Prediction Roundtable: How Many Wins Will Penn State Get in 2016?

Oct 31, 2015; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions fans cheer during the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the second quarter at Beaver Stadium. Penn State won 39-0. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 31, 2015; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions fans cheer during the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the second quarter at Beaver Stadium. Penn State won 39-0. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

How many wins are in the cards for the Nittany Lions in 2016?

With Penn State ready to kick off the new season in just over a week it’s time to start thinking about win totals for the season. Head coach James Franklin is in his third season at the helm and brings a new-look offense into the new campaign.

After opening at home with a non-conference tilt against Kent State, Penn State will head on the road for a tough matchup with Pittsburgh. Games against Ohio State, Michigan, Iowa, and Michigan State, will also all be tough.

There are still a lot of question marks surrounding the team this season, but there’s also excitement around the possibilities of success.

Check out our VBR staff predictions for the number of wins the Nittany Lions will rack up in 2016.

Lead Editor Barry Leonard Jr. 

I’ve been guilty of being a bit wishful on my predictions in the past — just see my prediction of 10 wins last season. This year, however, I’m willing to stick to reality.

I do think that the offense, particularly the line, will be much better this year. I’m a believer in what I’ve heard and seen from Joe Moorhead and I’m excited to see what the new-look offense can do. Between Saquon Barkley and Miles Sanders, as well as all of the returning receivers, the offense should put up points. Quarterback Trace McSorley should be able to use his scrambling ability to make things better on the offensive line.

Defense could be a bit of a problem, as I’m worried about some of the depth issues at linebacker and on the line. However, the starters are very talented and the defensive secondary should be strong.

The schedule is tough, so that will keep expectations in check a bit. Realistically I think they are looking at a minimum of eight wins. But, the total could easily fall to seven with a loss at Pitt, or raise to nine with an upset of Iowa.

Staff Writer Marty Leap

If nothing else, the 2016 Penn State Nittany Lions should be a lot more fun to watch. While I expect the defense to take a step back this season, I am expecting a big improvement from the offense for a few different reasons.

First off, new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead is one of the brightest offensive minds in all of college football. His offense is the type that can scheme it’s way to success. Secondly, Penn State is loaded at the skilled positions. The Nittany Lions might have the best stable of running backs in the entire FBS, led by Saquon Barkley and Miles Sanders. Penn State is also loaded at wide receiver with Chris Godwin, DaeSean Hamilton, Juwan Johnson, Saeed Blacknall, De’Andre Thompkins, Irvin Charles, and Brandon Polk. I also believe that Trace McSorley is the perfect fit at QB for this offense.

But maybe most importantly, I expect the offensive line to be improved this season. Not only is Penn State more talented with the additions of players such as Ryan Bates and Connor McGovern, but JoMo’s offense also asks a lot less out of it’s offensive line.

As I said above, I expect the defense to take a step back. It is hard not to after losing three defensive tackles and your best defensive back to the NFL. However, there is still talent on defense. A lot of it is just inexperienced. Brent Pry is a great coach, though. So, I think the defense will be okay.

Penn State’s 2016 schedule is not easy, but it is not hard either. While I am ready to chalk up Michigan and Ohio State as guaranteed losses, every other game, in my opinion, is winnable. In the end, I see the Nittany Lions finishing 8-4 and putting themselves in a position for a great 2017.

Staff Writer Shane Lunnen

Last season, so much optimism to begin the season ended quickly with an opening game loss to Temple.  Now, here we are again on the precipice of another season of Penn State football with the optimism overflowing.

The offseason was filled with many changes on the coaching staff, most notably the firing of John Donovan and the hiring of new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead.   This year the offense projects to have a much different look and the offensive line should be the best we have seen the last three seasons.  It remains to be seen whether all the changes will result in more wins.

September will be the key stretch for the Nittany Lions with the renewal of the Pitt rivalry, a revenge game against Temple, and a tough road trip to Michigan.  This stretch will set the tone early for the season.  With the fans getting restless in Happy Valley for more wins, let’s peg Penn State this year with a slight improvement over last year at 8-4.

Add in a potential bowl win and that might quiet the crowd some before 2017 becomes a crucial year for the team.

Staff Writer Corey Hunter 

The 2016 Penn State season is one filled with hope and optimism. The Nittany Lions are fielding their first complete squad of 85 scholarship players. They also feature some of the most prolific skill position players in the Big Ten. While there is much optimism in Happy Valley, there is still concern about whether James Franklin, in his third year at the helm of the Nittany Lions, is more than just a master recruiter. Can he go toe-to-toe with some of the best football coaches in the country?

Aside from Coach Franklin, Penn State is also breaking in two new coordinators (OC – Joe Moorhead and DC Brent Pry) as well as a new quarterback (Trace McSorley). So, for all the contrasts of optimism and concern going into the season, just how many wins can Nittany Lion fans expect?

I am predicting Penn State sports an 8-4 regular season record. They should win at least two of their three non-conference games. I think the Nittany Lions will fall to the Big Ten East elite (Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State), but I have a gut feeling Penn State uses the night time atmosphere at Beaver Stadium to knock off Iowa.

All things considered, an 8-4 record with so many new and young players would set the Nittany Lions on the road to a solid 2017 season.