This time of the college football offseason is ripe for speculation. Spring practices are concluding, leaving fans without a taste of on-field action until August. As a result, fanbases run toward every glimpse at the upcoming season they can get. Although fans are still unwrapping the action from the Blue-White Game last Saturday, and the season opener against West Virginia University is still months away, the Nittany Lion faithful got their first morsel of off-season fodder recently. Earlier this week, a post that went viral on social media had many wondering if Penn State football had hinted at both the program’s starting QB and kickoff time for WVU.
Did Penn State football hint at starting QB, kickoff time for WVU?
On Friday, the Penn State football social media pages released several behind-the-scenes images from a recent photo shoot. The post, which shows several Nittany Lions posing in front of the steel gates at Beaver Stadium, indicated that the photo shoot was part of a promotion for NBC Sports. As part of the Big Ten’s new media rights deal, NBC will air Big Ten Saturday Night starting this fall. Called by analysts Noah Eagle and Penn State national championship-winning quarterback Todd Blackledge, the network will feature a Big Ten team in a marquee matchup each week from September 2 through November 25.
— Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) April 21, 2023
At first glance, it’s clear that the photo shoot will be used as part of NBC’s promotions for Big Ten Saturday Night. One image even features fans atop Penn State’s entrance to Beaver Stadium holding signs that say “Here Comes Saturday Night.” However, the post added more fire to the speculation that Penn State’s opening game of the 2023 season will be under the lights.
Earlier this week, another picture made the rounds on social media showing a countdown clock inside the Lasch Building set to the Nittany Lions’ opening game. On this clock, the kickoff time for the WVU game was clearly set to 7:30 PM on September 2. There are two Big Ten conference games on the opening Saturday of the college football season — Northwestern vs. Rutgers and Ohio State vs. Indiana. But even with lower expectations for the Mountaineers this season, Penn State’s matchup with WVU would still be the highest-profile game for the Big Ten in week one.
Additional speculation then swirled as to whether or not Penn State had hinted at its next starting QB as well. In the pictures released by the program, Nittany Lions KeAndre Lambert-Smith, Abdul Carter, Nick Singleton, Kaytron Allen, and Drew Allar are clearly featured. While all these players have high name recognition, Allar is the only one who wasn’t a significant contributor to Penn State’s Rose Bowl run last year.
But, expectations for the former five-star prospect are sky-high, and many expect he will replace Sean Clifford as Penn State’s starting QB this season. While this is a reasonable assumption to make, it’s important to note that Allar has yet to be named the starter, and James Franklin contends that the QB competition between him and Beau Pribula is genuine. The entire college football world is enticed by the stars of Penn State’s highly-rated 2022 recruiting class, so it’s also possible that this was the reason behind the selections for the photoshoot.
At any rate, Penn State football is one of the most exciting programs to watch from a national perspective this season. Many believe the Nittany Lions can be a dark horse candidate to win the Big Ten Championship and make the College Football Playoff. So, even if Penn State’s new starting QB doesn’t trot out to take the first snaps of the year under the bright lights of Beaver Stadium on September 2, you can expect the spotlight to be on the Nittany Lions in 2023.
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