Sporting News way-too-early top 25 slightly less optimistic about Penn State in 2023


It seems that most of the way-too-early top 25 rankings for the 2023 season are suggesting Penn State will be in the Big Ten and College Football Playoff hunt with rankings sitting just outside of the College Football Playoff. The Sporting News also sees Penn State having a top-10 worthy season but is coming off slightly less optimistic about its ranking next season.

The Sporting News’ way-too-early top 25 ranking released this week places Penn State at no. 9 in its look ahead to the 2023 season. That is a few spots lower than similar way-too-early rankings released by 247Sports and ESPN, for example. But it may be unfair to suggest Sporting News thinks Penn State won’t be as good as the other rankings suggest. It may be more of the fact Sporting News is more optimistic about some other programs than the other outlets have been.

The top four in the Sporting News ranking are similar to most others with Georgia and Alabama taking the top two spots and Michigan and Ohio State each ranked ahead of Penn State. But Sporting News has USC, TCU, LSU, and Tennessee all ranked ahead of the Nittany Lions.

Here is what Sporting News had to say about Penn State in 2023;

James Franklin broke the losing streak against top-10 teams with Penn State’s impressive 35-14 victory against Utah in the Rose Bowl. Now, the Drew Allar era at quarterback begins, and running back Nick Singleton seems primed to be one of the best running backs in the country. Tackle Olu Fashanu is back, too. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz returns a solid unit that features Abdul Carter and Kalen King. This might be their best team since the 2016 Big Ten championship team. Michigan visits Happy Valley, and the Nittany Lions have to win at Ohio State. The stakes have not changed.

Penn State going 2-0 against Michigan and Ohio State would in all likelihood put Penn State firmly in the playoff picture, as long as it avoids a speedbump elsewhere on its 2023 schedule. But just earning a split between the two teams could be enough to factor into Penn State having a shot at the Big Ten title, and perhaps a spot in the College Football Playoff for the first time. But the assessment is correct in suggesting Penn State has to do some damage against the Wolverines and Buckeyes if it wants to take the next step toward a playoff berth.


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