Penn State Football Ranked No. 14 In First Coaches’ Poll Of 2019 Season
USA Today released the first Coaches’ Poll of the 2019 season on Thursday, and Penn State football checked in at the No. 14 spot.
Penn State was the No. 9 team in last year’s preseason Coaches’ Poll a year after entering the 2017 season at No. 6. James Franklin’s program finished last season as the No. 17 squad in the Coaches’ Poll after losing the Citrus Bowl to Kentucky.
The Nittany Lions are the third-best of seven(!) Big Ten teams listed in the poll, which is the most of any conference. No. 5 Ohio State leads the charge of Big Ten squads and is followed by No. 7 Michigan and Penn State. Wisconsin (No. 17), Iowa (No. 19), Michigan State (No. 20), and Northwestern (No. 25) round out the Big Ten’s representatives in the poll.
Clemson and Alabama are ranked in the top two spots following the Tigers’ demolition of Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide in the last national title game. Georgia checks in at No. 3, and Oklahoma will enter 2019 as the fourth-ranked team in the Coaches’ Poll.
The 65 coaches who decide how this poll shakes out every week seem to have some confidence in the Nittany Lions despite their key losses. Three-year starting quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Miles Sanders are just two of many players from last year’s squad who won’t be back, but Penn State’s youth and energy could end up working in its favor.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Sean Clifford is poised to take on McSorley’s old job, and he expects the Nittany Lions to have one of the nation’s fastest offenses this season. He’ll have a by-committee rushing attack to work with and a young wide receiving corps led by KJ Hamler. Meanwhile, Penn State has one of the nation’s best defenses to work with, and players like Yetur Gross-Matos and Micah Parsons are primed for huge seasons at defensive line and linebacker, respectively.
Penn State will be back at Beaver Stadium in 30 days for a clash with Idaho to open the 2019 regular season.
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