Many college football fans believed that Penn State, and not Ohio State, deserved inclusion in the 2016 College Football Playoff. After all, the Nittany Lions knocked off the Buckeyes on their way to a nine-game winning streak at the close of the campaign and Penn State was the “hot” team down the stretch. Still, the Buckeyes got the nod and, to be fair, Penn State fell short of victory in the Rose Bowl against USC.
With that said, 2016 was very kind to Penn State and some believe that James Franklin’s team could be even better in 2017. Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports, though, is not one of them. The writer laid out his list of five teams that could take a step back next season and Penn State landed at No. 2 on the list.
To be clear, I still think Penn State is going to be a very good football team. It’s going to finish the season ranked, and probably closer to the top 10 than somewhere between 20 and 25. All of that being said, odds are this is still a team that’s going to take a step back. I mean, it won the Big Ten last season. Do you believe it’s going to repeat that feat this season? Even while it still plays in the same division as Ohio State and Michigan? I’m skeptical.
The presence of Ohio State and Michigan will always be an impediment to Penn State but Saquon Barkley returns for the Nittany Lions and they are a fast-rising program. On one hand, it makes sense that the Nittany Lions would repeat as division champs given what both OSU and Michigan lost to graduation and NFL defection, but it is also tough to take the next step to become a perennial power. Only time will tell but at least one analyst is skeptical.