This decade of Penn State football–the 2020s–has been underwhelming. Looking forward to the kick-off of the 2022 season now, it is clear that Penn State has the talent to win a good amount games. Here is how Penn State football can get to 10 wins in 2022.
Can Penn State finish 10-2?
The simple answer is obviously yes. It’s preseason; for all we know, Penn State could be on the verge of a 15-0 season, though I heavily doubt it. Right now, Penn State is predicted to go 8-4 by just about anyone with a platform, but the four-loss season is a prediction based on the results of last year (a season that fell off the rails due to injury and saw a plethora of close losses to great teams.)
If Penn State were to finish the year 8-4, the four losses would likely come from four of these five games: at Purdue, at Auburn, at Michigan, vs. Ohio State, vs. Michigan State. These five are the five games that will genuinely test Penn State football in the coming season. In fairness, Penn State is known for losing a random game here and there, which is also entirely possible.
Of the five games listed above, I am confident in circling two of them as losses: at Michigan and Ohio State. Could Penn State football pull off an upset or two? Yeah, without a doubt. Will they? I’ll believe it when I see it. Otherwise, I have a good feeling about the rest.
On the road against Purdue and Auburn will be challenging games because of one main factor: the environments. Purdue is looking like a solid team right now, and playing on the road in the SEC is no fun, but I can see Penn State winning one or both of these games.
The Nittany Lions have already opened as favorites against Purdue on September 1st.
As for Michigan State, the Spartans are a toss-up. In 2018 and 2019, MSU finished 7-6; in 2020, the Spartans went 2-5 in year one of Mel Tucker; in 2021, Michigan State pulled off a few upsets to finish 11-2. The Spartans are recruiting well right now, but 8-4 is reasonable given who they lost to the draft and how much talent their roster has. Penn State also benefits from hosting MSU on senior night, so I have a good feeling about that game.
If Penn State beats the “lesser” teams in the conference, beats a less talented Purdue team, a mediocre Auburn squad, and then Michigan State at home, Penn State football could easily finish the season 10-2 with losses at Michigan (in the “Maize-Out” game) and against Ohio State. All of these are big “ifs” but entirely possible.