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Staff Predictions: Penn State Football’s 2022 Record

Penn State football is back, and the anticipation is building for Thursday night’s season opener at Purdue.

The Nittany Lions are trying to bounce back from a disappointing 2021 season that saw them finish 7-6 after starting the year 5-0 and beating two top 25 opponents. James Franklin is entering his ninth season as Penn State’s head coach and is fresh off signing a 10-year contract extension back in December. Sean Clifford is returning for his sixth season in Happy Valley, aiming to improve upon an injury riddled 2021 campaign.

With that in mind, some of our staffers gave their predictions as to how Penn State will perform.

Ryan Parsons: 9-3

Part of me thinks this is the year. Part of me thinks this team, as James Franklin has suggested, is criminally underrated. But, I’ve seen this movie before. Here’s what I think is going to happen. Penn State will come firing out of the gate. Wins at Purdue and Auburn. A White Out win over Minnesota and, hell, I think the Nittany Lions can even steal a game at the Big House. But, an all-too-predictable loss to the Buckeyes will turn into a letdown loss at Indiana.

From there, losses to Michigan State or maybe even Maryland will be in the cards. This prediction will probably change on a week-by-week basis, but my brain is telling me to take this more realistic approach. I’ll believe the run game and offensive line have improved when I see it. You can’t win a lot of football games without that.

Sam Fremin: 10-2

Too many armchair coaches and quarterbacks are pointing to the 2020 and 2021 seasons as evidence of what’s to come. The COVID-riddled 2020 season is such an anomaly it’s not worth discussing. 2021 collapsed after an unfortunate injury to Sean Clifford left him hobbled for weeks, and the backups were unprepared.

With Clifford 100% healthy, a heavily hyped backup, and a returning offensive coordinator for the first time in years, this is a different situation. Penn State’s biggest opponents before Ohio State are Auburn, Michigan, and Minnesota. Auburn is in shambles, Michigan is tripping over itself, and Minnesota will not win in its first White Out appearance. Expect a loss to the (sadly) superior Ohio State and then another snowball loss somewhere else before the postseason.

Mikey DeAngelis: 9-3

A lot of people are doubting the Nittany Lions this year, but I actually think that they’re going to have a decent year. I think they’ll pull off a sneaky win against Ohio State or Michigan but will lose “easier” games, like Purdue, Michigan State, or Auburn. It’s a rebuilding year, but I think it’ll be a fun season to watch.

Haylee Yocum: 9-3

I’ve got to be honest — I don’t know a lot about the analytics of football. I just watch it. But, I’ve been feeling lucky lately. A quick look at the schedule shows me some of the tough matchups like Ohio State, Michigan, and maybe Michigan State. Of course, even if the team comes out on top for those difficult opponents, you never know when a team like Maryland can have a really good day.

Matt Brown: 8-4

Penn State is going into the 2022 season unranked for the first time since 2016. It comes as no surprise, as this was a team that at one point last season was ranked No. 4 in the nation and ended the year losing six of its last eight games.

This team will have its struggles this season and is far away from competing for a national championship. Playing Michigan and Auburn on the road will be very tough tests, and not having an Ohio State White Out also doesn’t help the Nittany Lions. In the end, Penn State won’t be the worst team in the Big Ten this season, but I doubt that this team can win more than nine games.

Mara McKeon: 10-2

Now I know I might be a little optimistic here, but I can see the team’s potential this year. Looking forward, I think the Nittany Lions will run into problems at Auburn and at home against Ohio State. After a loss in the White Out last year, I expect a really tough environment for Penn State in week three when it travels to Auburn. On the Ohio State side of things, a noon start time and a lack of the White Out will surely not help the momentum in Penn State’s favor. Besides these, Penn State should have a successful season.

Adam Babetski: 7-5

Penn State is simply not ready to contend nationally this year, and it won’t be until Drew Allar gets his chance. I’m willing to hear out those who think they were done in by injuries, but this year’s Nittany Lions are unranked in the preseason polls for a reason. As a shameless homer, though, I’d be happy to eat my words, and I hope that they’ll do much better than I think they will. In the meantime, the current roster doesn’t inspire confidence that the last two seasons were aberrations.

Frankie Marzano: 10-2

I might be a bit too optimistic here, but the truth is that Penn State can realistically finish with anywhere between six wins and 11 wins. To me, it all depends on how the Nittany Lions start their season. I do think that they will escape Purdue with a win and defeat Auburn down south as well. If that happens, all Penn State needs to do is win just one of three games against Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio State. It can happen, folks. As the great Stu Feiner once said, “READY TO ROLL!”

Gabe Angieri: 8-4

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

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Staff

Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.

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