CBS Sports unveiled its preseason rankings of all 131 FBS teams heading into the 2022 season, and Penn State came in at No. 18.
Penn State is the fourth highest ranked Big Ten team, behind Ohio State, which is ranked second, Michigan, which is ranked eighth, and Wisconsin, which is ranked No. 15 in the country. Penn State is ranked just above Michigan State, which is ranked No. 20, and Iowa, which just missed the Top 25, comes in at No. 28.
Some might think the preseason ranking is a little too ambitious, considering Penn State has gone 11-11 overall the past two seasons and has an 8-10 record in the Big Ten. In most cases, teams coming off a strong finish to the previous season get favor in the preseason rankings.
But CBS Sports college football writer Chip Patterson feels that James Franklin and his team have the pieces for a bounce-back season.
“(A) team like Penn State did not have as many wins as it would like, falling to fourth in its own division, but voters still like the pieces in place for James Franklin and have the Nittany Lions inside the top 20.”
Penn State will have Sean Clifford back and fully healthy, Western Kentucky transfer Mitchell Tinsley in the fold, as well as 2022 recruiting class headliner running back Nicholas Singleton. Additionally, Penn State has PJ Mustipher coming back to the middle of its defensive line. At the time of his injury last season, Penn State was 5-0 and ranked number four in the country. After his injury, and other bad breaks factored in, their season went downhill.