Penn State Football 'Championship Caliber' in 2024, Analyst Says

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NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

The latest news, insight, and analysis of Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, and Penn State Basketball, including schedules, game results, analysis of breaking news, rumors, speculation, and recruiting coverage of future Penn State Nittany Lions

NittanyCentral is home to the latest Penn State Nittany Lions news, updates, insight, and analysis, including in-depth coverage of Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball, and much more

Penn State Football ‘Championship Caliber’ in 2024, Analyst Says

Spring practices are over, and Penn State Football is ramping up preparations for the 2024 college football season, and, Grant Hughes of 247Sports is already focused on the 2024 college football season.

This week, Hughes ranked 10 teams with “National Championship potential” for the 2024 season coming.

Penn State Football, James Franklin
Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin leads his team to the field (Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire)

The 2024 season marks the first year of the expanded 12-team College Football Playoff, and with it brings a new hope to many borderline playoff teams from years past hoping to breakthrough into contention for the coveted college football playoff trophy.

One of those teams for the past 8 years has been Penn State, finishing in the top 12 five separate times and ranking as high as fifth on selection Sunday, but failing to qualify for a spot in the college football playoff in the four-team era.

Hughes lists the Nittany Lions among the elite teams with the potential to break into the playoff and challenge for the national championship in 2024.

The 10 teams with national championship potential, via @GrantHughesNC

Which team(s) got left off?

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Why Penn State has the Potential to Win the National Championship in 2024

Penn State Football, Drew Allar
Penn State Football QB Drew Allar holds the key to the Nittany Lions’ upside in 2024. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire)

Hughes notes in the article that Penn State Football “will be a top-tier program in the Big Ten as long as James Franklin is in Happy Valley.”

He notes that the problem is whether Penn State will get past Michigan and Ohio State to get over the hump.

In the new Big Ten and in the era of the expanded playoff, this is less of an issue for Penn State. Until at least 2029, Penn State will not play Ohio State and Michigan in the same season.

Additionally, a second loss no longer automatically disqualifies a team from the College Football Playoff.

In the new expanded playoff, ten wins can realistically put a team in strong contention for the bottom half of the 12-team bracket.

Hughes mentions that Penn State has two new coordinators to push them into the playoff conversation, with offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki looking to revamp the offense to get the most out of third-year quarterback Drew Allar and the rest of Penn State’s weapons, including Luke Reynolds which Hughes notes was Penn State’s lone five-star commitment in 2024, and defensive coordinator Tom Allen which is tasked with replacing half a dozen starters from Penn State’s top-ranked 2023 unit.

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The Rest of the Big Ten

Penn State Football
Wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. #18 of the Ohio State Buckeyes carries the ball while being tackled by safety Kevin Winston Jr. #21 of the Penn State Nittany Lions during the game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio on October 21, 2023. (Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire)

Penn State Football made the list with three other Big Ten teams next season, including defending champion Michigan, Ohio State, and new Big Ten member Oregon.

The Nittany Lions will benefit next season by only playing Ohio State off this list of teams with championship potential.

While not facing Oregon or Michigan next season, Penn State has a tough schedule next season, starting on the road facing what should be a top 25-ranked West Virginia team and facing USC, Wisconsin, Washington, and UCLA in Big Ten play.

Penn State brings back enough talent in 2024 to challenge for both the Big Ten championship and national championship. Major contributors on both offense and defense now carry junior eligibility, including starting quarterback Drew Allar, starting running backs Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen, and defensive end standout Dani Dennis-Sutton.

With those pieces eligible to enter the NFL draft at the end of the season, Penn State’s playoff and national championship window is firmly open this year and the Nittany Lions have to take advantage now while key pieces remain on the roster. 

MORE: Does Penn State Have a QB Controversy on Its Hands?

Penn State Football
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