With the 2013 season less than three months away at Penn State, it's time to look at the schedule and think about a win total.
With several key departures from the team that finished 8-4, it may be difficult to predict how the Nittany Lions will do in 2013.
Gone is the Big Ten's leading passer Matt McGloin and defensive leaders Gerald Hodges, Michael Mauti and Jordan Hill.
However, head coach Bill O'Brien does not have a lack of talent this year, especially on offense. Even with a new quarterback, this team will be able to put up points, which will equate to wins.
Looking ahead to the 2013 season, the schedule begins with five winnable games.
The season-opener against Syracuse could present a challenge just because it's the first of the year and will be played on the road. However, the Nittany Lions should leave New Jersey undefeated.
After that comes two games that should be considered easy. Eastern Michigan and Central Florida both make visits to Beaver Stadium.
Though the fourth game of the year will likely be a popular upset pick, Penn State will come out victorious. The Kent State Golden Eagles, who won 11 games last year, will present a tough matchup, but will ultimately find themselves overmatched.
The fifth game of the season will bring the start of Big Ten play, with the Nittany Lions making a visit to Indiana to take on the Hoosiers. Penn State has never lost there, and that won't happen this year.
After having a good chance to start undefeated, the final seven games present several challenges. The second part of the schedule includes games against Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska and Wisconsin. Those are undoubtedly the top teams in the conference.
Sandwiched between those four difficult games are three conference games against Illinois, Minnesota and Purdue, all games that should be counted as wins.
So, after going through the schedule, eight wins is a good over/under number for the Nittany Lions.
A few bad breaks will lower the win total. However, if Penn State is able to steal one of the games it's not supposed to win, that number will rise to nine or more.
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