Penn State Football: Way too early Big Ten win predictions, including Nittany Lions

STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 25: A view of the Big Ten logo on a down marker during the game between the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Villanova Wildcats at Beaver Stadium on September 25, 2021 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 25: A view of the Big Ten logo on a down marker during the game between the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Villanova Wildcats at Beaver Stadium on September 25, 2021 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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Penn State Football
Cade McNamara #12 of the Michigan Wolverines meets with Sean Clifford #14 of the Penn State Nittany Lions  (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Big Ten East

Indiana Hoosiers

2021 record: 2-10

After an impressive 2020 campaign, Indiana drastically fell off last season, and it doesn’t seem as if things will be changing anytime soon, especially after losing arguably their three best players, Ty Fryfogle, Peyton Hendershot, and Micah McFadden.

Tom Allen’s squad has to travel to Cincinnati in a non-conference collision, which won’t be an easy win, despite the fact that the Bearcats lost a lot from last year’s playoff team. Marry that with the fact that they are arguably the least talented team in the Big Ten East, and it could be another long season in Bloomington. They have some winnable games against teams like Illinois, Nebraska, and Rutgers, and maybe they squeak one out somewhere in there, but either way, it won’t change much in terms of the overall outcome of their season.

2022 record prediction: 2-10

Maryland Terrapins

2021 record: 7-6

The Terps were bowl eligible last season for the first time since 2016, and they have the potential to repeat that again this year.

Although the east is loaded (again), Maryland benefits from an easy non-conference schedule and a crossover game against Northwestern. Just like in 2021, their bowl eligibility will likely rest on their last game of the season against Rutgers, in which the Terps will benefit from home-field advantage, as well as the quarterback to wide receiver duo of Taulia Tagovailoa to Rakim Jarrett.

2022 record prediction: 6-6

Michigan Wolverines

2021 record: 12-2 (Big Ten champions)

Coming off a Big Ten title and College Football Playoff appearance, the Maize and Blue have a good chance to have a repeat season, but it will likely come down to The Game, as it so often does.

The Wolverines lose a lot of production of defense but return a lot on offense. They could be tested in games such as Iowa, Michigan State, and Penn State Football, but assuming they get past those games unscathed, that could set up an undefeated showdown against Ohio State in their final game. The Buckeyes will have the home-field advantage in that one, as well as a talent advantage, making things tough on the Wolverines.

2022 prediction: 11-1

Michigan State Spartans

2021 record: 11-2

After a surprising season in 2021, Michigan State looks to continue its winning ways, led by veteran quarterback Payton Thorne. However, they will need their pass defense to improve immensely, after allowing an FBS worst 324.8 passing yards per game last season.

They should run the table in the non-conference schedule, and go at least 2-1 in their crossover games, with Wisconsin being the toughest of the three. Sparty will likely fall to Ohio State and Michigan, and also have a tough trip to Beaver Stadium to take on Penn State Football, which is certainly a winnable game for Mel Tucker, but it won’t be easy.

2022 prediction: 9-3

Ohio State Buckeyes

2021 record: 11-2

Ohio State had what some might consider a down year for the program last year, but expect them to rebound for a big season in 2022, led by arguably the best offensive trio in college football, CJ Stroud, TreVeyon Henderson, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

The Buckeyes kick off their season with what might be the biggest non-conference game of the year when they host Notre Dame. While that could be an exciting game, the Scarlet and Gray should take care of business in that one.

They’ll also be tested against Penn State Football in the White Out, as most teams are in that environment, but they’re the better team and should also come out of there with a win.

Their season will come down to a rivalry week matchup against TTUN, a game in which the Buckeyes will be thirsty for revenge, and will get the victory to secure an undefeated regular season and a trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship.

2022 prediction: 12-0 (Big Ten East division champions)

Penn State Nittany Lions

2021 record: 7-6

While Penn State Football lost a lot of production from a year ago, they also return a lot through the likes of Parker Washington, PJ Mustipher, Curtis Jacobs, and Ji’Ayir Brown.

The Nittany Lions also welcome transfers Mitchell Tinsley and Hunter Nourzad, as well as true freshman running back Nicholas Singleton to help them improve upon last year’s running game woes.

Penn State has a pair of early-season road tests, a Thursday night opener at Purdue, and a Week 3 trip to SEC country to take on Auburn, potentially losing one of those two games. Penn State Football will likely drop games to Ohio State and Michigan, as they will need to play near-perfect football in those games.

Their final matchup of the season is against Michigan State, which could actually be an advantageous matchup for the Nittany Lions, as the Spartans lost some explosive offensive weapons, and also return their entire secondary from a year ago, which was awful, to be frank. However at this stage of the game, there are too many question marks surrounding Penn State Football, so we’ll give Mel Tucker’s team the benefit of the doubt in that one, at least for now.

2022 prediction: 8-4

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

2021 record: 5-8

5-8 … not a record you see too often in college football. The Scarlet Knights, while they did not earn bowl eligibility last season by failing to meet the minimum .500 record requirement, they did inevitably get to play in the Gator Bowl against Wake Forest, as a replacement for Texas A&M.

Greg Schiano’s team has a tough hill to climb to reach six wins and get back to a bowl game, beginning with a tricky week one trip to Boston College, as well as crossover matchups against Iowa and Minnesota. They have opportunities to sneak out some wins against teams like Nebraska and Maryland, but the Scarlet Knights likely are the less talented team in both of those matchups. They are well-coached and will likely play a lot of teams close, but they’ll have to pull off a few upsets to secure a .500 record.

2022 prediction: 3-9