With a road victory at Nebraska in Week 11, Penn State will deserve a spot in the AP Top 25. That feat seemed impossible at the start of the season, but now it is a realistic goal.
The Nittany Lions have already exceed the expectations of many in 2012. After starting 0-2, Penn State now sits at 6-3 (4-1 in the Big Ten). The Lions now have an opportunity to crack into the polls for the first time this season.
Although ineligible for postseason play or the BCS standings, Penn State can still be ranked in the AP.
The Lions head to Lincoln in Week 11 to take on the No. 18 Nebraska Cornhuskers. A victory over the 'Huskers will give Penn State its second win over a ranked opponent. The Nittany Lions defeated then-No. 24 Northwestern on October 6th, 39-28.
Nebraska and Penn State would both be 7-3 and the head-to-head victory should be enough for the Lions to jump over the 'Huskers in the poll.
The AP poll has already seen a Top 25 team lose this week, with No. 23 Toledo losing 34-27 at home to Ball State. That opens at least one spot for a new team to move into.
Penn State, which has been mainly overlooked by voters so far, will surely deserve consideration if victorious at Nebraska.
The Penn State offense has been much improved in 2012 and is now among the top in the Big Ten, ranking fourth in total offense. The Nittany Lions have scored 30 points or more in five of their victories.
The defense is as tough as always. The Lions rank fourth in the Big Ten in total defense and have held opponents to an average of just 17 points a game.
According to USA Today, the Nittany Lions are currently eight-point underdogs.
If Penn State is able to pull off the upset on the road, it needs to be rewarded with a spot in the Top 25.