Coming into the 2023 season, Penn State football has one of the more interesting storylines of any team in the country. Can the Nittany Lions get out of the Big Ten East, which may contain three of the best five teams in the sport this year, and finally make a College Football Playoff? In a recent piece published by Pro Football Focus (PFF), one analyst explained how Penn State can do just that.
PFF explains how Penn State football makes the 2023 College Football Playoff
Ever since the clock struck zero on Penn State’s Rose Bowl win in January, the Nittany Lions have been a trendy darkhorse pick to contend for the Playoff in 2023. Even though 2024 may officially be the year for Penn State, many think James Franklin’s squad could make the College Football Playoff this year if everything falls the right way. Recently, Mitch Kaiser of PFF wrote a piece detailing the 15 teams across the country that could make the Playoff in 2023. Penn State joined Michigan and Ohio State as the three teams from the Big Ten that Kaiser felt could make the Playoff this fall.
“Don’t sleep on Penn State in 2023,” Kaiser wrote. “This team still might be a year away, but this will easily be James Franklin’s most talented squad since he arrived at State College.” Kaiser devoted much of his discussion to what the Nittany Lions bring back on the offensive side of the ball, including star running backs Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen.
Does Drew Allar hold the key?
However, Kaiser thinks Penn State’s Playoff hopes rest on one man — expected starting quarterback Drew Allar. “The deciding factor on if Penn State’s program will take that next step, though, will be quarterback Drew Allar,” wrote Kaiser. “Allar was a prized recruit who looked outstanding every time he stepped on the field last year as the backup. He has first-round NFL potential, and if he can live up to that hype, there’s no doubt Penn State will have another 10-win season. It’ll certainly help to have one of the best left tackles in the nation, Olu Fashanu, protecting him.”
This perspective is familiar to Nittany Lions fans, as many analysts have expressed that Penn State’s season could rest on the performance of Allar. Although he’ll likely experience growing pains stepping into the starting role for the first time, Allar does possess the raw potential to make game-changing throws. This is something that the Nittany Lions have lacked in matchups against Ohio State and Michigan in previous years. And if Penn State can get through its two main stumbling blocks in the Big Ten East, then the Nittany Lions should be sitting pretty come Playoff selection time.
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