Penn State Football Ranking Reaction Article

Story posted August 17, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by CommRadio Sports Staff

With the summer quickly coming to a close the country has its sights set on the college football season. As such, the AP has released its first rankings of the year and had Penn State at No. 19.

The top-25 featured four other Big Ten teams in No. 4 Ohio State, No. 12 Wisconsin, No. 17 Indiana and No. 18 Iowa.

Our football insiders take a look at whether the AP slotted the Nittany Lions too high or too low.

Logan Bourandas - Too high

At least for now.

Let’s remember that this Nittany Lion team finished the shortened 2020 season with a losing record and took a huge step back defensively. The loss of linebacker Micah Parsons was obvious all season long, as the Penn State defense couldn’t find a way to replace his presence.

Parsons’ loss defensively led to some high scoring games throughout the year which makes you question whether or not the Nittany Lions should be in the Top 25 at all.

Yes, the team did find a way to recover and go on a four game winning streak where Sean Clifford started to figure things out, but look at how many points the Nittany Lions gave up in some of those wins.

Both Michigan State and Illinois were towards the bottom of the Big Ten last year and the Nittany Lions gave up over 20 points to both teams.

With the continued growth of safety Jaquan Brisker, the potential is there for the Penn State defense to regain it’s form from prior years. The Nittany Lions could even have potential to climb up to the Top 10 with early wins over Wisconsin and Auburn.

Despite that improvement from both sides of the ball, it’s hard putting a team that finished with a losing record in the first AP poll of the season.

Especially just one spot behind an Iowa team that beat them by 20 points at home last year.

Zech Lambert - Too low

Despite an atrocious start to a truncated 2020 season, James Franklin’s squad still found a way to right the ship and end the season on a four game winning streak.

The team also flashed potential in games it lost, falling to Ohio State by only two scores and going to overtime with Indiana.

Last year’s team was right on the cusp of being elite even if its record didn’t reflect that. Thankfully for the blue and white, there are a decent amount of returners this season.

When looking at the talent Penn State lost to the draft, Odafe Oweh and Pat Freiermuth stand out. Oweh will be difficult to replace, but Temple transfer Arnold Ebiketie could slot in and be an immediate assistance. The Nittany Lions have talent at the tight end position, too, in the form of Theo Johnson and Brenton Strange, who could see breakout years this season.

The team returns talent in the form of Jahan Dotson, Rasheed Walker, Sean Clifford, Brandon Smith and Jaquon Brisker. There is talent up and down a roster from a team that was not nearly as bad as its record shows without even mentioning a stacked running back room.

A new-look Mike Yurcich led offense with elite-level talent could be a force to be reckoned with. Noah Cain and transfer John Lovett will likely lead the way, along with Keyvone Lee. A lethal ground attack will help open up the passing game for Clifford and company.

The Nittany Lions have a legitimate case to be a top-10 team, as they do have top-10 talent, but the rough start to last season scared off voters from placing them that high.

Don’t be surprised, though, if Penn State finds its way into the top-10 early into the campaign.

Logan Bourandas is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email lxb5412@psu.edu.

Zech Lambert is a junior majoring in in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email To contact him, email ZBL5146@psu.edu.

About the Contributors

Zech Lambert's photo

Zech Lambert

Senior / Broadcast journalism

Zech is a senior from Northampton, Pennsylvania. He is a football insider for CommRadio. He is also a co-host on the weekly talk show Ducks on the Pond, while also doing play-by-play for CommRadio and B1G+. On top of that, Zech is a sports editor at the Daily Collegian. Over the summer, he interned with the Charlottesville Tom Sox of the Valley Baseball League doing play-by-play, among other media roles. To contact him, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). You can also tweet him @Zech_Lambert with any random thoughts or just to have some sports banter.

Logan Bourandas's photo

Logan Bourandas

Third-Year / Broadcast Journalism

Logan Bourandas is a third-year broadcast journalism major from Long Island, NY. He is a the news director for CommRadio and the host of Ducks on the Pond, which is an all-baseball talk show on CommRadio. He is also a sports writer, broadcaster and podcaster for CommRadio. He got his start as the station manager for his high school radio station WPOB in his hometown of Plainview, NY, where he hosted numerous radio shows and was involved in sports broadcasts. You can contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).