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MMQB - What’s Your Confidence Level in the 2021 Season?

On a scale of 1 to 15-0 or GTFO

Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

You ever just go back and forth on something? Maybe you’re eyeballing a nice new shirt, but man it’s expensive. Would be good for that upcoming company luncheon though wouldn’t it? But shoot, the price. Be nice to have that 30% Kohl’s discount.

Ah, screw it, buy the dang shirt.

That’s been me with Penn State football in thinking about the 2021 season.

MMQB asks: what’s your confidence level in the 2021 season?

On the one hand, I look back to 2019, and see a LOT of the same players, and think - by gosh, that team went 11-2, and had a realistic chance at an at-large playoff spot were it not for a trip up on the road at Minnesota. An improved OC, a “back to normal” Sean Clifford, what should be an excellent secondary, and generally solid at all other positions. Yeah, I could see this team making some real noise in 2021.

On the other hand, playing on the road at Wisconsin to open the season is tough. Auburn in week 3 is tough. Playing at OSU is tough. And like it or not, Sean Clifford did indeed struggle in 2020. I look back to the 0-5 start in 2020, and see a LOT of the same players. Can these guys possibly get their minds right after that? Can they come out in the first few games and play with purpose, rather than the usual, somewhat listless outings against the Idahos and Buffalos of the world? I could see the team struggling.

For me, the absolute floor for the team is 8-4. I figure somewhere between Wisconsin, Auburn, Iowa, Ohio State, Indiana, and Michigan there could be four losses. I legitimately don’t see a 6-6 type season, unless Yurcich’s offense just basically doesn’t do anything. On a scale of 1 to 10, I think my confidence level in 8-4 is about a 5. I would be disappointed in 8-4, and think the team will do better.

The ceiling? Well, I’ve been burned too many times since 2016 in thinking this team can actually beat OSU. But I do think they have a realistic ceiling of 11-1, with that same outside shot at an at-large playoff bid. My confidence level for 11-1 is probably closer to a 4, only because it’s still awfully tough to only slip up once in 12 games.

So for me, I have the most confidence in 10-2. Probably up near 7 or 8. OSU is a pretty sure fire loss, but for some reason I just think that a full off season with a new OC is going to help the offense a BUNCH. And I do think the secondary is going to be lights out, which will ease the pressure on both the LBs (talented but a bit raw), and the DL (inexperienced, but again talented).

But what about you? What’s your confidence level for 2021?