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Penn State Football Ranked No. 5 In ESPN’s Updated Football Power Index

ESPN’s Football Power Index is buying high on Penn State football.

The Nittany Lions now hold the fifth-highest Football Power Index ranking in the country following their 79-7 beatdown of Idaho on Saturday. ESPN projects Penn State to finish the season with 10.3 wins and 2.1 losses, and it also gives James Franklin’s program a 37.5 percent chance to win the Big Ten, which is the highest in the conference.

ESPN’s rankings are “a measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of a team’s performance going forward for the rest of the season.” The final Football Power Index number itself is an estimation of how many points above or below average each team is based on 10,000 simulations of the remainder of the season. With an FPI ranking of 21.3, for example, Penn State is expected to perform three touchdowns above average for the remainder of the 2019 season.

Only Alabama, Clemson, LSU, and Georgia have higher FPI scores than Penn State after one week of the college football season. Michigan — which is No. 6 in this week’s FPI rankings — was given a 22.6 percent chance of winning the conference, while Ohio State is tabbed to have an 8.6 percent chance of winning the conference.

For reference, Penn State began the season as the No. 12 team in ESPN’s FPI rankings and was given a 10.4 percent chance to win the Big Ten. The self-proclaimed “Worldwide Leader in Sports” expected James Franklin’s program to post a record of 8.9-3.2 before the season started. Michigan was tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the conference with a 48.1 percent chance, and Ohio State was given an 8.2 percent chance to win the conference.

Penn State’s first performance may have come against a weak FCS side, but the team dominated every facet of the game en route to a huge victory. Idaho’s defense had almost no answer for Penn State’s offense, and the Vandals’ offense couldn’t move the ball much against the defense led by coordinator Brent Pry.

Time will tell if ESPN’s projections come true, but the network is definitely excited for this year’s young, talented iteration of Penn State football.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]


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