2018 Football Preview – Big Ten – Nittany Lions
Looking for 2018 Penn State Nittany Lions predictions? Yes, Saquon Barkley is gone, but don’t give up hope for this Penn State Nittany Lions squad as head coach James Franklin has proven to be as resilient as they come, and he will have one of the best Big Ten quarterbacks running the show. It’s Big Ten titles or busts these days in Happy Valley.
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2018-18 College Football Preview – Penn State Nittany Lions
Head Coach: James Franklin
2017 Record: 11-2
Penn State Nittany Lions Odds to win the 2018 FBS Championship: +2500
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After back-to-back 11-2 seasons, Penn State is itching to get over that hump.
2018 Penn State Nittany Lions Predictions: Team Strengths
In Franklin We Trust:
Head coach James Franklin has been a blessing for this Penn State organization as he’s led the way in reviving this football team from the ashes.
Just remember where this club was four years back; they couldn’t compete for a bowl game, they were constantly being criticized and harassed,
Now Franklin is honing in recruits and has brought this club back to prominence competing for a Big Ten titles on a regular basis, and he is doing it against the likes of Meyer, Harbaugh, and Dantionio.
He is a cornerstone for Penn State football and will keep them competitive for years to come.
No Barkley, No Problem?:
Saquon Barkley received all of the spot light last year, and deservedly so for the most part, but with his departure, Trace McSorley should finally get the recognition he deserves.
He was a high contributing factor to Penn State’s Big Ten title grab back in 2016, and made many more splashes in the 2017 season, including a gutsy drive in the wee minutes of that Iowa game to take home a victory.
Even in the Fiesta Bowl he performed admirably, but Barkley stole the spot light, even so, McSorley did not disappointed.
He’ll have some nifty playmakers in Juwan Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins to propel this offense, and if Justin Shorter is as good as advertised, then McSorley could be viewed as one of the top quarterbacks from the Big Ten.
2018 Penn State Nittany Lions Predictions: Team Weaknesses
Dealing With Attrition:
A year ago this defense was allowing 330 yards per game, while they only gave up 16.5 points per game, unfortunately they’ve dealt with the inevitable attrition factor.
This defense has to replace eight starters, four of which were the leading tacklers a season ago.
However, the Big Ten leaders in sacks from a year ago are again sporting a deep pass rush of experienced playmakers that include the likes of Shareef Miller, Shaka Toney, and Ryan Buchholz.
The problem is the linebacking corp will need to replace leading their leading tackler in Jason Cabinda and heavy-hitter Brandon Smith.
If heavily recruited Micah Parsons and veteran Koa Farmer can fill that void, then this defensive front seven will have nothing to worry about.
Aside from regrouping the front seven, Penn State will also need to replace the stellar safety duo of Troy Apke and Marcus Allen along with the starting corners.
There is some hope for John Reid and Nick Scott, but if their pass rush can be as potent as they were a year ago, then they’ll have a lot easier time back in coverage.
Penn State Nittany Lions Prediction: 9-3
Penn State is certainly going to be battle-tested, especially early on when they face Ohio State and Michigan State in back-to-back games, luckily for them those two games are at home.
It will only become less pleasant afterwards when visiting Indiana, then coming back home to face Iowa, then hitting the road to face Michigan, then coming back home to face Wisconsin.
McSorley and that pass rush are going to win them a lot of games, but it seems highly unlikely that Penn State will be able to run the table considering that strength of schedule.
As much as I like this team, it is hard seeing them eclipse the nine wins threshold.
2018 Penn State Nittany Lions Football Schedule
- 9/1/18 3:30 PM ET APP
- 9/8/18 8:00 PM ET @PITT
- 9/15/18 12:00 PM ET KENT
- 9/21/18 9:00 PM ET @ILL
- 9/29/18 TBD OSU
- 10/13/18 TBD MSU
- 10/20/18 TBD @IND
- 10/27/18 TBD IOWA
- 11/3/18 TBD @MICH
- 11/10/18 TBD WIS
- 11/17/18 TBD @RUTG
- 11/24/18 TBD MD
What do you think about our 2018 Penn State Nittany Lions predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2018!
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