Penn State, owners of the nation's fifth longest streak in the AP Poll's top-25, debuted at No. 15 in this week's preseason rankings. Thanks to College Poll Tracker, we also learned there is a wide ranging view of the 2019 Nittany Lions, with voters ranking them anywhere from No. 8 nationally, all the way down to unranked.
We reached out to a number of voters from the top, all the way down the aforementioned bottom. Four responded, including Jon Wilner who opted to not rank Penn State, and agreed to share their thoughts on Penn State, and their rationale behind their ballot.
Robert Cessna, Bryan-College Station Eagle (Penn State - No. 25)
I wish we could wait until everyone plays a few games before voting, but that’s never going to happen. So, with that in mind, I look at various conference’s media and coaches’ polls, figuring since they should know more about their own conference. Then I come up with my own pecking order for each conference. My Big Ten rankings were: Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin Northwestern, Penn State and Michigan State. I tried to go 7-8 deep in power conferences of worth, 1-2 in the others. Then I start compiling my Top 25 ballot. I actually ranked seven Big Ten schools, one more than the SEC, which I cover on a regular basis. Sometimes you see the faults of teams you deal with more. Penn State got my No. 25 over Auburn and Syracuse.
Steve Batterson, Quad City Times (Penn State - No. 24)
At the onset of a season which begins with Penn State looking for answers to as many questions as it has had during James Franklin’s tenure, this has the makings of an interesting season.
The areas of inexperience led me to slot them where I did on my preseason ballot, which I traditionally consider to be only a starting point, not where I envision teams ending up in January.
The schedule and the quality of the opponents on it will provide Penn State with opportunities to create its own fate as the season progresses.
Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News (Penn State- Unranked)
My preseason poll is a rough projection of how I think everything will shake out in the end, and I expect a handful of losses for Penn State based on the combination of McSorley's departure, the division, and the road schedule.
Bryce Miller, San Diego Union-Tribune (Penn State- No. 11)
Preseason stuff is such guesswork, but despite the huge loss of McSorley and the uncertainty at quarterback, the schedule appears to offer eight pretty dependable wins – health willing. That leaves Penn State an upset or two away from flirting with rare poll air.
Huge thanks to Robert, Steve, Jon, and Bryce for taking the time to share some thoughts on Penn State.