franklin was hired after O’Brien left for the NFL. With their 6th win of the season over the Temple Owls and the NCAA ending their bowl ban a year early, Penn State will get to enjoy a return to bowl games for the first time since the fateful 2011 season.
Of all the teams that have had big wins this year, the entire Penn State school won big on Saturday.
Here are the five biggest winners from Week 12 of the college football season:
Penn State – Six wins this year makes Penn State bowl eligible. A win or over Illinois next week would give them 7 on the year and would virtually guarantee their place in December football.
Alabama – The Crimson Tide are now solidly in control of their own destiny with only the FCS’s West Carolina and a home Iron Bowl game left standing between them and the SEC Championship game.
Wisconsin – Wisconsin should really be renamed Running Back University. After Melvin Gordon’s FBS record breaking performance, the school now has the FBS all-time single season rusher (Ron Dayne), single season TD scorer (Montee Ball), and now the single game rushing record (Gordon).
Florida State – Called it.
Arkansas – Snapping that 17-game SEC losing streak will do a lot for the Razorbacks’ confidence down the road. According to College Football Gameday it was even more significant:
The shutout for Arkansas marked the 1st time the Razorbacks blanked an AP-ranked opponent since 1960 against No. 10 Rice. #LSUvsARK
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) November 16, 2014