EA Sports College Football 25 is massively underrating Penn State’s defense

Penn State had one of the best defenses in the country last season, but in EA Sports's release of team ratings, the Nittany Lions were more than a bit too low.
Penn State v Maryland
Penn State v Maryland / G Fiume/GettyImages

On Thursday, EA Sports released their offense and defense top 25 rankings for College Football 25. Penn State fans who are eagerly anticipating the release of the game may have been a bit disappointed by the 88 overall ranking for the Nittany Lions defense. 

In 2023, Penn State ranked No. 2 in total defense, only behind Michigan and was third in yards per play allowed just behind Iowa and Ohio State. Sure, many Big Ten teams were boosted to the top of college football by the offensive ineptitude displayed across much of the conference. However, Penn State’s unit, when fully intact prior to the Peach Bowl debacle, was legitimately elite. 

There has been some turnover on that side of the ball for Penn State, notably losing Chop Robinson and Adisa Isaac as early-round NFL draft picks while the secondary was gutted with Kalen King, Johnny Dixon, and Daequan Hardy all heading out the door to their professional careers. However, James Franklin and Tom Allen had the foresight to move Abdul Carter to edge rusher and land Jalen Kimber and AJ Harris in the transfer portal to plug holes on that side of the ball. 

It’s hard to say that without Manny Diaz, Penn State will improve from its standing as the No. 2 total defense in the country last year, but the unit is clearly on par with Clemson, Notre Dame, and a re-tooled Michigan unit. 

In 2023, Texas ranked 35th in total defense, 38th in yards per play, and 116th against the pass. Yet, the Longhorns somehow outrank the Nittany Lions. Across the board, the ratings were far from perfect, including abysmal LSU, Colorado, and North Carolina units in the top 25 was insanity, but Penn State deserves to feel disrespected on that side of the football.