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Penn State’s Sean Clifford named ‘spoiler quarterback’ for 2022 College Football Playoff race

ESPN’s Bill Connelly named his “25 most important players” for possible CFP scenarios this season. The list was separated into categories, and Clifford was ranked No. 22 overall and mentioned as a potential “spoiler quarterback.”

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There were rumors that James Franklin, the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions, had signed a new 10-year contract that would keep him with the team through 2031 back in November 2021. Due to an NCAA rule relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford announced the following month that he will be returning for the 2022 college football season.

These results don’t seem to have given voters much confidence this summer on their own.

The preseason USA Today/American Football Coaches Association Coaches Poll, which was announced at the beginning of the midweek, did not include Penn State, according to Dustin Hockensmith of the Patriot-News and Ben Jones of StateCollege.com. The Nittany Lions are not ranked in the poll at the start of a season for the first time since 2016.

PSU received a total of 246 votes, which was insufficient to overtake the No. 26 Iowa Hawkeyes (248 votes) and No. 25 Houston Cougars (257 votes). Some, however, think that the impending College Football Playoff race could be stressful for others because of Clifford and company.

ESPN’s Bill Connelly listed his “25 most crucial players” for potential CFP scenarios this season in an article that was published Thursday morning. Clifford was placed No. 22 overall and called a potential “spoiler quarterback” when the ranking was divided into categories.

Remember that before getting hurt versus Iowa, Clifford had the 10th-best Total QBR rating in the FBS with a 66 percent completion rate, 7.8 yards per dropback (despite playing three strong defenses), and 7.7 yards per scramble. “From there, both he and the PSU offense struggled, but Clifford, when healthy, brings a potent mix of playmaking and superb mobility to the table. If Clifford is at his best, it won’t take many other ifs to make PSU a contender, but at the very least, he is still capable of defeating Michigan away from home or perhaps Ohio State at home.”

Clifford has completed 60.4% of his pass attempts for 7,839 yards with 62 touchdowns and 24 interceptions throughout his Penn State playing career, which began in 2018. On 319 carries, he has gained 897 yards and 10 more TDs when rushing.

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