Kickoff is only a day away for coach James Franklin and company. There hasn’t been a season with expectations this high for the Nittany Lions in quite some time.
We polled some of our writers across the Sports Now network to get their predictions on how the season will shake out for Penn State.
Mike Asti, West Virginia Sports Now: 10-2. Comment: It’s the same 10-2 song and dance again. I’m throwing in a possible trap game upset loss to Maryland.
Jarrod Prugar, Nittany Sports Now: 11-1. Comment: This is a team with a lot of talent. Drew Allar is unproven at quarterback, but he’s got the most experience of any new quarterback at Penn State in quite some time. The offense should be very explosive.
For as explosive as the offense looks to be, it’s the defense that’s most impressive and among the best in the country on paper. With some good injury luck, it should be a very good season on both sides of the football.
Alan Saunders, Pittsburgh Sports Now: 10-2. Comment: Can’t say for sure that they’re going to win all the easy ones and lose all the hard ones, but I can’t remember a team that isn’t going to have a sub-three-point spread all season long.
In some ways, it might be a boring season for Penn State, but I think the promise of the future is strong and 2024 could be the year the Lions break through the Big Ten glass ceiling.
Logan Carney, Pittsburgh Sports Now: 10-2. Comment: My philosophy when predicting things is going with what I’ve seen in the past. And what I’ve seen from James Franklin and co. is an ability to take care of business in the game they’re supposed to win, but falter in games they aren’t supposed to win. As many Penn State fans can figure out, that statement refers to Big Ten behemoths Ohio State and Michigan.
Franklin is a combined 4-14 against those two teams with the lone Ohio State (2016) win coming on a freak blocked field goal and each Michigan win coming when Penn State was the higher-ranked team (2017, 2019) or when both were unranked (2020).
I trust Franklin and Penn State to easily take care of business each week except for Michigan and Ohio State. No matter who is on what roster, that appears to be how every Penn State season goes. Until I see differently, and reason to believe it wasn’t a fluke, I’ll change my tune.
All that being said, if there was a year for Penn State to prove me wrong and slay the two-headed monster it very well could be this year. I truly believe this is one of the best rosters ever assembled at Penn State with weapons all over the offense, a five-star QB, and arguably one of the nation’s best defenses, they have the tools to not just beat Ohio State and Michigan, but win the Big Ten and make the CFP.
And they really only have to beat on of those two teams to accomplish those last two goals. For as good as Penn State is, one can still easily argue that Michigan and Ohio State are the better teams. Add that to what recent history suggests, I’m comfortable with my 10-2 prediction
Joe Smeltzer, Nittany Sports Now: 11-1. Comment: Anything less than 10-2 for Penn State this year would be a disappointment. This team is loaded for reasons we’ll talk about all fall, and I fully believe it’s capable of beating both Michigan and Ohio State and going 12-0
Andy Stine, Altoona Mirror/Nittany Sports Now: 10-2. Comment: There’s plenty of talent there to do even more, but I won’t buy PSU beating Michigan or Ohio State until they do it.
Brandon Walker, Nittany Sports Now: 11-1. Comment: Penn State will fall to Ohio State on the road close and will exact revenge on Michigan, and we will see how the standings in the Big Ten East unfold. One other game worth noting is a trip to College Park on Nov. 4th right before they will play a dangerous road game right before they play Michigan. If Penn State can avoid the land mines, a possible CFP berth awaits.