Big Ten football power rankings after spring portal closes: Did Nittany Lions get better?

Ohio State and Oregon loaded up with transfer portal additions this offseason and have separated themselves in the new Big Ten as the top two contenders. So, where do James Franklin and the Penn State Nittany Lions stand?
Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Drew Allar
Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Drew Allar / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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Head Coach: Lincoln Riley. . . . 519. . . USC Trojans. Last Year: 8-5 Holiday Bowl W. 5

Key losses: Caleb Williams, MarShawn Lloyd, Malachi Nelson Key additions: Kamari Ramsey, Jayden Maiava

Lincoln Riley is in an interesting spot in terms of his career evolution. He was the hottest name in coaching when he left for USC, but after two years there, questions are swirling about if he’s built to win at the highest level. Well, with USC coming to the Big Ten, everybody is about to get an answer to that question, including Riley himself. 

USC will look a lot different without Caleb Williams at quarterback, but there is still plenty of talent on that roster out in LA, and Miller Moss looked excellent in the Holiday Bowl against Louisville. Moss has the inside track to win the QB1 spot on the depth chart after 2023 five-star Malachi Nelson transferred to Boise State. 

If the Trojans are going to compete in the Big Ten, they’ll need to play a more physical style on the defensive side of the ball. Even after a defensive coordinator change from Alex Grinch to D’Anton Lynn, they’re probably a few years away from competing for a conference title because of deficiencies on defense.