Penn State football is coming off an impressive 11-2 season last fall, during which the Nittany Lions defeated the PAC-12 Champions (Utah) in the Rose Bowl and finished No. 7 overall. This fall, Penn State appears to be as good as it has ever been, with a wealth of returning talent and a few new faces to complement it. Currently, the talent and depth of this year’s team are something that has rarely been seen during the James Franklin era. According to a recent projection by 247 Sports, the 2023 Penn State football bowl game has the Nittany Lions facing off against Clemson in a New Year’s Six bowl, which would mark Penn State’s fifth NY6 bowl appearance in the past seven full-length seasons.
2023 Penn State football bowl game projected released by 247 Sports
A year ago, Clemson fell short against Tennessee in the Orange Bowl, finishing with an 11-3 record despite winning the ACC championship. This year, 247 Sports’ new bowl game projections have tied the Clemson Tigers to the Orange Bowl for the second consecutive season, where Dabo Swinney’s team is expected to face James Franklin’s Penn State Nittany Lions.
Some may consider a trip to the Orange Bowl in 2023 an underachievement for Penn State football, but given that the team has a new quarterback and many new players, a New Year’s Six bowl appearance would not be a bad outcome, especially considering how strong Ohio State and Michigan are looking. Regardless, most media outlets predict that the Nittany Lions will finish with a 10-2 record (losing to Ohio State and Michigan), which would likely result in another New Year’s Six bowl appearance for James Franklin’s team.
Over the past six seasons, Penn State has won three NY6 bowls (Fiesta, Cotton, and Rose) as well as a Big Ten championship, but the team has never won an Orange Bowl. The last time the Nittany Lions played in an Orange Bowl was in 2005, when Joe Paterno’s Big Ten champion team defeated Florida State to finish the season with an 11-1 record.
247 Sports lists both Michigan and Ohio State as playoff teams, with the Wolverines facing the Georgia Bulldogs and the Buckeyes facing the Texas Longhorns in the CFP semifinals next winter.
247’s take on Penn State’s 2023 bowl game
Here is what 247 Sports had to say about placing the Nittany Lions in the Orange Bowl this year:
“Florida State seems to be the preseason frontrunner in the ACC this spring, which is more than enough bulletin board material for Dabo Swinney. The Tigers come off another conference championship under his guidance and now have a difference-maker at quarterback who develops under new offensive coordinator Garrett Riley. A lot has to go right for Clemson to get back to the New Year’s Six in 2023, but this program’s been too consistent to play second fiddle to the Seminoles right now. Penn State’s two biggest games are Michigan and Ohio State. A split against that pair could get the Nittany Lions closer to the playoff.”
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