Last season, head coach Bill O’Brien led the Penn State Nittany Lions to an impressive record of 8-4. Even after all of the negativity and controversy, Penn State was able to come away with a successful season. This year, with experience and a schedule that looks favorable, the Nittany Lions will match or exceed 2012’s win total.
Penn State finished last year as one of the top offenses in the Big Ten, especially in the passing game. Of course Matt McGloin, the top quarterback in the conference in 2012, is gone, but fans shouldn’t worry too much. Although there will be a new man under center this year, there are several key starters returning on offense that will make the unit as productive as it was last season.
In fact, looking at the projected depth chart, there are eight starters returning on offense. Allen Robinson, who led the conference in receiving, will play a major role in the offense again this year. Zach Zwinak, the team’s leading rusher, has already proven that he can be a featured back at the collegiate level. He’ll be joined by former starter Bill Belton and redshirt freshman Akeel Lynch, who’s impressed during practice.
On defense, the team will feel the losses of Jordan Hill, Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges. However, veterans like Adrian Amos and Glenn Carson will ensure that the Nittany Lions still have a solid defense.
Helping the Nittany Lions achieve success this season is the fact that the schedule sets them up to come away with several wins.
When looking at the schedule, it’s possible that Penn State could start the season 5-0. Games against Syracuse, Eastern Michigan, Central Florida, Kent State and Indiana should all end up in the Nittany Lions’ favor.
The remaining part of the schedule includes matchups with several tough conference opponents. Penn State must travel to Ohio State and Wisconsin, both of which are among the toughest places to play in college football. The Nittany Lions get to host Nebraska and Michigan. It’s not a stretch to think that Penn State could use the raucous home crowd to pull off an upset.
Penn State has the luxury or returning a lot of talent and experience for 2013. Add that to a schedule that sets up nicely, and the Nittany Lions have an excellent opportunity to match and even surpass eight wins in 2013.