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Penn State football on cusp of top 5 in Phil Steele preview magazine

One industry guru and editor of the widely popular college football preview magazine is high on the Penn State Nittany Lions this season.

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Penn State football, top 5, Phil Steele preview magazine
Oct 22, 2022; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Nicholas Singleton (10) runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Minnesota 45-17. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

The positive preseason hype for Penn State football continues to come in waves. The Nittany Lions have been a near consensus top 10 team in most preseason polls to date and have even landed in the top 5 in some modeling. Now, one of the most popular college football preview magazines has Penn State knocking on the door of the top 5 yet again. James Franklin’s squad ranks No. 6 in the top 25 of the recently released Phil Steele preview magazine.

Phil Steele preview magazine ranks Penn State football at No. 6

It’s the time of year when college football preview magazines begin to fly off the checkout line racks of grocery stores everywhere. For decades, Phil Steele has been one of the most respected names in the industry, and his preseason magazine is always a fan favorite. Steele is high on the Nittany Lions in this year’s version of the magazine, ranking Penn State as the sixth-best team in America in his preseason top 25. The entire top 10 is as follows:

  1. Georgia Bulldogs
  2. Clemson Tigers
  3. Michigan Wolverines
  4. Alabama Crimson Tide
  5. Ohio State Buckeyes
  6. Penn State Nittany Lions
  7. USC Trojans
  8. Florida State Seminoles
  9. LSU Tigers
  10. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Steele’s top 10 diverges from most other preseason rankings in several areas. Notably, Steele is high on Clemson at No. 2 and a bit lower on Ohio State at No. 5. Steele is on the high side of what has been the “acceptable” range for Penn State in most polls, as the Nittany Lions have typically been slotted between No. 6 and No. 8.

Tough road ahead?

Penn State is one of five Big Ten teams to land inside Steele’s top 25. In addition to the three Big Ten teams inside the top 10, Steele also includes Wisconsin (13) and Iowa (17) in his ranking. In-state rival Pitt also made a late appearance in the ranking, coming in at No. 23.

At this point, it doesn’t look like the hype train for Penn State football will be slowing down any time soon. Many expect the Nittany Lions to be similarly slotted in the preseason polls released between now and the start of the season. But with three potential top-20 games – including two top-5 matchups – according to Phil Steele, Penn State will have to prove its worth if it wants to be ranked this highly at season’s end.



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Matt is a Co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.

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