No. 7 Penn State

A year ago at this time, if there was talk about Penn State at all, it was about James Franklin’s effort to restore the Nittany Lions to their pre-scandal glory. And when and if that might happen.

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It happened. Almost overnight. On the night of Oct. 22, Penn State reversed its fortunes, shocking Ohio State and the college football world. That propelled the Nittany Lions into the Big Ten championship game, rather than the Buckeyes or Michigan. And then Penn State put on a comeback for the ages, shocking Wisconsin, which had built a 21-point lead.

There’s no more shocking coming from Penn State this year.

Quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley, who both are candidates for every honor you can name except the Vezina Trophy, are among the 10 starters back on offense. And the five new defensive starters are experienced after filling in for injured players last fall.

So. . . the question is, are the Nittany Lions ready to do it again? That will be a tall order with the Ohio State rematch coming in Columbus on Oct. 28, and the Buckeyes also back in droves. But all in all, that’s a pretty good question for Franklin and the Penn State program to have.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

Penn State will have a home date vs. Michigan a week before it says hello to Columbus. So. . . eight days in October will tell the tale.

However that turns out, it’s pretty safe to say Penn State is in good hands with Franklin. The only thing that would be shocking now is if the program did not sustain its return to being a perennial power.[/membership]