Joel Klatt went out on a limb with his preseason Top 25 poll ahead of the season. He was bullish on a number of Big Ten programs, with Michigan State and Nebraska at Nos. 12 and 13, respectively. One that he appears to have whiffed on: Penn State.
The Nittany Lions are one of four undefeated Big Ten teams left standing, and, as noted below, have the second best points margin in the country, behind a dominant Ohio State squad. It is early in the season, but Penn State looks like the real deal.
Naturally, Klatt has heard all about how he left the Nittany Lions off his list. Today, the FS1 analyst issued a pretty strong mea culpa.
“What was I thinking? Is it too late? I don’t think it’s too late yet. Penn State’s one of the best teams in the country. I didn’t have them in my Top 25 in the preseason. That’s on me.”
The full clip from Klatt:
"@PennStateFball fans…my bad" @JoelKlatt apologizes for leaving the Nittany Lions out of his preseason top 25 poll and lays out their path to securing a top 6 spot in the upcoming weeks. 🦁⬇️ pic.twitter.com/5iEx4mAqVn
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 10, 2019
Klatt took things a step further. While he doesn’t have PSU in his top 10 just yet, he thinks the Nittany Lions are just a few good weeks away from finding themselves at No. 6, if not higher.
“I’m frustrated that I don’t have them in the top 10 right now. I think they’re going to be there very soon, particularly if they get a win against Iowa this week in Kinnick Stadium.
“Penn State is really good, I think they’re the most underrated team in the country right now.”
“Penn State has a chance, in the next couple of weeks, to get all the way up to probably six, maybe higher, in the poll. They’ve got Iowa this week on the road. No matter what you think about Iowa, in particular after that 10-3 loss to Michigan, winning in Kinnick Stadium is difficult. Ohio State proved that a couple of years ago when they went and got their doors blown off. If they win that game, then go home and, in a white out against Michigan, take care of the Wolverines, I think Penn State will be no worse than No. 6 in the country. Maybe higher.”
Joel Klatt’s main hangup with ranking Penn State ahead of the year was the loss of Trace McSorley. Considering what he meant to the program, it is understandable. McSorley is arguably the best Penn State quarterback ever, and helped really elevate the program from one that was floundering under James Franklin to a Big Ten title contender.
Sean Clifford has filled in admirably, and right now Penn State looks the part of a New Year’s Six contender, at the very least. Kudos to Klatt for admitting that he was wrong. Too few people are willing to do that.