Pro Football Focus has run its simulations for the upcoming college football season and it does not appear Penn State will have much of a chance of dethroning Ohio State for the Big Ten championship in 2021. PFF’s first full breakdown for the 2021 college football season sorted through all 130 FBS programs, ranked them from top to bottom and assessed percentage odds each team will win the national championship and a conference championship.
As far as Penn State is concerned, at least there is some wiggle room for a Big Ten title.
The Nittany Lions are the No. 19 team in the PFF ELO rankings as we begin heading into the 2021 season. While Penn State is not given a chance to win the national championship, the analysis used by PFF determined Penn State has a 2.0% chance to win the Big Ten championship.
Here’s what PFF had to say about Penn State in 2021;
Penn State will be going back to Sean Clifford as its starting quarterback after an underwhelming 2020 that saw him earn a career-low PFF passing grade. And there is no clear plan at backup quarterback after Will Levis transferred to Kentucky.
Penn State is tied for the second-shortest odds to win the Big Ten title game, but the team doesn’t come close to its implied probability based on our simulation. It would take a performance we haven’t seen from Clifford yet for the Nittany Lions to live up to their lofty preseason expectations.
The analysis of quarterback Sean Clifford seems fair given the bumpy 2020 season Clifford experienced. But with some solid pieces around him and a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in Mike Yurcich, we could see the best out of Clifford yet in 2021.
Oddly enough, Michigan ranked No. 25 in the same set of rankings but was given a 5.0% chance to win the Big Ten (but also no chance to win the national championship). Indiana, at No. 24, was given a 7.0 chance to win the Big Ten. In case you forgot, Penn State is in the same division as both the Wolverines and Hoosiers. How a higher overall ranking goes with having a lower chance of winning the conference is a bit perplexing.