When will Nittany Lions get their first win? ESPN's FPI predicts every remaining game for PSU
It has been anything but a conventional season around the college football world. But even by the wacky standards for 2020, the 0-3 start for Penn State is truly something unforeseen.
This weekend, however, it appears that Penn State could be poised to break into the win column. They are favored at Nebraska, an 0-3 team coming off a bad second half performance in a loss at Northwestern.
ESPN’s FPI has Penn State at 63.8 percent to beat Nebraska on the road this weekend.
The Nittany Lions winless start through the season’s first three games following a bad blowout loss at home to Maryland is head-scratching. Coming into the season, Penn State was ranked seventh in the nation according to the AP Poll. Their fall out of the polls, much like 1-2 Michigan, is a huge surprise.
From this dour start is beginning to grow a sense of discontent in Happy Valley over head coach James Franklin. In his seventh year with Penn State, his hot start to his coaching tenure along with his victories on the recruiting trail are now a thing of the past.
Penn State is now 56-26 under Franklin but an especially discouraging 34-21 in conference play. For a program’s fanbase with high expectations – perhaps unreasonably so, a 3-3 record in bowl games is not up to this standard.
Especially worrisome for Franklin is his lack of success in recruiting his home state. While the Nittany Lions are now recruiting nationally, it is still a bit ho-hum to see Franklin land just one player in Pennsylvania’s top 15 recruits for 2021.
It is doubly-worrisome given that Ohio State and Wisconsin landed the top two players in the state in this year’s cycle. Ohio State has two players among the top six recruits in Pennsylvania, both of whom are four-stars.
All of which means that Nebraska is a near-must win game for Penn State to change this doom and gloom narrative. After playing the Cornhuskers, they then host Iowa (55.8 percent to win according to FPI) before traveling to what might well be a desperate Michigan (54.3 percent) team.
They close out the regular season at Rutgers (76.4 percent) and then Michigan State (89.4 percent).
Wins right now are at a premium for Franklin if he wants to save this season. FPI has Penn State at 8.2 percent to win out the rest of the way.