Last September, Penn State football traveled down to the Plains to deliver an emphatic 41-12 beatdown of the Auburn Tigers on national TV. The game would serve as a precursor of what was to come, as the Nittany Lions would run off a similar style of punishing play through the final month of the season, culminating with a Rose Bowl victory. Now, many expect Penn State to continue this level of play into the 2023 season. This includes Gary Danielson, the CBS Sports analyst who broadcasted Penn State’s showcase performance against Auburn to the world last season. Yesterday at Big Ten Football Media Day, Danielson issued a bold challenge to the Nittany Lions for this year.
Gary Danielson issues a bold challenge for Penn State football in 2023
This week, Penn State and the other 13 member institutions gather in Indianapolis for Big Ten Football Media Day. Although the head coaches and player representatives for each school are the headliners for the event, personalities from across the college football world have made their way to Lucas Oil Stadium to talk Big Ten football. Among this latter group is Gary Danielson, the lead color commentator for CBS Sports’s college football coverage. Traditionally having broadcasted SEC games, Danielson and CBS will begin coverage of Big Ten football as part of the conference’s new media rights deal.
Yesterday, Gary Danielson joined Sirius XM’s Big Ten Radio to discuss matters related to the conference and college football overall. Near the end of the conversation, Danielson was asked if he thought Penn State football could compete for a national championship this season based on what he saw from the Nittany Lions in 2022.
“I think most of the pressure [in the Big Ten] should be on Penn State,” Danielson answered. “This is their team…They got a new quarterback. He’s got the pedigree to be a great quarterback, and we’ll see if he can handle the outside distractions,” Danielson said, presumably of expected starting quarterback Drew Allar.
Then, Danielson issued a challenge regarding the Nittany Lions’ title hopes this fall. “But, you know, if not this year, when?” Danielson asked. “They’re stacked, they’re ready to win. They got the running game. They’ve got an offensive line. They’ve got linebackers. They got great depth. I think the challenge should be for them, you know, let’s get it done because this year. Let’s get it done. That’s the pressure.”
The bold statement from one of the most well-known analysts in the game may strike some as surprising. But Danielson is not alone in his assessment of Penn State football in 2023. A near consensus preseason top-10 team so far this summer, the increased expectation clearly comes with increased pressure to perform. While we don’t know if James Franklin and the Nittany Lions can rise to the occasion in 2023, we do know that, much like the Auburn game last year, Penn State’s success or failure this season will be on display for all to see.
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