The Nittany Lions moved up four spots to No. 20 in the writers’ poll, with the coaches installing them at No. 23. One writer in the AP poll ranked them as the No. 9 team in the nation.

By Michael Donovan

Penn State certainly had an October to remember!

Now let’s see how they do in November.

The Nits were 4-0 and crashed the Top 25 for the first time all season, not to mention earning a place in the College Football Playoff rankings for the first time.

After their nationally televised upset of then-unbeaten Ohio State on Oct. 22 and their 38-point smackdown of Purdue last Saturday, the Nittany Lions aren’t anonymous anymore.

“I think, externally, it helps,” coach James Franklin said yesterday. “Internally, I don’t think it does. Our focus is on Iowa, Iowa, Iowa, Iowa, Iowa, Iowa, Iowa. That’s all we talk about.”

The Hawkeyes are Penn State’s next opponent and they’ll travel to Happy Valley for another prime time affair Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Beaver Stadium. They’ll face one of the fastest-rising teams in the nation, if the pollsters are to be believed.

The Nittany Lions moved up four spots to No. 20 in the writers’ poll, with the coaches installing them at No. 23. One writer in the AP poll ranked them as the No. 9 team in the nation.

Franklin, though, pounded his fist on the dais in the Beaver Stadium media room at every mention of the word Iowa, hoping to drive home the point that rankings go away if programs don’t continually get better on the field. Even if those rankings are part of what makes a program one of the most significant in the country.

“Perception is important because perception is that person’s reality,” Franklin said. “As you guys know, the media has an impact on that.”

A few hours after the Nittany Lions beat Purdue, Franklin sent a message through Twitter that seemed to clearly state his hopes for his team’s return to Beaver Stadium to face Iowa.

It read, “We need Beaver Stadium sold out & rocking next wk against Iowa! TOGETHER we are tough to beat! Who says we can only have 1 whiteout a yr!” He followed that with a second Tweet that read “#WhiteOutX2.”

However, Franklin stopped short Tuesday of saying that he hoped for a second White Out game in as many home events for the Nittany Lions.

“I was really talking about the mentality and what we need in terms of an environment and excitement in the stadium,” he said. “But it kind of went crazy, went viral, people ran with it.

“I think all that’s great. Most importantly we need that stadium rocking. … We need a home-field advantage.”

The Nittany Lions haven’t lost at home this season, but if they’re going to continue that trend this week, it’s not likely to be in front of a white out. It has traditionally been a once-a-year event, and Penn State has not announced plans to organize an impromptu second white out.