2016-17 Football Previews – (Big Ten) – Nittany Lions
Looking for 2016 Penn State Nittany Lions predictions? The Nittany Lions started off the 2015 season 7-2, then dropped their last four including a 24-17 loss to Georgia in the Tax Slayer Bowl. James Franklin will see if he can build off that strong start despite the departure of QB Christian Hackenberg for the NFL.
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2016-17 College Football Preview – Penn State Nittany Lions
NCAA Division: Big 10
Head Coach: James Franklin
2015 Record: 7-6
Penn State Nittany Lions Odds to win the 2017 FBS Championship: 300/1
Penn State Big Ten Conference Odds: +1400
Win Total: 6.5 (Over -110 / Under -110)
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Penn State Nittany Lions Predictions: Team Strengths
After the 2015 season severely hurt Hackenberg’s NFL prospectus, it was a bit surprising to see him dart for the draft. However, this was actually good news for Penn State.
Franklin’s offensive system is best when its QB is a dual-threat.
Hackenberg wasn’t that at all and the awkwardness of trying to mesh his talent with Franklin’s system was very clear – particularly against Temple when Hackenberg was sacked 10 times.
Who will start at QB for Penn State remains to be seen but Franklin has his guys now and that will be obvious in 2016.
Expect the Nittany Lion offense to be a dangerous rushing attack with Saquon Barkley returning following his 1096 rushing yard campaign last season despite missing two games.
Whether it is Trace McSorley, Tommy Stevens, or Jake Zembeic at quarterback, they will be equipped with weapons in Barkley as well as Chris Goodwin (1101 receiving yards) and DaeSean Hamilton (899 receiving yards).
With the offensive line having much more experience going into this year than last, the Penn State offense could turn into a very productive and exciting group to watch in the Big Ten this season.
Penn State Nittany Lions Predictions: Team Weaknesses
It has been a long time since the Penn State offense had higher expectations than the defense but 2016 just might be that year.
The defense overall can’t necessarily be regarded as a weakness as they will be solid – particularly against the run.
However, they only return five starters on defense from last season so there certainly will be some struggles early on.
They led the nation in sacks per game last season but lost Carl Nassib, Austin Johnson, and Anthony Zettel from their defensive line.
Their linebacking corps will be solid and their secondary should be improved but as we have often seen, when a team lacks a pass rush then the whole defense is exploited.
The speed and athleticism of their linebackers will make the Nittany Lion defense good against the run but as a whole their defense will struggle – particularly in the early going as they gain experience.
Penn State Nittany Lions 2016 Prediction: 8-4
A favorable schedule for Penn State will feature home games against Big 10 powerhouses Ohio State, Iowa, and Michigan State. The Nittany Lions are 54-17 at home over the last ten years so the home field advantage is very real.
Michigan State and Ohio State both will be very inexperienced this year too so that will play to the Nittany Lions advantage.
However, Michigan State will start the season very inexperienced when they likely will struggle but Penn State doesn’t get the Spartans until the last game of the season so they’ll be plenty experienced by then – regardless of their record.
A home game against Temple will likely be a big redemption game after the Owls handled the Nittany Lions in Philadelphia early last season.
A date against Michigan in “The Big House” will be no fun for the young quarterbacks.
I see Penn State capitalizing on their favorable conference schedule to produce a 8-4 record.
2016 Penn State Nittany Lions Football Schedule
- 09/03/2016 vs. Kent State 3:30 pm
- 09/10/2016 at Pittsburgh 12:00 pm
- 09/17/2016 vs. Temple 12:00 pm
- 09/24/2016 at Michigan TBA
- 10/01/2016 vs. Minnesota TBA
- 10/08/2016 vs. Maryland 12:00 pm
- 10/15/2016 BYE
- 10/22/2016 vs. Ohio State 8:00 pm
- 10/29/2016 at Purdue TBA
- 11/05/2016 vs. Iowa 7:30 pm
- 11/12/2016 at Indiana TBA
- 11/19/2016 at Rutgers 8:00 pm
- 11/26/2016 vs. Michigan State TBA
What do you think about our 2016 Penn State Nittany Lions predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2016!
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