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Penn State football ranked top 10 in preseason, but does it matter?

James Franklin recently broke down his thoughts on Penn State football being ranked top 10 in preseason rankings.

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Penn State football, James Franklin, top 10, preseason rankings
Jan 2, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin speaks in a press conference after defeating the Utah Utes in the 109th Rose Bowl game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After finishing with an impressive 11-2 record and securing a victory in the Rose Bowl game last season, it is hardly surprising that Penn State football is currently ranked in the top 10 in all post-spring preseason rankings. Last Thursday, the media had the opportunity to interview James Franklin and some of his assistant coaches. While it is undoubtedly positive that Penn State is once again ranked highly, the question remains: does it truly hold significance? Let’s take a look at what Franklin had to say.

James Franklin comments on Penn State football being ranked in top 10

Penn State football currently stands among the nation’s elite programs, earning a ranking as high as No. 4 in this year’s preseason rankings. Moreover, across all rankings, the Nittany Lions consistently secure a spot in the top 10, signifying a significant improvement from the previous summer when Penn State was unranked. Last week, on Thursday, head coach James Franklin expressed his views on the ongoing debate surrounding preseason rankings.

“Obviously, I do think there’s some value in starting the season ranked highly,” James Franklin said of Penn State football being ranked in the top 10 to start the year. “I think it makes the path a little bit easier to get where you want to go at the end of the season. But I think a good example of that would be TCU last year. I don’t think they were ranked in the top 25 or something like that before the season and made the playoffs. I don’t think we were ranked in the top 25 before the season and finished I think No. 7 or somewhere like that.”

Rankings mean little, but they can help

Obviously, Penn State football has high expectations this fall. The Nittany Lions boast a wealth of talent and depth, rivaling any team in the nation. Most analysts, as well as fans, anticipate that the Blue and White will be strong contenders for the Big Ten title and beyond in 2023. James Franklin acknowledges that preseason rankings hold limited significance but acknowledges their potential usefulness in aligning with the team’s long-term objectives.

“All that stuff is good, Franklin continued. “It creates a bunch of people to show up today. Again, it’s good for the community, it’s good for the state, it’s good for our conference, it’s good for Penn State.”

“But at the end of the day, all that stuff really doesn’t matter. And the guys in that locker room and in this building that are working the right way. We had a discussion … to talk about all these things like goals and objectives that people have and expectations. It’s great. We may do that one or two times a year. But what really matters is do our habits and our actions align with who we say we want to be and where we want to go? If not, it’s just talk with nothing to really back it up.”

On September 2nd, James Franklin and the Penn State football team will have a chance to defend their top 10 status as the Nittany Lions are scheduled to face West Virginia at 7:30 PM (EST) at Beaver Stadium in State College, PA.



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Chris, a Penn State University student, founded Basic Blues Nation in 2022. He remains a co-owner of the website today. Throughout a six-year writing career, Chris has been a beat writer, a staff writer, an Editor-In Chief, and more, serving as a member of the credentialed media for a number of Big Ten schools. He has covered everything from non-revenue sports to CFP National Championship matchups, as well as some professional and high school sports.

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