Penn State's 2020 Season Viewed Nationally as an Aberration

Despite a losing record last year, the Nittany Lions head into 2021 with a fairly positive national forecast.
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Penn State's 2020 football season seems to be viewed nationally more as an aberration than as a trend.

At 4-5, the Nittany Lions had their first losing season since 2004. But a four-game win streak to finish the season, along with the hiring of new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich, has turned some heads in future polling as well.

Brett McMurphy of WatchStadium ranked Penn State 10th in his early preseason poll, while The Athletic's Stewart Mandel has the Lions at No. 21. ESPN, meanwhile, lists Penn State at No. 22.

The Lions have received good news from receiver Jahan Dotson and safety Jaquan Brisker, both of whom announced their plans to return for the 2021 season. Penn State also has added four transfer players, all of whom have significant experience with FBS programs.

Further, online oddsmaker listed Penn State as a 50/1 bet to win the 2021 College Football Playoff national championship, the same as Miami, Michigan and Washington and ahead of Cincinnati, Oklahoma State and Auburn, which Penn State plays next season. Those odds are fairly favorable, considering the Lions' 2020 record.

Defending champ Alabama opens as the 7/2 betting favorite, with Clemson and Georgia at 4/1. Ohio State is next at 13/2.

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