Penn State Football: 2024 Way-Too-Early Game-By-Game Predictions

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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 Schedule: Way-Too-Early Game-By-Game Predictions for 2024 Season

Coming into 2024, Penn State Football is coming off of two consecutive ten win regular seasons and New Year’s Six bowl appearances.

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)

However, the Nittany Lions are still chasing their first playoff appearance and an 11-win regular season for the first time under head coach James Franklin.

The schedule sets up nicely with Penn State avoiding Oregon and facing Ohio State at home in 2024, for a shot at one of the best seasons in the James Franklin era. So, how will this upcoming season play out?

Penn State Football: Way-Too-Early Game-By-Game Predictions

Game 1: at West Virginia – WIN

After losing to Penn State in week one in 2023, the West Virginia Mountaineers went on to win nine games, including a Duke’s Mayo Bowl win over North Carolina.

With starting quarterback Garrett Greene returning in 2024, and Penn State starting the season on the road in Morgantown, the game against the Mountaineers will likely not be as easy as it was in 2023, especially with three new coordinators for the Nittany Lions. I have Penn State Football winning, but closer than last season, 31-21.

Record: 1-0

Game 2: vs. Bowling Green – WIN

Penn State Football
Penn State Nittany Lions Linebacker Abdul Carter (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

After returning home from Morgantown, Penn State will get a few weeks of tune-up before starting Big Ten play.

Although Bowling Green gave Michigan’s JJ McCarthy fits last season (intercepting him three times), the Nittany Lions should have no issue putting away the Falcons in week two in an easy win. Penn State 42 Bowling Green 6.

Record: 2-0


Game 3: vs. Kent State – WIN

Drew Allar, Penn State Football
Penn State quarterback Drew Allar (Image via York Daily Record)

Kent State finished an abysmal 1-11 in 2023, and has a difficult schedule to open the season, facing three power four opponents in the first four weeks of the season.

Penn State Football should have no issue running through the Golden Flashes to get to 3-0 on the season. Penn State 48 Kent State 0.

Record: 3-0

Game 4: vs. Illinois – WIN

Nick Singleton
Nicholas Singleton #10 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

In the first road test for the Nittany Lions in 2023, Illinois (and specifically defensive tackle Johnny Newton) gave Penn State quite a headache in a rough win last September.

This season, the Nittany Lions get the Illini at home and the home crowd should help make the game a bit more comfortable. Penn State stays undefeated and opens Big Ten play with a win. Penn State 27 Illinois 10.

Record: 4-0

Game 5: vs. UCLA – WIN


UCLA had quite an offseason, watching head coach Chip Kelly leave for an offensive coordinator position in the same conference (OSU).

With a new head coach and in the first year in the Big Ten, UCLA is expected to struggle a bit with a win total over/under set at just 5.5 for the 2024 season. Penn State Football takes care of business in what realistically could be the annual whiteout this season. Penn State 38 UCLA 13.

Record: 5-0

Game 6: at USC – WIN

Penn State Football
USC Trojans TB Ronald Jones II (4) scores on a 3-yard touchdown run during the fourth quarter of the USC Trojans game versus the Penn State Nittany Lions in the Rose Bowl Game on January 2, 2017, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire)

Games six and seven against USC and Wisconsin are two of Penn State’s biggest tests in the 2024 season, and the two games will have major implications on not only a potential playoff birth but also playoff seeding.

USC had one of the worst defenses in the country last season, watching number one pick Caleb Williams and the Trojans high powered offense only reach eight wins.

This season, the defense looks to be improved under a new defensive coordinator and transfer portal pickups. The Nittany Lions will have their hands full on the road, but I have the Nittany Lions pulling out a tough win 31-27.

Record: 6-0

Game 7: at Wisconsin – WIN

Although the Badgers only finished 7-6 last season, Luke Fickell and company should be improved in 2024. Wisconsin returns 68 percent of its production from last season, 30th in the country and Camp Randall is always a tough place to play. Penn State squeaks out a close victory that feels a lot like Penn State’s 2021 win to open the season. Penn State 24 Wisconsin 17.

Record 7-0

Game 8: vs. Ohio State – LOSS

Penn State Football
Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin (right) shakes hands with Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day (Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports)

Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

A James Franklin-led Penn State team heads to face Ohio State undefeated and ranked in the top 10 in the nation. The Buckeyes went all in on the transfer portal this offseason, bringing in playmakers on both sides of the ball and fully utilizing NIL payments to bolster the roster.

While Penn State has the talent to compete and will play with the home crowd in Beaver Stadium, I still have to see it to believe that Penn State can knock off the Buckeyes, which could come to town with a number one ranking. Ohio State wins a eighth game in a row against Penn State to hand the Nittany Lions their first loss of the season. Ohio State 34 Penn State 21.

Record: 7-1

Game 9: vs. Washington – WIN

Penn State Football
Penn State Nittany Lions Running Back Kaytron Allen (13) runs with the ball during the second half of the college football game between the Central Michigan Chippewas and the Penn State Nittany Lions on September 24,2022, at Beaver Stadium in University Park, PA. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

This game may be the most important game in the season for Penn State if my predictions come true. Penn State has not fared well in the week after a loss to Ohio State under James Franklin.

Penn State must avoid a letdown to keep their college football playoff hopes alive and avoid a second loss to Ohio State, as Penn State saw in both 2017 and 2018. Penn State gets back on track against a Washington team that lost a lot of talent heading into 2024. Penn State 28 Washington 13.

Record: 8-1

Game 10: vs. Purdue – WIN

Purdue finished the 2023 season 4-8 and returns 63 percent of its production in 2024.

With an over/under set for 4.5 wins in 2024, Vegas does not expect the Boilermakers to be much improved this season. Penn State cruises to an easy win to move to 9-1. Penn State 38 Purdue 10.

Record: 9-1

Game 11: at Minnesota – WIN

Penn State Football
Penn State Nittany Lions Running Back Kaytron Allen ((Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

Another team that Vegas does not expect to be very good in 2024 is the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

With a win total set at just 4.5 wins, Penn State should have no problem getting to double-digit wins again with a win over Minnesota. Penn State 35 Minnesota 7.

Record: 10-1

Game 12: vs. vs. Maryland – WIN

Penn State Football
Penn State Football DE Dani-Dennis Sutton could be in for a breakout season in 2024. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

Penn State closes the season against Maryland with a chance to get the illusive 11th regular season win for the first time in the James Franklin era. Penn State cruises to an easy win against the Terrapins. Penn State 34 Maryland 9.

Record: 11-1.

Penn State Football Playoff Berth On Tap?

Penn State Football finally breaks through for the first time to reach 11 regular season wins and sets up for a chance at the Big Ten championship, depending on the records for Ohio State and Oregon and any tie-breaking scenario.

Even if Penn State does not get a shot in Indy, Penn State will be a top 8 seed and will host a first-round playoff game at 11-1.

MORE: Penn State’s 5 Burning Questions for 2024 Season

Penn State Football
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