Another preseason ranking has it slightly higher.
ESPN’s final SP+ rankings of this preseason have PSU at No. 6.
The SP+ model was created by ESPN’s Bill Connelly. Here’s how Connelly explains it.
“These are based on three primary factors: returning production (final rankings for which you can find at the bottom of this piece), recent recruiting and recent history. How good have you been recently? Whom do you have coming back? How good are the players replacing those you don’t have coming back? That’s loosely what we ask when we’re setting expectations for a team; it’s also what these projections attempt to do objectively, albeit with a recent formula changes to account for college football’s transfer explosion. As always, SP+ is a tempo— and opponent— adjusted measure of college football’s efficiency. It is a predictive measure of the most sustainable and predictable aspects of football, not a resume ranking.”
Although this is higher than the two most prominent preseason lists, its slightly lower than PSU was in the first SP+ rankings, where came in at No. 5. As with the AP and Coaches Polls, With 23.5 points, Penn State is the third highest-ranked Big Ten team, behind Ohio State (29) and Michigan (28.6). Ohio State is No. 2 in the last preseason SP+ poll and Michigan is right behind it at No. 3. Those two programs were responsible for the only blemishes in what turned into a magical 2022 season for Penn State.
Michigan clobbered Penn State, 41-17, in Ann Arbor and went on to win the Big Ten and qualify for the College Football Playoff, each for the second straight season. Ohio State beat Penn State in Happy Valley two weeks after that Michigan game and went on to make the Playoff as well.
This season, Penn State plays Ohio State in Columbus Oct. 21 and hosts Michigan Nov. 11, each having the potential to be among the biggest games of this season.
The other teams ahead of Penn State are No. 1 Georgia (29.2), No. 4 Alabama (28.1) and No. 5 LSU (23.3).