Penn State football falls out of top 25

penn state football

For the first time since 2016, Penn State football is not in this week’s AP Top 25 Poll after a 38-25 loss to Ohio State to fall to 0-2 on the season. Heading into their first game against Indiana, the Nittany Lions were ranked No. 8 in the country, but then dropped 10 spots following the overtime loss. Now, they’ve dropped even further, and it’s deserved.

What I have seen from this team has been shocking and frustrating. The talent is there, and they just need to figure out how to put it all together and become a team that finds a way to win football games at any cost. This week’s matchup with Maryland will be the first time in 63 games Penn State won’t be ranked. It’s a humbling reality it is not the team that I expected to see this year and you can’t point the finger at one person. From the head coach to the practice squad walk-ons, everyone needs to be better.

I need to see an angry, motivated football team on Saturday afternoon to get back into the top 25 next week. Starting 0-2 is not what anyone wanted, but the season is far from over. How you respond to adversity tells you a lot about a team. Will it roll over and give up on the season, or will it bounce back and finish 6-2? James Franklin’s job lies on the result and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.

What’s Next?

With its toughest opponent in the rear view, Penn State has the potential to win out in conference play. It was ranked higher than all of its final six opponents heading into the season, so finishing 6-2 is a serious possibility. Yes, I know preseason rankings don’t mean anything and this is still a struggling defeated football team, but it gives you the idea that it is more talented across the board.

Why shouldn’t you be scared? The next six games consist of Maryland, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan, Rutgers and Michigan State. Those teams have a combined record of 4-7. Yes, Penn State is struggling, but so is everyone else.

Maryland’s one win came in a one-point overtime stunner and has a point differential of -39. Nebraska has only played one game due to their matchup with Wisconsin being canceled for COVID-19 reasons, but its point differential is -35. Both of Iowa’s losses were tight games so the Hawkeyes have a -5 point differential. No. 23 ranked Michigan dominated Week 1 but was upset last week by in-state rival Michigan State, making its point differential +22 (congrats, Michigan). At 1-1 Rutgers is at -5 and Michigan State is at -8 in the point differential category.

Add those up and Penn State will be playing teams with a combined -70 point differential from their opponents. Take a breath, the sky isn’t falling. Penn State football is going to be just fine. Trust Franklin to get his team to start looking like the one I had anticipated coming into this year.