Countdown To Dublin: Penn State Beat Writers' Predictions for 2014 Season
There are few traditions in sports media like making predictions for an upcoming season.
Educated guesses simply open the door for readers to look back and remind sports writers that we didn't know what we were talking about.
In truth sports are too unpredictable to get right all the time -- even some of the time. There's something to be said about making an informed guess, but in the end nobody really knows what will happen until it happens.
The beat writers that we talked with all seem to be on the same page when it comes to the 2014 edition of Penn State football. The Nittany Lions will probably win a game or two that they shouldn't and will probably lose a game they shouldn't as well. Real depth issues coupled with unanswered questions at many positions have most scribes thinking pretty much the same thing -- and they're predicting pretty much the same final record.
But since it wouldn't be a poll without getting people to stick their names and glowing reputations to it, here are some of the predictions in detail.
Mark Brennan: Fight On State. 7-5
"I'm predicting that they're going to go 7-5. I think that the offensive line is going to cause them some trouble. If they can come together I think it can be a little bit better. Obviously if they lose Hackenberg or Hull those are two big guys that they need. So my guess is that they go 7-5 and the bowl ban (goes away) and they end up in a lower tier Big Ten bowl game."
Greg Pickel: Fight On State, Penn Live. 7-5
"I think this team with more experience could probably get to 8 or 9 wins but because they have so many depth issues I think that they'll win a few games they probably shouldn't and will lose a couple more that they shouldn't and end up 7-5."
Josh Moyer: ESPN. 7-5
"I don't think that it's any secret that the key is going to be the offensive line. The defense is also a bit of a wild card, so if someone predicted 4-8 or someone said 10-2 this is the year where both of those could really happen. But 7-5 in my opinion seems to be the most realistic when you have a talent like Christian Hackenberg offset by inexperienced receivers and offensive line."
Nate Bauer: Blue White Illustrated. 7-5
"I think that they will win a number of games that is proportional to how healthy their starting players are. (When pressed for answer)...I think that they're going to win 7 games and or if there is a bowl game 8-5, 7-6, or 7-5. Any of those things. I think that if players who are supposed to start in the first game, I think if any of them are hurt that would be problematic."
Mark Wogenrich: The Morning Call. 7-5
"Who has not said 7-5?"
Audrey Snyder: Penn Live. 7-5
"I say that because the offensive line early you don't know what you're going to get out of them. So that's point No.1 if you don't have the ground game that is supposed to be your strong suit. And you can't block and Hackenberg gets out of his element. That's part of the 7-5. But the other part I think you can't overlook the lack of depth at linebacker. No matter how much nickel you want to run -- and it will help -- but eventually it'll wear you down."
Jeff Rice: Lions 247. 7-5
"They are going to win some of the football games and lose some of the football games. I've been saying 7-5 and I'm going to stick with that. They're going to win and lose at least one game that they shouldn't. The offensive line is going to be anywhere from OK to questionable. Hack will be good, the defense will be a little better, the schedule is pretty easy. But somebody is going to get hurt and the guy who goes in won't be as good as the guy Michigan State puts in when somebody gets hurt."
Bob Flounders: Penn Live. 6-6
"I just don't think they're going to be ready to hit the ground running. I think it's a tough schedule, last year they went 7-5 and had the upset of the year at Wisconsin, they could have lost to Michigan or Illinois. So i think it's going to balance out and I think their depth concerns are going to be legit. I do think 6-6 is going to be a good year considering what they have on a scholarship roster. I think they'll be a lot better in 2015."