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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / 2023 Penn State Nittany Lions Schedule Analysis: Can the Nittany Lions make the CFP Playoffs?

2023 Penn State Nittany Lions Schedule Analysis: Can the Nittany Lions make the CFP Playoffs?

Publish Date: 05/07/2023
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

2023 Nittany Lions Schedule

Sept 2 West Virginia

Sept 9 Delaware

Sept 16 at Illinois

Sept 23 Iowa

Sept 30 at Northwestern

Oct 7 OPEN DATE

Oct 14 UMass

Oct 21 at Ohio State

Oct 28 Indiana

Nov 4 at Maryland

Nov 11 Michigan

Nov 18 Rutgers

Nov 25 at Michigan State

Video: Penn State Football 2023 Schedule Preview & Record Projection

Penn State Football 2023 Schedule Preview & Record Projection

Big Ten Play

Nittany Lions from the Western Conference will face Illinois, Iowa and Northwestern at the beginning of the conference season; two of the three matches come on the road; however, having Iowa come into Happy Valley can provide some much-needed assistance. Northwestern looks to be down again, and the Illini are ever-improving, but not an obstacle that the Lions should fear.

Wisconsin and Minnesota will both be avoided as opponents; Purdue or Nebraska don’t present much of an obstacle either – outside of Illinois, there’s no demanding road trip against the Western Conference teams.

The Big Ten schedule shapes up nicely for the Nittany Lions.

At first glance, this season will be divided in two. There will be an initial act with manageable non-conference games (West Virginia shouldn’t pose much of a problem). Three games from Big Ten West to be dealt with before taking advantage of an extended midseason break, with UMass coming to town before returning for another sprint against Big Ten East opponents.

If the Nittany Lions reach October 21st undefeated, as is likely, then Game On! Everything must start clicking for Penn State at that point. They need to have found their equilibrium between rest and preparation – something other teams can struggle with.

Video: Josh Pate On Penn State & James Franklin PRESSURE In 2023 (Late Kick Extra)

Josh Pate On Penn State & James Franklin PRESSURE In 2023 (Late Kick Extra)

Can the Nittany Lions make it to the Final Four?

With all the talent returning, all the hype surrounding 2023 being a great year and great promise are not an overstatement; this team could do special things this season; there should be no reason not to contend for the Big Ten East title with this schedule.

Again, the West dates aren’t too arduous; only two of their initial six games come against bowl-eligible teams; even dropping one game – such as at Ohio State – may still keep them alive in their College Football Playoff chase. They have Michigan at home while Michigan State and Maryland provide winnable road matchups; an 11-1 mark should be an attainable target goal.

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