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Penn State Nittany Lions 2014 NCAA Football Gambling Odds & Predictions

2014-15 Football Previews – (Big 10) – Nittany Lions

Bill O’Brien did a tremendous job holding together the Penn State football program through an extremely difficult period. There were many who thought it was the impossible job, but O’Brien did a great job getting his players to believe. O’Brien has moved on to be a head coach in the NFL.

Big Ten 2014-2015 College Football Preview – Penn State Nittany Lions
Head Coach: James Franklin
2013 Record: 7-5
Penn State Odds to win the National Championship: Off (Ineligible)
Season Win Total: 8

James Franklin, who made a name for himself in the past few years by getting Vanderbilt to be competitive in the SEC, is the new head man in State College.

Penn State has gone 10-6 in Big Ten play despite their severe sanctions in the last two years. This might be the most difficult year because of the lack of depth at many key positions. Franklin has done a great job at Vanderbilt and I expect him to do well here, but this season could be a difficult one.

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They aren’t eligible for any postseason games for a third straight season.

Let’s take a closer look at this team.

Team Strengths:

Christian Hackenburg was thrown into the fire last year as the starting quarterback as a freshman. Penn State didn’t have anyone else as good as him on the roster. Hackenburg had some struggles, but he completed 59% of his passes and threw 20 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions. For a freshman starter in the Big Ten, those are some excellent numbers. The fact that he got so much quality time under center last year makes him much more dangerous in the years ahead. Hackenburg is one of the best young quarterbacks in the country and he’s the leader of this team.

Zach Zwinak and Bill Belton were very productive as a tailback tandem last year, and they are both back this season. In addition, the Nittany Lions bring in three extremely talented freshman halfbacks. This is a position of strength.
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Penn State is known as “Linebacker U” and while there aren’t any superstars at this position in 2014, the Nittany Lions have plenty of depth and solid team defense guys here. It’s not a position the coaching staff should be worried about.

Team Weaknesses:

The glaring weakness on offense is the offensive line. Penn State returns a grand total of one starter from last year, and they have experienced a couple key injuries here already in the spring. The guard spots on the line are totally wide open. Penn State has some very good players in the backfield on offense, but it will be tough for them to reach their full potential unless this line surprises me in 2014.

The Penn State defensive line lost a key part when coach Larry Johnson left to go to Ohio State in the offseason. He had done a great job with this group in recent years. This is another area where lack of depth could hurt the Nittany Lions quite a bit in 2014 too. There aren’t any strong pass rushers on the defensive front.

Penn State was one of the worst teams in the nation on special teams last season. They might be a bit better this year, but don’t expect them to fix all their issues overnight here.

2014-2015 Penn State Football Prediction: 7-5

Penn State has overachieved the last couple years, and I think it will be very hard for them to get to eight wins this year. The weakness in the trenches isn’t something this team is used to, and it will hurt a lot. Home games against Ohio State and Michigan State will be tough, as well their trip to Michigan.

Penn State’s future is bright, but they take a step back this season.

PSU Football Schedule

  • 8/30/14 8:30 AM ET @UCF
  • 9/6/14 TBD AKR
  • 9/13/14 8:00 PM ET @RUTG
  • 9/20/14 TBD MASS
  • 9/27/14 TBD NW
  • 10/11/14 7:00 PM ET @MICH
  • 10/25/14 8:00 PM ET OSU
  • 11/1/14 TBD MD
  • 11/8/14 TBD @IND
  • 11/15/14 TBD TEM
  • 11/22/14 TBD @ILL
  • 11/29/14 TBD MSU

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