CFB: Top 25 Countdown: No. 8 Penn State
By Randall Perry
No. 8 Penn State
Coach: Joe Paterno
Record: 383-127-3, 42 years
Last season: 11-2, 7-1 Big Ten
Bowl game: Lost to Southern Cal 38-24 in the Rose Bowl
Overview: The race continues to see who will be the all-time winningest coach in college football. The big news in the off-season was an academic scandal at Florida State that resulted in the NCAA’s docking Bobby Bowden 14 victories. Bowden is appealing the ruling and at the moment is only one win behind Paterno. Penn State’s only blemish in the regular season last year was a 24-23 loss to Iowa when the Hawkeyes kicked a field goal on the last play of the game. The Nittany Lions were ranked No. 3 at the time.
Key returnees: QB Daryll Clark, Sr.; RB Evan Royster, Jr.; C Stefen Wisniewski, Jr.; DT Jared Odrick, Sr.; LB Sean Lee, Sr.; LB Navorro Bowman, Jr.
Why Penn State is dangerous: The Nittany Lions have a talented backfield. Daryll Clark threw for 2,592 yards and 19 touchdowns, with only six interceptions. Evan Royster had an outstanding sophomore season, rushing for 1,236 yards. Penn State has always been known for its outstanding linebackers and this year will be no different. Navorro Bowman had 106 tackles as a sophomore.
Why Penn State is vulnerable: The Nittany Lions will do a lot of rebuilding, particularly their wide receivers, defensive line and secondary.
Prediction: Penn State should sail through its first seven games. Then comes a road game at Michigan on Oct. 24. Another road game against Michigan State in the regular-season finale could be tough, as will a home game against Ohio State on Nov. 7. Penn State should win at least nine games.