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Penn State Football: Hitting 10 Or More Wins In 2018 Would Mean History

by on July 25, 2018 12:20 PM

It's a matter of fact that Penn State football has never put together three straight seasons of 10 or more wins while in the Big Ten conference. 

In total the Nittany Lions only have two runs in program history that match that bar. From 1971 to 1974 Penn State put together some of its best football and then yet again in 1980 until 1982 when it was three straight years of high-level success.

So it's fair, even based simply out of curiosity, to wonder how hard it is to keep the ball rolling. Nobody would really question Penn State's standing as a Big Ten power, but where does the rest of the conference fall when it comes to three straight seasons (or more) of double-digit win totals?

The answer, it's hard for everyone to do it.

Since 1990 there are have been five teams that have put together a stretch like that, three straight seasons of 10 or more wins. Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State. The Buckeyes pace all teams with three individual runs of 10 or more wins for three or more seasons. Currently Ohio State finds itself on such a run, having broken that barrier every year since 2012.

In total the Big Ten has seen eight individual instances where teams have been able to win 10 or more games in three straight seasons. If you could Maryland and Nebraska while out of the conference, that adds three more streaks to the mix.

10 Or More Wins For Three (or more) Straight Years:

  • Iowa (2002,03,04)
  • Maryland (2001,02,03)
  • Michigan (1997,98, 99)
  • MSU (2013,14,15)
  • Nebraska (1993,94,95,96,97 and 1999,2000,01)
  • Ohio State (1995,96,97,98 and 2005-10 and 2012-Present)
  • Wisconsin (2009,10,11 and 2014-Present )

But what about coming up short? The final year where a Big Ten team has won 10 or more games in back-to-back seasons but fails to do so for a third year? That has happened nine times with Penn State accounting for two of those in 1993-94 and 2005-06.

Perhaps the better question though, what happens to the teams that come up short? In five of the nine cases that team managed nine wins the following season, missing out on that 10-win mark by just a game. The worst was Michigan State going 7-6 in 2012 and Penn State going 7-6 in 2010

Coming Up Short

  • MSU (2010,11 and then 7-6)
  • Ohio State (2002, 03 and then 8-4)
  • Michigan (2002,03 and then 9-3)
  • Penn State (1993, 94 and then 9-3 as well as 2008,09 and then 7-6)
  • Wisconsin (1998, 99 and then 9-4 as well as 2005,06 and then 9-4)
  • Nebraska (2009,10 and then 9-4)

So the good news for Penn State, if the Nittany Lions come up short of its first wins hat-trick in decades, history suggests Penn State will still be having a year fans can get excited about.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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