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Penn State football: 2023 season will be an uphill battle, but one the Lions can win

Penn State football is facing many challenges this year, though they are well-equipped.



Penn State football special teams, Long Snapper
Sep 24, 2022; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lion players kneel in the end zone prior to the game against the Central Michigan Chippewas at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Central Michigan 33-14. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

The Penn State football 2023 schedule is daunting, to say the least. Within the first four weeks alone, the Nittany Lions are slated to face three Power Five programs, including two of the best defenses in college football: Illinois and Iowa.

Additionally, Penn State will face the challenges of its own youth, a new quarterback, and the usual hurdles of Ohio State and Michigan in the later stages of the schedule. This year’s slate is an uphill battle, but one that the Nittany Lions are equipped to handle.

Penn State football 2023 slate full of huge expectations

It comes as no surprise that Penn State football enters the 2023 season with massive expectations.

Last season, despite facing adversity, the Nittany Lions climbed the ranks of college football, going from unranked in Week 1 to the 7th-ranked team by the end. Furthermore, Penn State won a major postseason game and achieved 11 wins in a single season for the fourth time in the past six full seasons — a remarkable accomplishment, to say the least.

Unlike last summer, this year’s preseason rankings have the Penn State Nittany Lions as a consensus top 10 program. Some even rank the Lions as a top-4 team to start the new year. Additionally, Penn State has top 10 odds to win this year’s national championship and is considered a consensus College Football Playoff contender. From the looks of things, all the Nittany Lions need to do is get past Michigan or Ohio State, perhaps not both.

Nittany Lions battling youth, depth issues

Despite these high expectations, Penn State football still has some issues to deal with. The Nittany Lions have a new face at quarterback, and while most people expect Drew Allar to shine, it’s important to note that no one really knows how the Allar era will unfold in State College.

Penn State also has some depth concerns at positions like defensive tackle and wide receiver, although as summer approaches, it appears that the Nittany Lions may be working on resolving those issues.

In a hint of good news for Penn State football, the Michigan Wolverines will be visiting State College this year, which may give the Nittany Lions the edge they need to secure their first victory over Jim Harbaugh and his team since 2020. However, it also means that Penn State is headed to Columbus this fall to face a very determined Ohio State team.

Penn State ready for the tough challenge

With the combination of high expectations, concerns about youth and depth, and a challenging schedule, the Penn State football 2023 campaign will undoubtedly be an uphill battle for James Franklin and his staff. However, it is a challenge that the Nittany Lions are well-equipped to handle.

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