It’s hard to predict how this college football season will go for Penn State. Despite having one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten and a stable of quality running backs, the Nittany Lions’ roster is hurt this year by the scholarship reductions. Many “experts” think the depth issues will be too much for Penn State to overcome this season. The Big Ten Network has the Nittany Lions ranked near the bottom of its final preseason power rankings.
Big Ten Network senior writer Tom Dienhart has the Nittany Lions ranked at No. 9 in the 14-team league. Only Indiana, Northwestern, Illinois, Rutgers and Purdue rank lower than Penn State. The Nittany Lions face all of those teams this season except for Purdue.
Dienhart cites an inexperienced offensive line and depth issues at linebacker as major problem areas for Penn State this season.
At the top of the power rankings is Michigan State, part of the East division. The Spartans are the reigning Big Ten Champions and return another solid team for 2014. Michigan State is followed by fellow East division foe Ohio State at No.2, even without star quarterback Braxton Miller. Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin, all in the Big Ten West division, round out the top five.
Of the teams in the top five, Penn State only faces Michigan State and Ohio State in 2014.
Maryland is the highest-ranked new member of the conference at No. 7.
A complete list of the rankings along with explanations can be found on BTN.com.