CBS Sports: Penn State Football a bounce-back team | 3 reasons they’re right

Jahan Dotson #5 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Jahan Dotson #5 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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Penn State Football’s nightmare 0-5 start to the 2020 season is well documented at this point as the program looks to rebound next fall, CBS Sports seems to like their chances. 

CBS Sports released a list of six teams they think are poised for a bounce-back season in 2021, and included Penn State Football among them. Additionally, CBS Sports had Michigan, Florida State, LSU, UCF and Baylor as others teams that should be back to their winning ways next season.

With prediction season around the corner, the Nittany Lions will be an interesting team to watch as the national media predicts whether or not they believe last season was an outlier or it will be the beginning of a downward trend for Franklin and Penn State Football.

Here’s what CBS Sports thinks about Franklin’s squad.

"“By winning its final four games, Penn State’s 2020 season wasn’t as disastrous as it could have been. But, lord, that 0-5 start stunk of a team hit hard by opt outs and turnover, a new offensive coordinator (Kirk Ciarrocca) who lasted just one season and practically no offseason to tie anything together. It fell victim to some bad luck, too; the overtime loss to Indiana, for example, was controversial and set the tone for the rest of the year. The Nittany Lions had their flaws, to be sure, but part of their setback was circumstantial.”"

Penn State Football undoubtedly caught some bad breaks with injuries, opt outs and tough calls at the beginning of the season.

However, some of their issues went beyond those things.

Inconsistent quarterback play dogged Penn State Football all season, as did questionable play calling, and a defense that allowed more than a touchdown more per game than the year prior.

These are all issues Penn State Football will need to answer and fix heading into 2021. However, this offseason, at least on paper, has been one of the programs better ones since Franklin arrived in Happy Valley.

Incoming transfers and coaching changes have given a sense of optimism.

So, lets take a look at three reasons why Penn State Football will bounce-back in 2021:

Impact transfers arriving  through the transfer portal 

Before this offseason, the biggest transfer Franklin had brought to State College was kicker Jordan Stout.

Head coach James Franklin had a huge change of philosophy this offseason when it pertains to the transfer market, and it is probably safe to assume that after their 4-5 season he knew he needed to change for the betterment of the program in both the short and long terms.

Incoming transfers John Lovett, Johnny Dixon, Eric Wilson, Arnold Ebiketie and Derick Tangelo were all starters at their previous schools and figure to play prominent roles for the Nittany Lions next season, whether it is in a starting role or not.

With an underwhelming 2021 recruiting class that only saw Penn State Football sign 16 commits it left Franklin some room in terms of scholarship numbers to add through the portal.

Not every transfer is going to be Joe Burrow or Justin Fields, but if the NIttany Lions can use these five guys as solid starters or depth pieces it should help equate to more wins in 2021.

The additions of Tangelo and Ebiketie along a defensive line that lost three starters from last season especially should pay dividends as defensive coordinator Brent Pry looks to re-tool a defense that surrendered over 27 points per game last fall.