Nittany Lions earn 23rd Top 10 ranking under Paterno

January 08, 2010

University Park, Pa. — Penn State has capped its second consecutive 11-win season by earning its 23rd Top 10 ranking under Coach Joe Paterno.

The Nittany Lions (11-2) were No. 8 in the final USA Today Coaches poll and No. 9 in the final Associated Press poll, which were released early this morning. Penn State earned its 35th final Top 25 ranking under the Hall of Fame coach.

Penn State captured its fourth bowl game in the past five years by beating then-No. 13 LSU, 19-17, in the Capital One Bowl on New Year's Day. The Nittany Lions won at least 11 games for the third time in the past five seasons and the 15th time overall under Paterno.

Three Penn State opponents earned a spot in the final 2009 rankings (AP/Coaches): Ohio State (5/5), Iowa (7/7) and LSU (17/17). Wisconsin finished No. 16 in both polls. The Big Ten was the only conference with three teams in the Top 10. Penn State will visit 2009 BCS National Champion Alabama (on Sept. 11 in its second game of the 2010 campaign.

Penn State's win over LSU helped the Big Ten become the first conference to post four bowl wins over Top 15 teams since the Big Ten did so during the 1998-99 bowl season. The Big Ten won two BCS games and the Capital One Bowl for the first time since the 2005 season.

The Nittany Lions are 51-13 (79.7) since the start of the 2005 season, tied for the nation's No. 7 winning percentage over that span (with West Virginia). Penn State has won 53 of its last 66 games overall, dating to the final two contests of the 2004 season.

The Nittany Lions have 13 Top 5 finishes under the all-time Football Bowl Subdivision victories leader (394), most recently No. 3 in 2005. The Lions won national championships in 1982 and '86 and have had undefeated teams in 1968, '69 and '94 that finished No. 2 in the polls. The 12-0 squad in 1973 was No. 5 in the final polls.

Paterno, who owns a 394-129-3 record in 44 seasons, also is the all-time leader in bowl wins (24) and appearances (36). His 75.2 overall winning percentage is No. 2 among active coaches that have been a head coach with an FBS team for at least 10 years. Paterno's 68.0 bowl winning percentage (24-11-1) is second-highest all-time among coaches with at least 15 post-season appearances.

Penn State's Capital One Bowl victory over LSU will re-air on the Big Ten Network at 6 p.m. ET on Monday, Jan. 11 and again at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 16, immediately following the Penn State-Iowa men's basketball game, which tips at 1 p.m. on the Network.

The Nittany Lions return 13 starters for the 2010 season, (7 offense, 5 defense, 1 specialist), as well as 11 players that have starting experience.

  • Quarterback Daryll Clark led Penn State to it's second consecutive 11-win season and a Top 10 ranking.

    IMAGE: Penn State Sports Information

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010