I honestly didn’t think there was any way that the Penn State Nittany Lions would be successful last year after everything the program had gone through. I admit that I was completely wrong, as Penn State finished 8-4. This season shows a very different picture for Bill O’Brien’s team though, as most of the leadership from last year’s surprise team has graduated.
Penn State has graduated Matt McGloin at quarterback and now has to wait a year before Christian Hackenberg gets to Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions may play eight of their 12 games at home this season including their first four, but the athletes are just not there anymore for this program.
I’m sure that Penn State will still get those players from Pennsylvania who love the program, but it isn’t going to be the same talent. O’Brien is going to have a hard time convincing kids to play for a program that just can’t play in the postseason for three more years.
Penn State could still finish with six or seven victories this season, which would be enough for a bowl game just because of their schedule. Penn State could honestly find themselves 3-1 before Big Ten play begins in early October.
That doesn’t mean that the Nittany Lions are succeeding though — the future is Hackenberg and happens in 2014. I really think if he can lead Penn State to eight or even nine wins during his freshman year in 2014, things will begin to change for the school.
That is another year away, however, and the 2013 season could be a bad one even with a winning record.