Alabama Football: A deep dive into CFB’s top 25 for 2020

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

4. team. 806. . 2019 Record: 11-2. Previous: . Nittany Lions

I’m either going to be a genius or an idiot, but I like the Nittany Lions in 2020. They have one of the best collegiate coaches right now in James Franklin. They return essentially their entire offense from their 11-win 2019 squad. They are also one of the best teams in recruiting year after year.

They ended this year ranked No. 15 in recruiting according to the 247Sports Composite. They were 6th overall in 2018 and 15th in 2017. Meaning they have a plethora of talent across the board.

The defense will have to rebuild some in 2020 since Penn State is losing several starters on that side of the ball from 2019. However, the defense has been the strength of Penn State in recent years and some of their best recruits are defenders.

The Nittany Lions also have a favorable schedule in 2020. They get Kent State, Virginia Tech, and San Jose State in the non-conference slate. Then in the conference schedule, they miss having to play Wisconsin and Minnesota in the cross-division games.

Penn State gets Iowa, Nebraska, and Northwestern from the West Division. Not exactly the cream of the crop from that side. Iowa is going to be rebuilding this year after losing almost all of their starters on both sides of the ball. Northwestern has been on the decline for several years now. Nebraska could be the best team they face from the West this season.

Even in their division games, the schedule is as kind as possible. They have to travel to Ann Arbor to face Michigan, but they get a BYE week and a home game vs. Iowa before they face Ohio State at home on October 24th.

Penn State could easily end the regular season 11-1 or even 12-0 if they can upset Ohio State. That would put them squarely in contention for a playoff berth. We’ve seen two SEC teams in the CFP. This could be the year we see two BIG-10 teams.