Connect with us

Football

Penn State Nittany Lions Football Preview: Predicting the 2017 season

A full week of looking at and dissecting the Penn State Nittany Lions is in the books. We’ve talked offense, defense and all points in between.

Preview Posts: Lessons from 2016 | State of the 2016 offense | Bold Predictions | talking10 Podcast | Impact Players |

Now it all comes down to this — how do we see the 2017 season actually playing out for James Franklin’s bunch.

Before we get to the game-by-game predictions and my thoughts on how this season plays out. Let’s look at the actual schedule in front of Penn State.

2017 Penn State Nittany Lions Football Schedule

Date Opponent Time/TV Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 2
Zips Akron Zips 
Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
Noon ET
ABC
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 9
Panthers Pittsburgh Panthers 
Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
3:30pm ET
ABC
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 16
Panthers Georgia State Panthers
Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
7:30pm ET
BTN
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 23
Hawkeyes at Iowa Hawkeyes 
Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
Time TBA
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 30
Hoosiers Indiana Hoosiers 
Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
Time TBA
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 7
Wildcats at Northwestern Wildcats 
Ryan Field, Evanston, IL
Noon ET
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 14
OFF
Saturday
Oct. 21
Wolverines Michigan Wolverines 
Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
Time TBA
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 28
Buckeyes at Ohio State Buckeyes 
Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
3:30pm ET
FOX
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 4
Spartans at Michigan State Spartans 
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
Time TBA
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 11
Scarlet Knights Rutgers Scarlet Knights (HC)
Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
Noon ET
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 18
Cornhuskers Nebraska Cornhuskers 
Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
Time TBA
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 25
Terrapins at Maryland Terrapins 
Maryland Stadium, College Park, MD
Time TBA
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets

*courtesy FBSchedules.com.

With that said, it is time to go game-by-game and see how our staff here at talking10 sees the Nittany Lions’ season going down. Can Franklin lead his team to back-to-back Big Ten titles or even an East division crown again?

Let’s see how Dave, Phil, Philip, Rayan, Zach and yours truly see this 2017 season playing out.

Andy’s Take: The Zips aren’t the zeros of the MAC anymore, but they aren’t the bowl-eligible team they were a few seasons ago either. If Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley are playing in the fourth quarter, this would be a bad game. Penn State wins going away.

Andy’s Take: Isn’t it nice to see old rivalries renewed? Last season this felt like an oh-oh moment for the Nittany Lions, losing 42-39 in the renewal of Pennsylvania’s biggest football rivalry. This season PSU gets the Panthers at home and with a team that is likely to be in much better health. That should give Franklin’s crew a measure of revenge (even if they’ll say it isn’t about that). Look for the defense to be the difference maker.

Andy’s Take: Georgia State went from bowl game to also-ran quickly. That’s what happens when you are a very young program that can’t just plug-and-play when losing big parts. Shawn Elliott, who spent the last few years at South Carolina as an offensive assistant, was an interesting hire for the Panthers. It just won’t matter much in this game. GSU doesn’t have the talent to stand up to PSU, so I’m thinking a 35-40 point blowout win at a minimum.

Andy’s Take: Seeing all Penn State logos in this one is a bit surprising. After all, Kinnick Stadium isn’t exactly Penn State’s favorite place to play. Iowa is 4-1 in the last five games played at home against PSU (all since 2000), and that gives me pause. However, I don’t trust Iowa’s defense to have improved enough to win this matchup. If there’s a game on the schedule I’m least confident about, it is this one.

Andy’s Take: This will be Indiana’s big test of its improving defense. Will it pass the test and make this a contest or will the Hoosiers defense fold under pressure from a really good Penn State offense? It appears we are all on the same page, picking PSU to win and go 5-0 as an entire staff. Look for this to be the high-scoring, crazy affair we’ve seen before between these two.

Andy’s Take: 6-0? That’s what everyone on staff believes will be the case here. However, this is a trap game if I’ve ever seen it. A road game against a cross-divisional foe a week before back-to-back games against Michigan and Ohio State…I’m terrified. Not so terrified that I don’t believe Penn State can eek out a win though. Look for Penn State’s passing game to win out over what should be a great battle on the ground between these two teams.

Andy’s Take: Still very little movement, as the staff trends towards a 7-0 start and a lot of national hype. It all adds up to ESPN’s GameDay coming to campus for the night game against Michigan. Simply put, Penn State doesn’t lose night games in Happy Valley very often. I’ll trust that and I’ll trust a more proven offense overall against a defense still trying to figure out who it is for the Wolverines.

Andy’s Take: Hey, we all believe the same thing about Penn State…shocker, huh? Well, in this case it appears a trip to the Horseshoe won’t be a lot of fun. While I think this will be the most interesting battle on Penn State’s schedule, I’ll go safe with the home team and with a defense that is playing at an elite level. It will be Barkley’s first game below 100 yards all season long, and that spells trouble for PSU.

Andy’s Take: What happens after a trip to Ohio State? A tricky trip to a program in crisis named Michigan State. While I fully expect the Spartans to struggle at times, they have too much talent to not be able to win a game like this. LJ Scott is dynamic enough to win and I fully believe we’ll see Brian Lewerke become a breakout star after taking the reigns. However, don’t expect this to be an easy win for Sparty, but I don’t trust Penn State’s defense enough to stop Michigan State’s offense enough to win it on the road.

Andy’s Take: Chris Ash will be under a lot of pressure at this point if I’m right about the Scarlet Knights. Progress has to come, but it won’t come against the Nittany Lions. Penn State smashes Rutgers at home and may put up its largest point total of the Big Ten season in a lop-sided affair.

Andy’s Take: There is a lot of hype surrounding what is happening in Lincoln, Neb. right now. That is all about the future though, and in 2017 there are too many questions about the Huskers to really feel like a road win in Happy Valley is a viable option. After a few weeks of not being on the same page, our staff is all Penn State in this one again and rightfully so.

Andy’s Take: Since joining the Big Ten, Maryland has wanted its old Penn State rivalry back. A win in the first meeting certainly helped. But since then Penn State has taken the last two and done so in dramatic (2015) and emphatic (2016) fashions. Now these two get final billing against each other with the potential for two of the most explosive offenses in the East division. While everyone believes Penn State wins, I am hesitant to think a blowout is coming. Look for an entertaining matchup here.

SEASON RECORDS:

Andy: 10-2 (7-2 B1G)
Dave: 10-2 (7-2 B1G)
Phil: 10-2 (7-2 B1G)
Philip: 10-2 (7-2 B1G)
Rayan: 10-2 (7-2 B1G)
Zach: 11-1 (8-1 B1G)

OUR PREDICTED 2016 BIG TEN STANDINGS: 

West:
1.
2. Northwestern (Andy)
3. Minnesota (Andy)/ Northwestern (Phil, Philip, Rayan, Zach)
4. Minnesota (Dave/Philip/Rayan/Zach)
5. Minnesota (Phil)/ Northwestern (Dave)
6.
7.

East:
1.
2. Penn State (Andy/Dave/Phil/Rayan/Zach)
3. Penn State (Philip)
4. Maryland (Dave)
5. Maryland (Phil/Rayan)
6. Maryland (Philip)
7. Maryland (Andy/Zach)

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

Comments
Advertisement

talking10 Podcast

More in Football