The Penn State Nittany Lions are coming off a breakout season in 2016 in which they won the Big Ten title and earned a Rose Bowl berth. Now, the Nittany Lions are looking to repeat their success in conference while making up for last year's College Football Playoff snub. Can they accomplish those goals? Here's a game-by-game prediction of Penn State's schedule this year:
Week 1: vs. Akron Zips
Prediction: WIN (1-0)
Penn State's first game of the season is a very winnable one that will allow them to shake off the rust.
Week 2: vs. Pitt Panthers
Prediction: WIN (2-0)
This is the second year in a row in which these two in-state rivals will play and Penn State is looking to get revenge for last year's loss. Pitt is going through a transition after losing quarterback Nathan Peterman and running back James Conner, highlighting the Nittany Lions' major talent advantage.
Week 3: vs. Georgia State Panthers
Prediction: WIN (3-0)
Another Group of 5 team that will give PSU an early season tune up before starting conference play.
Week 4: at Iowa Hawkeyes
Prediction: WIN (4-0)
Just ask Michigan how dangerous it can be to play at Kinnick Stadium. Luckily for PSU, they have too much offensive firepower for a rebuilding Hawkeyes team to match.
Week 5: vs. Indiana Hoosiers
Prediction: WIN (5-0)
Indiana has a new head coach in Tom Allen and several major question marks on defense. Saquon Barkley should run wild in Happy Valley in this one.
Week 6: at Northwestern Wildcats
Prediction: WIN (6-0)
Northwestern has a legitimate Player of the Year candidate in running back Justin Jackson, and many like the Wildcats as a dark horse in the Big Ten West. That said, they don't have the talent elsewhere to compete with Penn State - especially in the defensive front seven.
Week 7: BYE
Week 8: vs. Michigan Wolverines
Prediction: WIN (7-0)
Michigan only returns three starters from last year's team, the fewest of any program in the country. Their underclassmen should be starting to find their stride by this point in the season, but playing in Happy Valley will be a major challenge for them. Expect the Nittany Lions to win a relatively close game.
Week 9: at Ohio State Buckeyes
Prediction: LOSS (7-1)
This is the game of the year in the Big Ten. Penn State's upset over the Buckeyes is what allowed them to win the Big Ten East and Ohio State is out for revenge. The Buckeyes have a slight talent advantage, yet the difference will be playing this game at The Horseshoe. This will be PSU's first loss of the season.
Week 10: at Michigan State Spartans
Prediction: WIN (8-1)
Michigan State will be better than they were last year, but they're still in rebuild mode. They need to find a quarterback, and until they do, their offense will continue to be putrid.
Week 11: vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Prediction: WIN (9-1)
The Scarlet Knights are making progress under head coach Chris Ash, but they still have a ways to go before they're competitive in the Big Ten. Chalk this up as an easy win for PSU.
Week 12: at Nebraska Cornhuskers
Prediction: WIN (10-1)
Nebraska's defense will be very good this year, but they won't have an answer for Trace McSorley, Saquon Barkley and Penn State's offense (to be fair, no one really has those answers). PSU wins this game in Happy Valley.
Week 13: at Maryland Terrapins
Prediction: WIN (11-1)
The Terps were better than expected under D.J. Durkin last year and they have the talent to be a good defensive team, but there is still a lot of work to be done. This budding rivalry will be heated, but as we saw last year, there is a significant talent gap in favor of Penn State.Back to the Penn State Nittany Lions Newsfeed