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Where does Josh Pate rank Penn State football heading into the 2023 season?

According to one of the most well-known and respected voices in the sport of college football, Penn State belongs in the top 10.



college football, Penn State football, Josh Pate ranks Penn State
Jan 2, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Mitchell Tinsley (5) celebrates with wide receiver Liam Clifford (82) after making a catch for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Utah Utes in the 109th Rose Bowl game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 college football season was not kind to the Penn State Nittany Lions, who started off 5-0, yet saw many key injuries, which led to a 7-6 finish all said and done. Still, the 2022 season got Penn State football back on track as the Nittany Lions managed to finish 11-2 overall, ranked in the top 10, and won the Rose Bowl game against No. 8 Utah. Heading into the 2023 season, PSU has much higher expectations — in fact, Josh Pate ranks Penn State in his top 10, and claims that the Lions’ ceiling might be even higher than where he has them.

Josh Pate ranks Penn State football in top 10 ahead of the 2023 college football season

Over the past six full seasons, Penn State football boasts four 11-win seasons, four top 10 finishes, three New Year’s Six wins, five ranked finishes, and a Big Ten Championship. As we turn the page from 2022 to 2023, the Nittany Lions are looking to finally break through their glass celing of 11-2 and reach the College Football Playoff for the first time in program history, yet major programs like Michigan and Ohio State stand in their way.

Josh Pate, one of the most influential and praised voices in college football media, thinks that the Nittany Lions are the real deal this year, and says put PSU in his top 10 for 2023. Here is where Josh Pate ranks Penn State football and why he thinks the Lions might be gearing up for a playoff run.

Pate’s breakdown: “Penn State’s had trouble with Ohio State. Penn State’s had trouble with Michigan. Other than those two, Penn State’s done a pretty darn good job out there. They’ve got four 11+ win seasons since 2016. Administrative synergy is no small thing. You’re seeing a recruiting uptick. The overall talent level on that roster? You’ve seen a little uptick. Drew Allar at quarterback? Boy, that position is not such a gigantic question mark facing that program anymore. Passion was never going to be a problem there. Multiple, multiple generations of investment was never going to be a problem. A high-profile brand, that was never going to be a problem. It was just degrees of change. That’s what it was going to take. At No. 7, that’s not a ceiling for Penn State; they could climb even higher than that.”

Nittany Lions are facing massive expectations, now must deliver this fall

Pate — like many others — is clearly high on the Penn State football team heading into the new season. As Pate stated, much of Penn State’s 2023 campaign will be decided by rising sophomore Drew Allar, who will be taking over as the Nittany Lions’ starting quarterback this fall — he will be the first quarterback not named Sean Clifford to earn the full-time starting role at Penn State since 2018 when Trace McSorley took his final snaps in the Blue and White.

Penn State football fans will get their first look at the 2023 Nittany Lions during the team’s annual Blue-White spring game on April 15th at Beaver Stadium in State College, PA.

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Chris Mangum is currently a Penn State student and serves as a writer and editor covering Big Ten athletics. He has served as a beat writer, online reporter, print reporter, and more over the past few years of his career. He currently serves as the managing editor for Basic Blues Nation and others.