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Penn State 2023 Season Predictions

Can the Nittany Lions repeat their 2022 performance? Can they improve it?

Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) celebrates on the podium after defeating the Utah Utes in the 109th Rose Bowl game at the Rose Bowl. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

We have reached the end of our Penn State coverage! After learning a little bit about the 2023 Nittany Lions, our esteemed writers come together to analyze the schedule in more detail. Is Penn State destined to another “third in the Big Ten East” finish, or can they break through this season?

Thanks for sticking around, and feel free to chime in with your predictions in the comments!


  • September 2: West Virginia
  • September 9: Delaware
  • September 16: at Illinois
  • September 23: Iowa (Whiteout)
  • September 30: at Northwestern
  • October 14: UMass
  • October 21: at Ohio State
  • October 28: Indiana
  • November 4: at Maryland
  • November 11: Michigan
  • November 18: Rutgers
  • November 24: vs Michigan State (Detroit)


RUReady4Brazil: After reviewing Minnesota’s gauntlet last week, Delaware, UMass, and West Virginia are far from a murderer’s row. Should be an easy 3-0 there. At least West Virginia is a regional rival to some extent, it’s not some random bottom tier Big 12 Pac-12 opponent.

Ohio State and Michigan, of course all three Top 10 teams at the moment, but I give the edge to the more senior B1G members in both those matchups. PSU wasn’t that close with Michigan (418 yards on the ground, really!?!?!?!) though they did outgain Ohio State in a game the Buckeyes had to impose their will late to build a 20 point lead in the 4th.

So that comes down to everybody else on the schedule. I think Penn State should be favored in all the rest of their games, but I always expect a clunker as mentioned in the Maryland predictions (I don’t know which was more painful to think so much about). I don’t see PSU sweating it out with Northwestern (even though last year was 17-7), Rutgers, or Indiana. And even though really they shouldn’t even be in the same class as Iowa, Illinois, Michigan State, or the Terps, at least one of those teams should probably pull an upset (Terps have the best QB so maybe them?) with Sean Clifford out of eligibility.

Even though the program has transitioned QB after QB so well since 2004, the #1 QB in the nation for the 2022 class shouldn’t be expected to be perfect. So I’ll go 10-3, including a big time bowl win.

Buffkomodo: I’ll go 9-4 with some sort of stumble and bumble and a bowl loss. Picking for the top dogs of the B1G is really no fun anymore.

Brian: It’s not really going out on a limb to say that Penn State is loaded this year (James Franklin’s Nittany Lions are in or near the ten team in most of the way-too-early rankings that have been published). Nor is it going out on a limb to say that Drew Allar’s play at quarterback will go a long way toward determining the Nittany Lions’ season.

Another key is the secondary. Penn State lost a pair of very good defensive backs to the NFL in Joey Porter Jr. and Ji’Ayir Brown. How do the Nittany Lions replace those two? The combination of a first-year starter at quarterback and questions in the secondary keep from predicting that Penn State will supplant Michigan or Ohio State atop the Big Ten East, but a ten-win season is certainly in the cards.

BoilerUp89: 10-2 with one win coming against the Michigan/Ohio State pair and a loss to either Maryland or Iowa. Let’s say the 2nd loss comes against Maryland since Iowa is the whiteout game.

MNW: A loss at Ohio State, probably, and BoilerUp’s more or less got it right—pick a marginal game like Illinois or Maryland on the road. 10-2 (7-2), no Big Ten Championship Game, but a NY6 bowl.

HWAHSQB: PSU being loaded with talent and laying an egg a couple of times per year seem to be what THEY!! ARE!! under James Franklin so 10-3 with a 10 overtime loss to Illinois because Bert is going to take the B1G West out in style.

Townie: This is a hard question. I know folks hated Sean Clifford, but you knew what you were getting. Drew Allar is being anointed the savior, but we don’t know much about him. How will he deal with adversity?

This kid looks a whole lot like Christian Hackenberg. Same starz. Same hype. Better offensive line though.

This is a season where I wish we had frontloaded a cupcake. With a youngster at the helm, the offense has to gel right away. And West Virginia has a chip on their shoulder for PSU from way back.

I think the defense will keep everything close. This version of PSU will be the best defense we fielded in years. And next year has the potential to be even better. They are the strength of the team.

The offense has the potential to be one dimensional. We are missing the “it” reciever. A Deshaun Hamilton, KJ Hamler, or Parker Washington type guy who can catch anything. There is some hope that one of the younger guys from last season will step up. They all flashed, but none were consistent.

If we have to depend on the run game, we’re going to lose a few games. While I love our running back room, no one can be one dimensional in this version of the B1G and hope to win out.

If Allar lives up to even 40% of the hype, we’ll go 10-2. I’m going to stay conservative and say 9-3 or 10-2 and I think we’ll know after the WVU game.


In the Big Ten, Penn State finishes...

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    4-5 or worse
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    (3 votes)
  • 16%
    (62 votes)
  • 31%
    (118 votes)
  • 38%
    (145 votes)
  • 11%
    (42 votes)
377 votes total Vote Now


Overall, Penn State finishes...

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    6-6 or worse
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 1%
    (7 votes)
  • 20%
    (76 votes)
  • 28%
    (105 votes)
  • 37%
    (139 votes)
  • 8%
    (33 votes)
367 votes total Vote Now