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Notebook (12-6): Lions projected for bowl game

Even though Penn State is just 2-5, there’s already been a lot of talk about the Nittany Lions potentially playing in a bowl game if they can win out. Now, one prominent national bowl projection analyst has picked PSU to make a bowl game.

Jerry Palm of CBSSports has picked Penn State to play in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl on Dec. 20 in Charlotte. It’s a matchup between a Big Ten and ACC team, and Palm has the Lions playing North Carolina.

There are no requirements to make a bowl game this season, so even teams with a losing record can be selected. If Penn State beats Michigan State this week and then beats its opponent from the Big Ten West next week, the Lions would be 4-5 with a four-game winning streak.

And don’t forget, Penn State is always a big TV draw, so any bowl that can pick a team from the middle of the pack in the Big Ten could be considering the Lions.

PSU opens as big favorite

Penn State is a 14.5-point favorite for this week’s game against Michigan State at Beaver Stadium. The contest will kick off at 3:30 on ESPN at Beaver Stadium.

The Nittany Lions have won two in a row. Michigan State is 2-4 and coming off a 52-12 home loss to Ohio State.

PSU offers Gousby

Penn State has given an offer to wide receiver Aidan Gousby from Florida for the class of 2022.

STATE of Excellence Week

Penn State released this Sunday:

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics will highlight the varied and numerous achievements by its student-athletes during the fifth annual STATE of Excellence Week, set for December 7-12.

“The State of Excellence is a weeklong celebration of our student-athletes’ dedication to Penn State, their academic successes and their devotion to their respective sports,” Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour said. “It also is a recognition of our coaches and staff for their commitment to providing a complete student-athlete experience based on the four pillars: ACADEMIC, ATHLETIC, COMMUNITY SERVICE and CULTURAL LEADERSHIP. Our State of Excellence recognition is an opportunity for all Penn Staters to be proud of the accomplishments of our student-athletes, coaches and staff.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s STATE of Excellence Week will be entirely virtual, featuring videos, podcasts and graphics on social media highlighting the success of Penn State’s more than 800 student-athletes across 31 programs (16 men’s and 15 women’s). The week’s events will culminate during the Unrivaled pregame show on Saturday ahead of the football game against Michigan State.

Penn State student-athletes have a record NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 92 percent and have earned 207 CoSIDA Academic All-America selections, the fourth-highest total among Division I programs.

Penn State student-athletes have led the athletic department to 34 Big Ten championships and nine NCAA National Championships since October 2013. The Lions have finished in the top 15 of the Learfield IMG College Director’s Cup 20 times in the last 26 years.

STATE of Excellence Week; December 7-12

Monday, December 7 – Academics
Podcast hosted by Mitch Gerber featuring Noah Roberson (Men’s Gymnastics, 2019 graduate), Jade Rowland (Women’s Fencing, 2020 graduate) and Curtis Robison (Baseball)

Academic Highlights
– Penn State has a school-record 92 percent NCAA Graduation Success Rate.
– Penn State students posted a 3.58 GPA during the 2020 spring semester and a 3.25 cumulative GPA during the 2019-20 school year.
– 694 student-athletes earned at least a 3.0 GPA in spring 2020, including 128 with a 4.0 GPA.
– All 31 teams had a 3.0 GPA or higher in spring 2020.

Tuesday, December 8 – Cultural Leadership
Zoom Roundtable featuring:
Carl Ohlson (Assistant AD for Performance Psychology)
Ally Schlegel (Student-Athlete, Women’s Soccer)
– Sarah Brown
(Head Coach, Women’s Gymnastics)
Rob Cooper (Head Coach, Baseball)

Wednesday, December 9 – Civic Engagement
Video statements featuring student-athletes who have used their platform to promote civic engagement.

Thursday, December 10 – Coaches Show
Penn State Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour will join Steve Jones on the Penn State Coaches Show featuring James Franklin to discuss STATE of Excellence.

Friday, December 11 – Athletics
Video celebrating Penn State’s titles and awards during the 2019-20 season, as well as a special video featuring Nissen Emery Award winner Stephen Nedoroscik (Men’s Gymnastics, 2020 graduate)

Saturday, December 12 – Unrivaled Pregame Show
State of Excellence moments will be featured on the Unrivaled Pregame Show (Football vs. Michigan State) and the athletic programs’ accomplishments will be recognized during the game at Beaver Stadium.

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