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Penn State football: Lions drop in ESPN post-spring top 25 rankings

The Nittany Lions fell back several spots in ESPN’s most recent top 25 ranking.

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Penn State Football, ESPN post-spring top 25
April 15, 2023. Penn State head football coach James Franklin looks on prior to the annual Blue-White Game. Credit: Grace Carella // Basic Blues Nation.

Yesterday, we officially reached the halfway point of what has been a long yet exciting offseason for Penn State football fans. Since the turn of the year, the Nittany Lions have been a hot national topic. This is mainly because the Lions will no longer have long-time veteran quarterback Sean Clifford at the helm. The biggest question around the program is whether or not rising sophomore Drew Allar will rise to expectations. Major media outlets such as CBS Sports and ESPN seem to believe Allar will produce in a big way. This has been reflected in the ESPN post-spring Top 25, where Penn State is slotted at 8th in the country. Dropping two spots from their previous ranking, the Lions come in behind Big Ten East division foes Michigan (2) and Ohio State (5).

ESPN post-spring Top 25: Penn State football comes in at No. 8

Five months after Penn State’s dominant Rose Bowl triumph over Pac-12 Champion Utah, we have already started to see improvements to the exciting traits many of the younger players showed flashes of in 2022. Specifically, the running back tandem of Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen is slated to be a top 5 duo nationally. Both players have gotten bigger, stronger, and faster than they were as true freshmen.

Per ESPN, Penn State is not currently ranked as a team not directly in the playoff picture. However, ranking the team at No. 8 is not an indictment of the talent on the team. Instead, it shows how the team has the potential to crash the playoff party.

Penn State will look to notch its first-ever College Football Playoff berth in 2023. One would have to believe that a 1-1 split with the division-rival Wolverines and Buckeyes is essential to staying in the conversation. These are programs that have finished in the CFP top 5 for the past two seasons, and both were playoff units in 2022.

Explanation from the source

ESPN ranking Penn State at No. 8 in their post-spring rankings seemingly has a lot to do with their Big Ten East counterparts. Here is ESPN senior writer Mark Schlabach’s view on the topic:

“Can the Nittany Lions finally get past Michigan and Ohio State in the Big Ten East and contend for their first league title since 2016? It’s going to be difficult to do it this season, but they feel like they’ve got one of their better chances with Drew Allar, the No. 2 pocket passer in the 2022 ESPN 300, taking over the offense.”



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Mark is a proud graduate of Penn State's Class of 2019 and is a massive fan of Penn State athletics. Born and raised in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Mark is also a huge Pittsburgh sports fan and a self-proclaimed 'yinzer.' Mark is new to sports writing and cannot wait to connect with Nittany Nation in a way he never has before. Work has been featured on Bleacher Report, Yahoo, and Yardbarker.

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