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Penn State football ranked inside Athlon Sports preseason top-10

The Nittany Lions are receiving high marks from one of the most popular preseason magazines in the country.



Penn State Football, Athlon Sports, preseason top-10
Jan 2, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Nicholas Singleton (10) celebrates after defeating the Utah Utes in the 109th Rose Bowl game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The weather is getting warmer, and the days are getting longer. That can only mean one thing – it must be preview magazine season. Penn State football has been one of the most discussed and hyped programs in the country all offseason long. Now, as we roll into June, the Nittany Lions have made their first of what is likely to be many preseason top-10 rankings this summer. Recently, Athlon Sports ranked Penn State as the No. 8 team in the country in its preseason top-10.

Penn State football ranked No. 8 in preseason top-10

Late last month, Athlon Sports published its post-spring top-25 rankings as it rolled out its popular magazine for the summer. Penn State came in at No. 8, behind the usual suspects like Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, and Michigan. The entire top 10 is as follows:

  1. Georgia
  2. Michigan
  3. Alabama
  4. USC
  5. Ohio State
  6. LSU
  7. Florida State
  8. Penn State
  9. Washington
  10. Utah

What did Athlon Sports have to say about the Nittany Lions?

In its writeup, Athlon was extremely high on the Penn State offense coming into the season. “[Nick] Singleton’s big-play ability was on display in a dynamic true freshman campaign last fall (1,061 yards), and hopes are high for [Drew] Allar to elevate the passing game with a revamped receiving corps counting on key contributions from a couple of transfers,” wrote Athlon’s Steven Lassan. “The offensive line is also in good shape thanks to the return of future first-round pick Olu Fashanu at left tackle.”

Not to be outdone, the Nittany Lion defense was also highly praised. Although it didn’t mention any particular players by name, the outlet noted that Manny Diaz will return one of the best defenses in the Big Ten again.

Too high, too low, or just right?

While a preseason top-10 ranking is noteworthy in and of itself, Athlon’s No. 8 ranking may be on the lower end of the spectrum for the Nittany Lions this summer. Penn State is viewed by many as a realistic College Football Playoff contender this season. Recently updated odds from Draft Kings gave Penn State the sixth-best odds to make the playoff in 2023. The Nittany Lions were also recently named the best value to win the Big Ten by CBS Sports.

Regardless of preseason rankings, Penn State must prove its worth on the field. The Nittany Lions open with West Virginia, the first of four Power Five opponents in September. According to James Franklin, despite the expectations, those opening weeks will set the tone for the season. As Franklin recently told J.D. Pickell on The Hard Count Podcast, a solid start to the year will allow Penn State to get better each week and “put us in the best position to compete for a Big Ten championship.”

Whether or not all the hype around Penn State football in 2023 will come to fruition, only time will tell.

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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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