Penn State's 2-6 finish to the 2021 season, capped by a loss to Arkansas in the Outback Bowl, hasn't led to many high expectations for the team next season.
The "way too early" 2022 college football rankings don't expect much from the Nittany Lions, at least initially. Penn State's highest early ranking is No. 14, while several sites leave the Lions out of their look-ahead top 25s.
Which makes sense. The Lions, ranked as high as No. 4 in the AP Top 25 last season, did not receive a vote in the final poll released Tuesday.
Penn State entered the 2022 offseason with plenty of questions about its future following a 7-6 finish. The defense has to replenish a lineup that missed six starters in the Outback Bowl while also introducing new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz.
Meanwhile, offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich enters his second season with plenty to repair, not the least of which involves his offensive line. In addition, head coach James Franklin and Yurcich might want to consider an open competition at quarterback this offseason.
"Obviously a pretty obvious question and answer," Franklin said after the Outback Bowl when asked to assess the 2021 season. "[It was] not what we had hoped for. Obviously did some really good things early on, made some huge plays, had some big-time wins in tough environments on the road to start the season. We had some injuries that we weren't able to overcome quickly enough. But we're responsible for all of that."
So what does college football expect from Penn State in 2022? Here's a look at the early rankings. And for the bettors, Penn State opened at 66/1 (with Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Iowa and LSU) to win the 2022 national championship, according to BetOnline.
Sports Illustrated: Unranked
The Action Network: No. 14
Bleacher Report: No. 15 (with a notable assessment of quarterback Sean Clifford)
Orlando Sentinel: No. 15
247Sports: No. 20 (tied with Kentucky)
Athlon Sports: No. 21
Fox Sports' RJ Young: Unranked
Sporting News: 'Just missed' along with Wisconsin, BYU, Houston, Minnesota and Tennessee.