For the second year in a row, Penn State will begin the football season ranked in the top 10 of the coaches poll, although this season will start a few spots lower.
The 2018 preseason coaches poll was released Thursday afternoon, with Penn State ranked No. 9 by the voting members of the coaches poll (Penn State head coach James Franklin is a voting member of the poll, in case you were curious). The Nittany Lions were 41 points behind No. 8 Miami and roughly 190 points behind Big Ten West favorite No. 7 Wisconsin. Ohio State, at No. 3 and one first-place vote, was the only other Big Ten team to rank higher than Penn State in the preseason coaches poll.
Other Big Ten teams appearing in the preseason coaches poll include No. 12 Michigan State and No. 14 Michigan.
For the third consecutive season, Alabama begins the season ranked No. 1 after grabbing 61 first-place votes after their latest national championship season. No. 2 Clemson received three first-place votes and national title runner-up Georgia begins the new season ranked No. 4 by the coaches. No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 6 Washington, and No. 10 Auburn complete the rest of the top 10.
Penn State opened the 2017 season ranked No. 6 in the coaches poll. Considering the number of questions college football analysts seem to have about Penn State in 2018 after losing Joe Moorehead to a head coaching job at Mississippi State (Moorhead’s Bulldogs are ranked No. 18 in the preseason poll), and players like Saquon Barkley, Mike Gesicki and Desean Hamilton to the NFL, for Penn State to still receive a top 10 ranking should speak volumes about the level of respect Penn State and Franklin have established in the last couple of seasons from Franklin’s peers in the game.
Looking forward, we could very well see a top 10 matchup at the end of September when Ohio State comes to Happy Valley for an important Big Ten game. With some help elsewhere, it is possible the game could even feature a pair of top five programs, but that may be a tad optimistic. Penn State and Ohio State each have some games away from home they must win (Penn State at Pitt, Illinois; Ohio State against TCU in Arlington, Texas) before we reach that point anyway.
The AP Top 25 will be released later this month, on Monday, August 20. Penn State started the 2017 season ranked No. 6 in the AP poll. Penn State is looking to begin the season ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll in back-to-back years for the first time since 1994 and 1995.