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Editor at Large

Summer ends, football begins, how will Penn State fare?

Penn State hosts seven games this fall at Beaver Stadium, including with five Big Ten opponents.
Penn State hosts seven games this fall at Beaver Stadium, including with five Big Ten opponents. - (Photo / )

Summer unofficially ends after this Labor Day weekend, but the loss is mitigated by the return of football – specifically Penn State football.

Can the Nittany Lions return to national on-field prominence this fall?

Not yet, it says here.

Predicting the season:

-- ALMOST CERTAINLY A WIN: Kent State (home), Minnesota (home).

-- LIKELY WIN: Indiana (away), Maryland (home).

-- SHOULD WIN: Temple (because it’s at home), Purdue (away), Rutgers (away).

-- 50-50 GAME: Pittsburgh (away), Iowa (home night game, so anything can happen).

-- LIKELY LOSS: Michigan (away), Ohio State (home), Michigan State (home).

ADDING IT UP

Let’s assume wins over Kent State, Minnesota, Indiana and Maryland but also assume a loss against one of the “should wins.”

That’s 6-1, and if Penn State splits the 50-50 games, that’s 7-2. Not bad, but ...

Although the Ohio State contest is a “white out” night game at Beaver Stadium, assume a Buckeye win. Also, assume a loss to Michigan on the road in Ann Arbor.

That makes 7-4, and Penn State coach James Franklin has been stuck on seven wins his first two seasons.

It all comes down to Penn State hosting Michigan State in the regular season finale on Nov. 26. A Penn State upset is possible – and a lot can and will happen between now and Thanksgiving weekend.

So, what the heck, let’s go with a Penn State win over Sparty and call it an 8-4 regular season and a decent bowl-game berth for the Blue and White.

But even a bowl victory at 9-4 will not put Penn State back into the top 10. However, it will mean a top 25 ranking and momentum heading into what should be a better 2017.

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