Penn State Nittany Lions
Location: State College, PA
Coach: James Franklin (34-7) 4th Season
Stadium: Camp Randall Stadium (Capacity: 80,321)
4th: Big Ten (2nd East Division)
15th: Division I
2017 In A Sentence: A great season, but most Penn State fans are wondering what might have been had they managed just four extra points. Back-to-back heartbreaking losses to Ohio State and Michigan State ended up messing up their CFP dreams, but they ended their 11-2 season with a win over Washington in the Holiday Bowl.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: Is it even a question? RB Saquon Barkley was the toast of Pennsylvania last year with his freakish 2,154 all-purpose yards and scoring (126 total points). It’s impossible to not miss an athlete of his caliber on your team.
Key Player: How good is QB Trace McSorley without one of the most dynamic offensive players in Penn State history backing him up? Penn State fans are about to find out, but folks are optimistic that he will really build on his success, which was obscured somewhat by Barkley. Completing 61.8% of his passes and having thrown a touchdown pass in 28 straight games, he seems up to the challenge of having a 2018 to remember. But will he?
Fearless Prediction: Penn State’s cupboard is hardly bare, but there has to be some level of adjustment period necessary as the nature of Penn State’s offense might change somewhat, thanks to the departure of offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead to Mississippi State. But with the talent returning it’s no stretch to see Penn State competing for the Big 10 title – if everything fills in perfectly.
Chuck has been writing about Lehigh football since the dawn of the internet, or perhaps it only seems like it. He’s executive editor of the College Sports Journal and has also written a book, The Rivalry: How Two Schools Started the Most Played College Football Series.
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