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Penn State Football Record Predictions According To National Media Outlets

Penn State football is in the air, folks, and so are sky-high expectations for James Franklin’s crew ahead of its week one battle against West Virginia. 

With college football’s week zero slate in the rearview, most Power Five units are set to kick off the fall campaign beginning on Thursday with contests running all the way through Labor Day weekend. 

The extensive menu of matchups coincides with the release of full record and playoff predictions by national media outlets, with many high-profile analysts selecting the Nittany Lions as a darkhorse contender to reach new heights. 

Let’s take a look at where a few notable publications slot the Nittany Lions ahead of their 12-game regular season gauntlet set to begin this Saturday. 

ESPN: 10-2, New Year’s Six Bowl Berth

ESPN’s senior college football writer Mark Schlabach projects Franklin’s group will finish with two losses for the second consecutive season, giving Michigan and Ohio State a one-game edge over the Nittany Lions in the Big Ten East divisional race. 

While most would assume Schlabach selected Penn State to fall against the conference’s top two foes, the analyst surprisingly picked the Nittany Lions to outlast the likely favored Wolverines on November 11, only to unexpectedly drop a different in-conference matchup.

Although it’s unclear which other opponent Schlabach thinks Penn State will fall to other than Ohio State, another 10-2 run with a win over Michigan would almost certainly warrant the program its fifth New Year’s Six bowl appearance since 2016. 

CBS Sports: 11-1, College Football Playoff Appearance

A pair of analysts from one of the Big Ten’s newest media rights partners, Josh Pate and Dennis Dodd, believe the Nittany Lions will finally outlast either Ohio State or Michigan and cruise to an 11-1 clip. 

Despite uncertainties at quarterback, Pate affirms the Buckeyes will wear opponents down defensively, resulting in an unblemished 12-0 record and a No. 1 seed distinction in the four-team bracket. 

Moreover, the Late Kick host thinks the Nittany Lions will drop a thriller in Columbus, but overcome Michigan at home, sending Jim Harbaugh’s crew packing before falling at home to Ohio State. 

Dodd, on the other hand, predicts Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan to all finish 11-1, resulting in a playoff field of Georgia and the Big Ten’s top three squads from the same division. 

Additionally, Dodd projects Franklin to hoist coach of the year honors after navigating the Nittany Lions through the nation’s 11th-toughest schedule. 

On3: 10-2, New Year’s Six Bowl Berth

Jesse Simonton of On3 believes Michigan will topple Iowa for the Big Ten title, giving Harbaugh’s unit its third-straight conference crown. 

As for Penn State, however, Simonton thinks the Nittany Lions are still a year away from firmly planting themselves in late-season playoff contention. 

“The Nittany Lions are another year from being a year away,” Simonton wrote. “At least that will be the postseason narrative in Happy Valley.”

Yahoo! Sports: 11-1, College Football Playoff Appearance

Within Yahoo! Sports’ five-man panel, writer Sam Cooper has faith in Franklin’s front seven to wear opposing offensive lines down with physicality and toughness through Manny Diaz’s scheme. 

“As for Penn State, I think the Nittany Lions legitimately have a top-five defense in the country — maybe even better,” Cooper wrote. “I have [Penn State] going 11-1 and Ohio State going 10-2, so [Penn State] gets the No. 4 spot in the [College Football Playoff].”

By Cooper’s merit, the Nittany Lions would take down Ohio State on the road, but falter to Michigan in a battle of undefeated units at Beaver Stadium in early November. 

After sneaking into the playoff as the fourth seed in the dance, Cooper thinks Penn State will fall to Georgia, who he believes will be the last squad standing as the national champion. 

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About the Author

Connor Krause

Connor Krause is a senior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania double majoring in journalism and business. He is a lifelong Penn State football and basketball fan and enjoys rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams. In his free time, Connor can be found playing golf or pick-up basketball. You can follow his Twitter and Instagram @ckrause_31.

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