While it’s still entirely too early to think about rankings for the 2019 season, it’s becoming clear where the national pundits see Penn State heading into next season. Athlon pegged the Nittany Lions at #13 in its “Way Too Early” 2019 rankings. Now Sporting News has followed suit to place Penn State at #12 heading into the fall.
Per Sporting News:
Tommy Stevens will take over at quarterback, and he’ll have an explosive talent to throw to in KJ Hamler. Edge rusher Micah Parsons could have a breakout season, too. Close losses to Ohio State have kept the Nittany Lions out of the Playoff race the last two seasons. James Franklin still has the talent capable of a breakthrough.
Sporting News also has Ohio State and Michigan ahead of Penn State, ranked #5 and #10, respectively. After that, no Big Ten team appears until Wisconsin at #22. They also include defending West Division champs Northwestern at #24, and Minnesota at #25. The Gophers could be on the verge of breaking through under P.J. Fleck in his third year with the program after a 7-6 season that closed with a blowout victory against Georgia Tech in the Quick Lane Bowl.
The 2019 season begins in 236 days for Penn State, when they will host the Idaho Vandals on Aug. 31 in Beaver Stadium.