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Penn State football earns top 5 spot in SP+ rankings

The Nittany Lions have gotten high praise from the SP+ ranking system.

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Nov 12, 2022; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Kaytron Allen (13) runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Maryland Terrapins at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Maryland 30-0. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

The SP+ model, one of the most trusted and looked to college football prediction models, is high on the 2023 Penn State football team. In fact, the SP+ model is high on the Big Ten East division, as the Nittany Lions are one of three Big Ten East programs to break the top-5 of the preseason SP+ rankings.

SP+ loves the Big Ten East

In the initial SP+ preseason rankings, the Penn State football team is ranked No. 5 — the Nittany Lions are one of four Big Ten programs to break the top-25, and one of three Big Ten East teams to make the top-5. Ahead of Penn State football in the rankings is the reigning National Champions (Georgia), the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Michigan Wolverines, and the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Michigan, the defending Big Ten Champions for the second year in a row, sits at No. 3 in the rankings with a 28.8 rating. Ohio State sits one place ahead of the Wolverines with a 30.0 rating. The Penn State Nittany Lions sit at No. 5, with a 24.4 rating.

The fourth and final Big Ten program that graced the top-25 is the Wisconsin Badgers, who finished 2022 with a 7-6 overall record, though have made many massive offseason changes since, and are looking dangerous in 2023. The Badgers currently sit at No. 25 overall in the SP+ rankings.

Penn State football must deliver on high expectations

As we all know, Penn State football has the highest expectations it has seen in years. James Franklin’s Nittany Lions are coming off of an incredible 11-2 Rose Bowl season in 2022 — one that ended with a 35-21 victory over No. 8 Utah in the 2023 Rose Bowl game. In 2023, with Drew Allar at QB, the coaching staff intact, and a loaded roster on both sides of the football, the Nittany Lions are poised to compete for a Big Ten title this fall.

The Nittany Lions’ two toughest games are at Ohio State and against Michigan; these two games will define Penn State’s 2023 season.

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