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Athlon Sports preseason top 25 has Penn State in College Football Playoff hunt

Remember when you would be on summer vacation and have some required reading material for school before going back in the fall? That time-honored tradition has graduated to picking up a copy of a college football preview magazine when going through the grocery store. Athlon Sports is one of the most popular summer must-reads for many college football fans, myself included, so it is always interesting to see what they have to say about Penn State.

As is expected to be a theme this summer leading up to the start of the new season, Athlon Sports has Penn State as a top-10 team in 2024. Penn State is ranked no. 8 in Athlon Sports’ preseason top 25 ranking. Penn State is coming off a 10-3 season and should have a solid roster next season with the players that are returning.

There are some questions to answer for Penn State, most notably with how well the passing game will operate. New offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki inherits an offense with stud running backs in Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen, and one of the top tight ends in the nation with Tyler Warren. Leading the offense is Drew Allar, who has plenty of tools in his arsenal but is coming off a bit of an up-and-down season in his first year as the starting quarterback. Penn State added Julian Fleming at wide receiver but will need someone in the receiver room to step up and help create explosive opportunities this fall after some departures in the transfer portal.

Here is what Athlon Sports says about Penn State in 2024;

A favorable schedule and a standout defense should carry the Nittany Lions into the top-10 mix. But for coach James Franklin’s squad to push for a spot in the Big Ten title game, quarterback Drew Allar needs to take a step forward under new coordinator Andy Kotelnicki. Also, concerns remain at receiver after the spring departure of Keandre Lambert-Smith.

That feels like a pretty fair assessment of where Penn State stands going into the 2024 season. The pieces are there, but how soon can they put it all together, and can Penn State get over one of the biggest hurdles getting in the way? The College Football Playoff expanding to 12 teams gives Penn State as good a chance as ever to make the playoff. Not having to face Oregon or Michigan in the regular season is a nice scheduling gift for Penn State, although road trips to USC and Wisconsin are not the easiest trips to make. And, of course, Ohio State still exists.

But a no. 8 ranking suggests Athlon Sports is confident the Nittany Lions will be one of the teams chasing a spot in the College Football Playoff, and potentially in the running for a possible home game.

You can view the entire Athlon Sports top 25 for the 2024 season to see what the rest of the rankings look like. Here is Penn State’s updated 2024 schedule and some game-by-game predictions as well.

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Story originally appeared on Nittany Lions Wire