Pat McAfee is back with ESPN’s “College GameDay” coverage for another year this fall, and the entire College GameDay crew kicked off the 2023 season on Saturday morning.

The crew tossed around a number of topics ranging from College Football Playoff predictions and standout players to picks across the major conferences. In the B1G, McAfee pointed to the returning production at Penn State as a reason why it is not just about Ohio State and Michigan in the league this fall.

“If Penn State can get past that Week 1 matchup with West Virginia at home — that is no cakewalk,” said McAfee, a West Virginia alum himself. “They have 8 returning starters on offense, 8 returning starters on defense. It all comes down to the QB, Drew Allar. They had 2 freshman RBs last year that almost combined for 2,000 yards. They have it all seemingly on paper to make a run, so it’s not just an Ohio State-Michigan conversation in the B1G.”

Kirk Herbstreit echoed that sentiment and indicated he likes what Penn State has on the defensive side of the ball. However, he also sees some competitive teams in the B1G West that could upset the balance of power across the league.

While the Nittany Lions do trail Michigan and Ohio State, Penn State maintains some of the best Big Ten Championship odds entering the season. At +600 and with some potential breakout stars on the roster, James Franklin’s program could be a sneaky play for fans this fall.

“They’re loaded,” said Herbstreit about the Nittany Lions. “And I think their defense is going to get back to being nasty. They’ve got guys that can rush the QB, so I’m with you.

“I would even throw in on the other side, Wisconsin with Luke Fickell. We talked earlier about what they can do with Tanner Mordecai coming in there, Iowa with Cade McNamara leaving Michigan… they’re going to take some big steps. I think the B1G has some pretty good depth this year.”

Here’s the segment from College GameDay, Penn State discussion begins around the 4:40 mark: