Over/Under: 9.5 Wins for Penn State Football

Through the spring and summer, we’ll pose over/under scenarios for the upcoming Penn State football season and share our prediction.

We also want to hear from you. Tag us on social media (@HappyValleyPSU) and let us know what you think.

First up: 9.5 wins for Penn State football this season.

Why you should take the over

The short answer: Penn State won 11 games last season and has returning starters in key positions all over the field (the team loses only four starters from last season). The Nittany Lions feature great depth in the offensive backfield and in wideouts, and have two Heisman Trophy candidates in running back Saquon Barkley and quarterback Trace McSorley. Tight end Mike Gesicki is one of the top players in the country at his position, and with the offense having more time to acclimate to Joe Moorhead’s offense, it’s entirely possible that Penn State will improve upon last season, when the Lions averaged 38 points per game. Defensively, there’s depth, experience, and standout leaders in safety Marcus Allen (projected as one of the top safeties in the country) and linebacker Jason Cabinda (team captain). There’s a manageable non-conference schedule, Penn State should be favored in every game except against Ohio State, and the team has a bye before playing Michigan at home. Throw in the possibility of an extra game in the Big Ten Championship, and there’s a clear path to 10 wins for the Nittany Lions.

Why you should take the under

Penn State faces a critically important three-game stretch in the middle of the season, playing Michigan, Ohio State, and Michigan State in consecutive weeks. And if Penn State’s slow starts continue this season, the law of averages might take over and the Lions might not be able to manufacture all that late-game magic they created a year ago. There are road games at Iowa, Ohio State, and Michigan State, and the Lions also play Nebraska at home in a Big Ten divisional cross-over contest. And even picking up wins at Northwestern and Maryland won’t be a given. The nature of the Big Ten Conference dictates that a team takes a step back each year, and for Penn State, that could mean winning nine games. Remember when winning nine games constituted something of an average season, or even a disappointing campaign? That’s the level that James Franklin and Penn State have returned to, when winning 10-plus games every season is seemingly the new standard. In other words, it’s a tremendously exciting time for fans and everyone else around Penn State football.

HappyValley prediction

We’ll take the over, as we expect Penn State to finish the season 11-2.

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