We've broken down each position, we've broken down the opposition, and we've looked at some key questions Penn State must answer this season. It's time for our staff to share their predictions for the Nittany Lions 2018 season.
Craig Fritz - 11-1. We’re finished with non-competitive gap years. James Franklin is not going to squander the most prolific quarterback in program history. The Lions will win double-digit games three straight seasons for the first time in nearly 40 years, and will flirt with the Playoff once again.
Dan Vecellio - 11-1. This team is good, but losses on the defensive side of the ball will cause them to falter at least once. While I don't think they'll lose any of the gimmes, I don't see how they go 4-0 against Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin.
Kaitlyn Dividock - 10-2. I have a bad feeling that one of either Ohio State or Michigan State (hopefully not both) will overpower the Lions at home. The other loss will likely come at the hands of Jim Harbaugh and the defensively gifted Wolverines at the Big House, if Michigan can weather its unforgiving storm of a schedule. Penn State should easily handle all the other remaining teams, but because I’m doing this roundtable, it'll probably end up losing to some scrub with a sub-.500 final record to knock it out of the playoff. Hopefully my cynical nature fails me, and I'm completely wrong
Nick Polak - 11-1. I really want to say 12-0, but getting through this schedule, especially with the way it’s ordered, would be so incredibly difficult. If they do, there will be little you can tell me to justify not having them as the number one seed in the College Football Playoff. However, I have them slated for either a loss at Michigan or at home against Wisconsin. Those are two really tough defenses to face right in a row, and I just have to think that one of them will be able to catch the Nittany Lions. So while my heart says 12-0 (15-0, actually), my head says 11-1.
Joe McIntyre - 12-0. F*** it. This team has the talent and the coaching to be undefeated so why not? If they do lose to Ohio State, you gotta hope they still show up for the others because even a one-loss team will still have a shot at playing for a B1G Championship.
John Morgan - 11-1. I've wavered a bit on this, but with the way the schedule sets up, it's hard to imagine they won't lose a game. Even one loss is an aggressive pick, but I'm putting a lot of faith in the defense to hold their own this season.
Dan Smith - 10-2. I still think they drop their games against Ohio State and Michigan. The latter is going to be a road game against a team that has a lot of talent and potentially significant improvement at quarterback, while the former is one of the top five most talented teams in the country matched up against a Penn State offense with a lot of youth at the skill positions. I’m split on 11-1 and 10-2, though, because I think Penn State is really good, and I may wake up tomorrow thinking 11-1 is a better call.
Bill DiFilippo - 11-1. Only loss is to Michigan in Ann Arbor. However, with how good the rest of the schedule is, one loss and potentially no conference title still puts them squarely in Playoff contention. Of course, if an 11-1 Penn State team wins the Big Ten East then wins the conference title game, it's in no matter what.
Kevin Fay - I am a believer in the young talent, but I don't see Penn State making it out of the big 4 games unscathed, so I'll go 11-1.
Matt de Bear - 11-1. I've been heavily in the 10-2 camp all summer, but in the last week or so, I've started to come around. Maybe it's the energy of the coming season, maybe it's the lack of sleep, but with four of the five biggest games on the schedule at home, Penn State has a great opportunity to make a statement. Freshmen will need to step up, and Trace McSorley will need to have a Heisman caliber season, but there is no reason to think those can't happen.